Friday, February 12, 2016 by Caleb Pritchard

UTC issues modified rail-related recommendation

The Urban Transportation Commission issued on Tuesday a slightly revised version of its January call for a fast-tracked effort to put a high-capacity transit vision – including a possible light rail proposal – on this November’s ballot. Because of a procedural mix-up that came to light after the meeting from which the original resolution sprang, the UTC did a do-over at its most recent meeting. The new version of the recommendation includes two new “Whereas” clauses. One cites Mayor Steve Adler’s branding of 2016 as the Year of Mobility. The other harks back to City Council Member Ann Kitchen’s stated intentions as chair of the Mobility Committee to “develop policies and programs which move people and not just cars.” The resolution recommends that Council “direct the City Manager to develop and present a high-capacity transit plan, including consideration of rail using existing data, that prioritizes high-density corridors and high-diversity populations, including a timeline and staged process for completing the plan in a time frame which allows City Council to place the plan optionally on the November 2016 ballot.” The resolution passed on a 7-2 vote. Commissioner Chris Hosek, who voted against the original resolution in January, was joined this time in opposition by Commissioner Cynthia Weatherby. Commissioner Celso Baez, who voted for the January version, was not at Tuesday’s meeting. On a closely related note, Council passed a resolution at its regular meeting on Thursday directing City Manager Marc Ott to “initiate a public conversation and input process” to identify high-priority transportation projects and methods of funding them.

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