Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Vancouver City Council Votes for Light Rail Extension

Of course, this doesn't mean it's necessarily going to happen, although I would at least like to think that in these days of no cheap way to power automobiles, rail transit projects will have less trouble moving forward.

But it's a good start towards extend transit in the Portland, which I'd currently put in the B range of metro area transit systems, along with San Francisco/Oakland, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and probably Seattle, Honolulu and a bunch of college towns [State College, Ames, Champaign, Iowa City, Ithaca and perhaps Gainesville], because their solid bus systems makes up for their non-existent [or meager in Seattle's case] current rail systems (New York alone rates an A [specifically, an A+, though even it could be quite a bit better], although San Francisco/Oakland is close).

Portland is, however, moving quickly towards an A rating, given the area's relatively small size and the way it's moving forward on projects:

A 4th light rail line (Green), South to I-205/Portland Mall is under construction, opening next year.
A commuter line from Beaverton to Washington County opens this fall
A 5th light rail (Orange) running directly East of the river to Milwaukie is being planned
A 2nd streetcar line just received a thumbs-up on its no-significant impact environmental assessment; a request for funds is pending

I'll probably do a post rating metro transit systems later.

VANCOUVER -- The MAX Yellow Line should extend from the Portland Expo Center, cross the Columbia River and through downtown Vancouver to a terminus at Clark College next to Interstate 5, the City Council decreed Monday night


The Vancouver council voted unanimously to support a new bridge, but 5-2 for light rail. The two council members who voted no said light rail is too expensive.

The notion of light rail entering Clark County has been an emotional flashpoint before and after a 1995 vote rejected raising property taxes to pay for a line extending from Portland.

But Monday night a council majority said it is time for light rail in Vancouver.

"Light rail to me is a regional asset," said Councilor Larry Smith. "I'd rather be part of Portland than be a separate entity ourselves."

I wish the District of Columbia metro area, where I go to school and the people who fund this stuff do their funding, was doing half as much to get to an A ranking.

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