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C-TRAN Submits Light Rail Financing Plan With 17 Percent Gap

OPB | Sept. 24, 2013 5:20 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 24, 2013 6:39 p.m. | Portland

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Clark County’s transit agency has come up with a financing plan to help operate a light rail system - if rails ever cross the Columbia River from Oregon.

A future rail connection between the two states has been in doubt since Washington lawmakers adjourned without funding the Columbia River Crossing.

C-TRAN’s anticipated share of operating costs starts at $2.3 million in the first year.

C-TRAN’s plan, released Tuesday, would get 60 percent of that by cutting bus service across the Columbia. C-TRAN also expects to capture nearly $400,000 in sales tax revenue from direct spending on bridge construction.

C-TRAN has a $400,000 gap - about 17 percent of its obligation.

Spokesman Jim Quintana says they’re looking for partners.

“Now we don’t know if that’s a developer, or somebody with another interest downtown,” Quintana says. “It could be perhaps a funding mechanism that doesn’t exist today, that could exist then, based on actions of the legislature in Washington state. Or maybe another jurisdiction is another possibility.”

But Quintana says given the obstacles facing the Columbia River Crossing, the $400,000 hole that C-TRAN has to fill by 2019 is a “pretty small detail.” 

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