Washougal discusses C-TRAN measures

Public hearing on fare increase is set for April 12

The question of whether to submit one or two C-TRAN measures on the November ballot this year is gaining momentum and a variety of opinions – if last night’s Washougal City Council meeting is any indication.

C-TRAN Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hamm and Camas City Council member Linda Dietzman presented information regarding C-TRAN’s 2030 plan and ballot measure overview. Dietzman represents Camas and Washougal, as a member of the C-TRAN board.

One measure would involve a two-tenths of a cent sales tax increase, to pay for phase one of the 20-year Transit Development Plan. That would include improved service frequency on routes serving Vancouver, Camas, Washougal and Battle Ground.

It would also add routes to serve East Vancouver and connect Fisher’s Landing with Vancouver Mall, while extending routes to Legacy Hospital, Washington State University-Vancouver and Salmon Creek.

If that sales tax increase is not approved by voters in November, cuts would have to be made. They could include reducing the frequency of several routes including #92, known as the “Camas Connector.”

A second measure, which could be placed on the November ballot this year or next year would involve a one-tenth of a cent sales tax, to pay for the extension of light rail across the Columbia River to serve downtown Vancouver and Clark College.

If the second measure is not part of this November’s ballot, it would possibly be submitted a year later. If it is not voted on prior to July 2012, it could be up to the voters in Vancouver to decide – as a subdistrict could be formed.

Dietzman said she voted in September 2010 to separate the measures.

“The goal is to preserve our bus system,” she said. “I do not want to muddy the waters with other issues.

“There might not be enough time to put information [about both measures] in front of the voters,” Dietzman added.

Councilman Jon Russell spoke in favor of voting on both issues this November.

“The light rail issue impacts us all,” he said.

The deadline to file a measure for the November ballot is in August, Dietzman said.

Councilman Paul Greenlee spoke in favor of protecting the existing bus system.

“A functioning bus system is critical for the economics of the region,” he said.

Additional discussions regarding the C-TRAN issues are expected to occur during the City Council meeting Monday, at 6 p.m., in the council chambers at City Hall, 1701 “C” St.

Meanwhile, the next C-TRAN board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 12, at 5:30 p.m., in room 680, in the Clark County Public Service Center, at 1300 Franklin St., Vancouver. It will include a public hearing regarding a proposed five cent increase on cash fares.

For more information, call 695-0123 or visit www.c-tran.com.

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