No more CRC? No problem

There’s been a familiar formula for public comment at C-Tran board meetings in recent years. It usually goes something like this:

Columbia River Crossing. Light rail. Vote of the people. Rinse. Repeat.

But this month marked the first C-Tran meeting since the CRC began shutting down, spelling the demise of the $3.4 billion megaproject. So what would the people who have invested so much of their time and energy fighting the CRC talk about now? Where would their attention turn?

Vancouver resident Debbie Peterson, for one, didn’t hesitate.

BRT,” Peterson said ominously, “is the next CRC.”

Bus rapid transit is a revamped bus system that uses larger vehicles, raised boarding platforms, specialized signals and other features in an effort to move passengers more efficiently and reliably. C-Tran has proposed putting such a system along Vancouver’s Fourth Plain corridor between the Westfield Vancouver mall and downtown.

C-Tran first floated the $49 million project in 2011. But rolling along in the shadow of the CRC meant BRT often flew under the radar.

The board has somewhat reluctantly kept the project moving in recent months. In June, a split 5-4 vote awarded a $2.25 million contract to carry BRT through project development and keep it on track to meet a key deadline later this year. Planners hope to have the system up and running in 2015.

Peterson came ready with a slideshow to make her case against BRT, which she said is too costly and unnecessary. She and other BRT opponents already have a few C-Tran board members on their side. At one point, Clark County Commissioner David Madore said he sees the project heading down the same path as the now-defunct CRC.

Enjoy your time in the spotlight, BRT.

“If anyone was wondering where the next boogeyman is,” said County Commissioner Steve Stuart, “we found it.”

Eric Florip

Eric Florip

I'm the environment/transportation reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. Contact me at or 360-735-4541.

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