Looks like you can count Jaime Herrera Beutler as Team Steve Stuart.
The Republican Congresswoman has sided with the Democratic County Commissioner in calling for a C-Tran districtwide vote on light rail and high capacity transit.
The decision was put on hold Tuesday after several members, including all three of the Vancouver City Council representatives, said they wanted to study the ramification of a districtwide vs. smaller subdistrict vote.
On Thursday Herrera Beutler today sent a letter to the C-Tran board asking for a districtwide sales tax.
“As long as the people I represent are given a voice in the process, I will work tirelessly to secure the federal support necessary to keep the project going,” Herrera Beutler wrote. “However, if we get it wrong and prize political expediency over true democratic representation, it could have negative and lasting effects on our community.”
Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt is the one who proposed a subdistrict, and pushed the delay this week, but also said that he isn’t necessarily sold on one. No state or national rep has said anything in favor of a subdistrict.
Here’s the full text of Herrera Beutler’s letter:
“Dear C-Tran Board Members,
I would like to communicate my firm support for making sure the entire C-Tran district has an opportunity to vote on any sales tax increase to pay for light rail.
We’re all in this together. A new bridge across the Columbia River will affect every Clark County resident. It would be unfair and illegitimate to subdivide the C-Tran district so that only a select group will have a voice on a major decision that will impact the county for generations.
I have long been an advocate for a safe, affordable bridge across the Columbia River that meets the needs of those who rely on this vital artery. But as Clark County’s representative in Congress I need to have a clear picture of what the county wants. After years of work and debate, there is finally a proposal on the table. Now it’s time to take it to the people. A light rail vote would be an important step in that direction.
As long as the people I represent are given a voice in the process, I will work tirelessly to secure the federal support necessary to keep the project going. However, if we get it wrong and prize political expediency over true democratic representation, it could have negative and lasting effects on our community.
Again, I support a new bridge. I believe we have the opportunity to bring tremendous economic benefit to Southwest Washington, and improve the quality of life for thousands of commuters. But, I have no interest in silencing the people who will be asked to pay for this project. A C-Tran district-wide vote will provide an opportunity for a full airing of facts, and just as importantly, will be viewed as a legitimate expression of public opinion.
Thank you for your attention. I also want to thank you for the work you do to advance transportation options in our region. I look forward to learning your decision on this matter, and would be happy to explain my position further with any board members individually or collectively.”