Small cities deserve their own seats at the C-Tran table

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category icon Editorials, Opinion

During the past three months, Clark County elected officials who are part of the C-Tran Board Composition Review Committee have met a handful of times to discuss the possibility of changing the C-Tran Board’s power structure. In a nutshell, several of the smaller cities represented on the Board — including Camas and Battle Ground — have expressed strong interest in having their own seats. Currently, smaller cities are grouped together in twos, with Camas-Washougal, La Center/Ridgefield, and Battle Ground/Yacolt each sharing a seat. Vancouver and Clark County each have three seats.

Since this committee only meets every four years, the opportunity to have these discussions doesn’t come around too often.

The last time an adjustment was made to the composition of the C-Tran Board was in 1998, and as many local residents know, Clark County’s and Camas’ populations and landscapes have changed dramatically since then. And with those changes have also come transitions in the needs of its citizens. Transportation — and mass transit in particular — stands to remain a critical issue.

Now three options are on the table for the committee to consider. And the one that stands out as the most logical compromise for all jurisdictions involved would maintain three seats for Vancouver, reduce Clark County to two, and give one each for Camas, Battle Ground and Washougal. The county’s three smallest jurisdictions, Ridgefield, La Center and Yacolt, would share one seat — an idea they seem to support. This option would also eliminate the bloc veto power currently held by Vancouver and Clark County, which has been an issue of contention with the smaller cities.

This option represents a “happy medium,” and should be supported by all members of the committee. It gives the smaller cities that have seen a significant amount of growth, and are planning for more, a greater amount of a say in local transportation issues, and Vancouver’s significant population, C-Tran ridership and revenue share are also recognized.