HCT Act; is C-Tran in Compliance?

by lewwaters

C-TranSubmitted by Robert Dean

Actions and public statements from C-Tran indicate that they are aware of RCW 81.104 but either did not take it seriously or forgot many of its provisions. Similarly, CRC officials acknowledged the Act but did not plan the Project accordingly.

CRC Co-Director, Don Wagner, observed in 2010 that each one year delay in construction costs the public $100 million with 3% inflation. When he made that observation  he was expecting the C-Tran public vote on funding operations to take place that fall. If he had been familiar with the Act he would not have had that expectation.

C-Tran has recently scurried to comply with the Act:

1) They convened a rudimentary Expert Review Panel in April 2012.
2) They pieced together a System Plan and Financing Plan in July 2012 for BRT and threw LRT into the mix.
3) They mentioned RCW 81.104 in the Nov. 6, 2012 ballot on Prop 1.
4) They quickly compiled a “Fact Piece” to serve as an LRT Systems Plan, in October, 2012, 20 days before the election.

HCT Systems Plan and Financing Plan

RCW 81.104.100 details what is required in a Systems Plan and Financing Plan – The C-Tran plan does not cut it.

1) It does not coordinate with the comprehensive plans of the cities and county.
2) It does not address regional impacts, especially during construction.
3) It chose modes first and then justified the choices.
4) It did not first develop a detailed work plan for the systems planning process.

The attachment Chapter 81104 Requirements from C-Tran lists elements of the HCT Act that they claim show compliance. This letter to Larry Smith compiles provisions of the Act that show C-Tran is not in compliance.

Non Compliance

1) RCW 81.104.010 Purpose. Reduce congestion – there are not enough parking provided at park n rides to reduce congestion.
2) RCW 81.104.010 Purpose. Voter approval – a fundamental purpose of the Act.
3) RCW 81.104.015 Definitions – HCT must be better and cheaper than regular buses in urban areas.
4) RCW 81.104.080 Regional transportation planning – coordinate with cities and county comprehensive plans.
5) RCW 81.104.090 Department of transportation responsibilities — WSDOT limited to 80% funding.
6) RCW 81.104.120 Commuter rail service – voter approval – cheaper per passenger mile and voter approval of the project itself.

Partial Compliance

1) RCW 81.104.030 Voter approval – system plan AND financing plan.
2) RCW 81.104.070 Responsibility for system implementation – the Vancouver comprehensive plan promises an EIS for BRT.
3) RCW 81.104.100 Planning process – detailed minimum criteria for the system plan. None of the documents, including the CRC FEIS, referenced by C-Tran in their Chapter 81.104Requirements (attached), have been ratified by public vote.
4) RCW 81.104.110 Independent system plan oversight – ERP did not question basic assumptions, was not voter approved, did not represent Oregon, and they did not remain in session until the Nov. 6, 2012 elections.
5) RCW 81.104.140 Dedicated funding sources – C-Tran and RTC LPA resolutions preclude non-voter approved funding.
6) RCW 81.104.140 Dedicated funding sources – the ballot title shall reference the System Plan, it did not.

Conclusion

The C-Tran Chapter 81104 Requirements attachment purports to show that C-Tran has been in compliance with the HCT Act – and yet, none of the documents they cite have been ratified by a public vote, as required by the Act. C-Tran non-compliance with laws has been to the detriment of the public. Incompetent C-Tran and WSDOT managers have already cost us $200 million in delays to construction of a $3.5 billion megaproject. There needs to be an investigation and individuals should be called to account.

HCT Act or no HCT Act, the managers should have known that voter approval of taxes and fees is a cherished value in this state and nation. If C-Tran offers up another proposition, which actually complies with the Act, let it be in full compliance after all the studies are in. Let the vote be on a proper System Plan AND Financing Plan. And, let the project be managed by a fresh team at C-Tran.

Robert Dean
Durham, NC
January 3, 2013

See attachments: Email From Larry Smith , Response to Larry Smith and Chapter 81.104 RCW Requirements Includes CTRAN completion dates

2 Comments to “HCT Act; is C-Tran in Compliance?”

  1. I said this over and over. 81.104 is a solid piece of documented regulatory legislation that has been completely ignored by these c-tran officials and their proponents of the project.

  2. Yes, Carolyn, and you got through to them. They knew about the law but had not read it closely enough. When they postponed the 2011 vote they said that was to comply with the law’s requirement for an expert review panel. That delay cost us another year ($100 million) before construction could start. In 2012 they scrambled to comply but, of course, they could not fully comply as that would require a separate vote for each of the system plans and financing plans of both LRT and BRT.

    Full compliance would have been if they had charted the course from the beginning and scheduled each vote as required by RCW 81.104.100. This was a failure on the part of WSDOT.

    Folks, please read my full response to Larry Smith. If that is too much, read section 100 of the RCW – that’s the John 3:16 of the HCT Act.

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