REPORT OF PROCEEDINGS

PUBLIC HEARING

A PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A FIVE-YEAR FARE PROGRAM

TO INCREASE BUS, FERRY AND PARATRANSIT FARES

FEBRUARY 16, 2006

CITY COUNCIL CHAMBERS, ROHNERT PARK CITY HALL

6750 COMMERCE BOULEVARD, ROHNERT PARK, CA

 

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) held a public hearing in the City Council Chambers, Rohnert Park City Hall, Rohnert Park, California, on Thursday, February 16, 2006, at 7:00 p.m., for the purpose of receiving public comment on a proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares.

Directors Present (4): Director Martini; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

Directors Absent (15): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, McGoldrick, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Shahum, Sandoval and Stroeh

Staff Present: Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Acting General Manager and Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Planning Director Alan Zahradnik; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Marketing and Communications Director Kellee Hopper; Acting Auditor-Controller and Budget and Program Analysis Manager Jennifer Mennucci; Bus Maintenance Manager Gene Walker; Customer Service Representative Glen Woods (Spanish Translator); Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala

Visitors Present: Laura Graham, Santa Rosa resident

   
1. Purpose of Public Hearing
     
 

The public hearing was conducted by President Middlebrook and she announced that the purpose of this public hearing is to receive public comment relative to a proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares.

     
2. Public Outreach
     
 

District Secretary Janet Tarantino reported that in compliance with District policy, notices were mailed to organizations and individuals on the District’s mailing list and copies were posted in various locations on District properties.  Also, in compliance with Resolution No. 2006‑005, adopted on January 13, 2006, legal notices of this Public Hearing were published in the Marin Independent Journal, during the period of January 24, 2006 to January 31, 2006.  The following additional public outreach was also undertaken:

  • A press release on the public hearing was issued on February 1, 8 and 13, 2006, resulting in articles being published in several local newspapers in the District's service area, and the press release will be reissued during the week of March 1, 2006;
  • Display ads were placed in the San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Commuter Times, Bay Crossings, Novato Advance, San Francisco Downtown Magazine and La Voz (Spanish-language newspaper), during the period of January 19, 2006 to February 3, 2006; and, additional ads will be placed during the period of February 23, 2006 to March 8, 2006;
  • The notice and staff reports were posted on the District’s web site and on www.511.org;
  • E-mail updates were sent to subscribers on January 30, 2006 and on February 13, 2006; and, a reminder e-mail will be sent on March 5, 2006;
  • Posters in English and Spanish were placed on Golden Gate Transit buses and ferries, at bus stops and at ferry terminals;
  • The District’s Bus Passenger Advisory Committee, Ferry Passenger Advisory Committee and Advisory Committee on Accessibility were provided a notice of the public hearing at their meetings in February 2006;
  • Seat drop notices were placed on buses and ferries on February 6, 2006, and on February 27, 2006; and,
  • Notices were sent to Hispanic Community Groups and Centers in February 2006.

The Attorney for the District confirmed that the above-described public outreach met the legal requirements for calling a public hearing.

     
3. Staff Presentation
     
 

Acting General Manager Teri Mantony called upon Planning Director Alan Zahradnik to provide the staff presentation.

Mr. Zahradnik summarized the public hearing staff report (a copy of which is available in the District Secretary’s office and on the District’s web site), outlining the proposal to establish a Five-Year Fare Program to increase bus, ferry and paratransit fares, effective July 1, 2006 through July 1, 2010. The Board of Directors, by Resolution No. 2006-005 at its meeting of January 13, 2006, approved setting a public hearing for the purpose of receiving public testimony on the proposal. He stated that staff has developed a new transit fare program as a successor to the Five-Year Fare Program adopted in 1998. The objectives of the proposed fare program include increasing fare recovery as a means of continuing transit services with an appropriate level of passenger support and increasing transit fares as needed to achieve a $9 million revenue generation target to help address a projected $79 million five-year District financial shortfall. Mr. Zahradnik stated that the proposed Five-Year Fare Program would consist of annual 5% increases to fares for regional bus, ferry and complementary paratransit services, applied over a five-year period, beginning July 1, 2006. Mr. Zahradnik also stated that staff will perform an annual review, concurrent with District budget development process, to determine if adjustments to the Five-Year Fare Program are necessary. He noted that exceptions to the Five-Year Fare Program include the special event bus and ferry service fares, local Marin bus fares set by Marin County Transit District and other service-related fares subject to separate financial performance objectives. Mr. Zahradnik further stated that the proposed fare increases contained in the Five-Year Fare Program are necessary to generate revenues necessary to meet projected operating expenses of District transit services.

     
  a. Written Comments
     
   

Ms. Tarantino reported that thirteen (13) public comments had been received prior to the public hearing, and that these communications had been received by e-mail.

She summarized the comments, as follows:

  1. No comments expressed support.
  2. Nine comments expressed opposition.
  3. Three comments expressed dissatisfaction with the scheduled times of the public hearings.
  4. One general comment suggested changes relative to the scheduling of Golden Gate Transit Route 27.
     
  b. Oral Comments
     
   
Laura Graham expressed her concerns regarding the proposed increase in fares and stated that the fares for bus routes from Santa Rosa to San Francisco will be equivalent to the high cost of gasoline and could result in a reduction of bus passengers.  Ms. Graham also stated that the District might consider obtaining a bond in order to obtain funding to develop a solar-powered light-rail system for public transit.
     
5. Closing Remarks
     
 
President Middlebrook stated that staff would summarize all public comments received and would present a final recommendation relative to the proposal presented at this public hearing to the Finance-Auditing Committee at its regularly scheduled meeting on March 23, 2006.  She further reported that if action is taken by the Finance-Auditing Committee on March 23, 2006, the item would be presented to the full Board of Directors on Friday, March 24, 2006, for its consideration.  Both of these meetings will be held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California.
     
6. Conclusion
     
  All business having been concluded, the public hearing was closed at 7:13 p.m.
     

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District