It's official: Vancouver will vote in November 2011 on a sales tax increase to fund light rail. In a Vancouver commission vote yesterday, the city decided that Vancouver should vote on whether to increase sales taxes by one-tenth of 1 percent to cover the cost of operating the light rail line that's planned to finally connect Portland to Vancouver under the $3.6 billion Columbia River Crossing project.
It's clear that the pro-light rail crowd will have some hard campaigning to do, since this vote combines two issues that Vancouver loves to hate: taxes and public transit. If Vancouver rejects the .01 percent increase, it's possible the line could be canned or built with no funding sewn up the maintain it.
The city which the New York Times witheringly described as possessing a "humor that only masks the hurt" rejected light rail in 1995 by a 2-1 margin and strong opposition to the current light rail pitch warned Vancouver not to run the "crime train" to its center.
But, hey, maybe there's hope. A anti-light rail measure campaign failed to get enough signatures to reach the ballot.