This isn’t really new, but Clark County’s high capacity transit study concluded last year and advocated three BRT lines and other improvements by 2030, with two of them running substantially in an exclusive lane. The study did not include the controversial Columbia River Crossing in its scope. According to spokesman Dale Robins, “One of the main assumptions of the Clark County HCT Study is that [light rail over the Columbia river] would exist as part of the region’s HCT system.”
C-TRAN is leading the effort to determine which HCT corridor of those identified in the Clark County HCT Study should be the first to be implemented. They are currently in the process of developing a 20-year transit plan, which appears to give priority to the Fourth Plain corridor [depicted above]. C-TRAN is seeking funding for an Alternative Analysis in their preferred corridor and hopes to get started on that process in the near future.
It’s not entirely clear what the revenue source would be, but last year the legislature passed SB 5540, which allows a Sound Transit-style 0.9% sales tax to pay for HCT corridors. At the time we interpreted that as a bid to allow MAX expansion, but it may very well be used to extend lower higher-quality bus service further into Clark County.
If you read Section 2 of the law you’ll find all sorts of tax constraints that make this a bit more restrictive than the RTA law that authorized Sound Transit. In particular, C-TRAN cannot go to the voters to fund this until July 1, 2012. It’s also a one-shot deal; by law, they can’t go to the voters for part of the authority and then have a second measure to use the rest of it.
Estimated costs and ridership, from the Executive Summary: