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Mar 17,2006

Moody council looks at bus trip to check out Portland transit

By Angela MacKenzie - Staff Reporter

Port Moody council may bus it down to Oregon to learn more about rapid transit.

Council directed city staff to report back on any liability issues and costs of chartering a bus for a day trip to Portland for the mayor and councillors and possibly LRT committee members, school district representatives and others.

Coun. Meghan Lahti said the city's LRT task force committee met with TransLink last Thursday, and she described the transit project as changing rapidly.

A new public consultation will be taking place during the first week of April, Lahti said, and the city's task force will be meeting again in the third week of April to get into the details of the project and hopefully start making some recommendations.

"I think that this council needs to go down to Oregon," Lahti said. "I think it would be of huge benefit to us, as a city that's going to be receiving LRT, to get as up to speed with the issues, see it on the ground, see how it works, ask questions of the people that have experienced it, and this, in my opinion, needs to happen within the next month so that we can be prepared between April and June when they make a final recommendation to the city or to the TransLink board as to what they're going to be proposing."

Lahti said members of the previous council had an opportunity to travel to Portland, but that most of the current councillors have not.

Coun. Diana Dilworth said she supported Lahti's idea in principle and suggested council may want to stay for two days and meet with Portland civic officials.

Coun. Bob Elliott said he had an opportunity to go last spring, but opted out over the airfare cost.

Elliott asked whether the city should request TransLink pay for the trip.

"I really believe that it would be important to request the funds, but I don't think it should be hinging on funds from TransLink," Lahti said. "I think it's in our best interest as a city to make sure that we are well-informed and if it means going there, then so be it."

Coun. Mike Clay said that for now, he would support looking at whether travelling to Portland would be feasible.

Coun. Shannon Watkins said that she sees how the trip would be valuable, but added that there are many issues specific to Port Moody that could not be answered by the trip.

"I don't believe that Portland has a SkyTrain that's directly linked into their LRT system and that's something that we have that brings us different challenges," Watkins said.

"So while it would be of value to see how things worked down there, we do need to be very understanding that what we have is a very different situation."

Staff is expected to bring back a report to council at the next meeting on March 28.

published on 03/17/2006

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