June 22, 2006
(For Board: July 14, 2006)

 

REPORT OF THE BUILDING AND OPERATING COMMITTEE/
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

Honorable Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
  and Transportation District

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Building and Operating Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Thursday, June 22, 2006, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Eddie presiding.

Committee Members Present (7): Chair Eddie; Vice Chair Reilly; Directors Hernández, Martini, Moylan and Stroeh; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (2): Directors Ammiano and Boro
Other Directors Present (4): Directors Cochran, Murray, Newhouse Segal and Pahre

Committee of the Whole Members Present (11): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook

Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Ammiano, Brown, Dufty, Kerns, McGoldrick and Sandoval; Second Vice President Boro

[Note: On this date, there was one vacancy on the Board of Directors.]

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James P. Swindler; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Deputy District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Principal Planner Maurice P. Palumbo; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: Nancy Jones, Public Financial Management

     
1. Approve Actions Relative to the Purchase of a Replacement Ferry Vessel
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Planning Director Alan Zahradnik, Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James Swindler and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation regarding a replacement high-speed ferry vessel.  The report provided background regarding the success of the two-vessel, high-speed ferry service plan implemented in July 2004.  The report noted that weekday Larkspur ridership has increased by 12% over the past two years, and that surveys have found that Larkspur passengers have a strong loyalty to high-speed water transit.  The report stated that this success has led to full passenger loads on the 390-passenger M.V. Del Norte and the 450-passenger M.V. Mendocino, particularly on the three peak morning departures from Larkspur.  The report noted that the smaller-capacity M.V. Del Norte often reaches capacity and sometimes leaves passengers behind on the dock to wait for the next ferry.

The report stated that the District’s Capital Plan includes a project to purchase a replacement ferry vessel in FY 06/07, for a budgeted amount of $12 million (80% federal grant funds and 20% District funds).  The original intent of this project was to purchase a replacement for oldest of the Spaulding vessels.  However, given the changed nature of the Larkspur ferry service, it is now recommended to purchase a third high-speed ferry vessel rather than a Spaulding-like vessel.  The report explained the advantages of purchasing a third high-speed vessel, including the following points:
     
  1.
Currently, when one of the two existing high-speed vessels is out of service due to routine dry-docking or other maintenance activities, one of the Spaulding vessels is used as backup.  Having a third high-speed vessel in the fleet, with one available for backup, would allow for a continuous high level of service with the faster crossing times that are preferred by Larkspur ferry customers.
  2.
A new high-speed vessel would allow the District to add more capacity to the existing peak morning service by replacing the 390-passenger M.V. Del Norte with a new 499-passenger vessel.
  3.
Rotating the M.V. Del Norte into backup status would relieve the extreme wear and tear on the oldest of the District’s high-speed vessels, which was put into revenue service in 1998.
     
 

The report also stated that staff had investigated the possibility of purchasing one of Washington State’s surplus high-speed passenger ferries and refurbishing it for use in the District’s fleet as a third high-speed vessel.  However, it was determined that purchasing such a surplus vessel would not be prudent, because Washington State’s passenger vessels have the same smaller capacity as the M.V. Del Norte, and a used vessel would have a shorter life cycle than a new vessel.

The report discussed the procurement method recommended for the purchase of this replacement ferry vessel, describing the advantages of using a competitive negotiation process, as authorized under California Public Contract Code Section 20217.  The report stated that staff recommends purchasing the replacement high-speed vessel by competitive negotiation because of the desire to standardize its high-speed ferry fleet to reduce maintenance and repair costs and to implement operational efficiencies.  The report further stated that following approval of the high-speed ferry vessel purchase, staff will develop the vessel construction specifications and issue a Request for Proposals from qualified boatyards.  While the vessel specifications are being developed, the District will conduct the required environmental analysis of the vessel replacement project.  The report noted that once the Board approves the award of the vessel construction contract, an estimated 18- to 24-month construction and testing period would precede delivery of the new vessel. 

The report also discussed the need for landside terminal access improvements in conjunction with the purchase of a third high-speed vessel, in order to accommodate the increased demand for ferry service.  During the two-year vessel construction period, staff will develop strategies to reduce parking demand and increase parking supply at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, including possible landside terminal access improvements such as: (1) parking lot expansion; (2) restoration of shuttle bus service; and/or (3) promoting pedestrian and bicycle access to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.  The report stated that staff would present a preliminary landside access plan for Board consideration later in 2006.  A copy of the report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, James Swindler summarized the staff report, describing some of the operational challenges that prompted the need for a third high-speed ferry vessel.  He noted that staff is recommending pursuing the competitive negotiation process for this ferry vessel procurement because of the flexibility to award the contract based on a variety of factors in addition to price, such as performance reliability, standardization and life cycle costs.  He noted that staff would begin the environmental review process upon Board approval of the purchase of a replacement ferry vessel.

Discussion ensued, including the following:
     
 
  • Director Stroeh inquired as to what the environmental review process would entail.  In response, Mr. Swindler explained that the District would undertake a thorough environmental analysis, similar to what had been performed for prior ferry vessel procurements, to ensure that the right decisions are made for both the environment and the District.  He noted that the environmental analysis would include studies on wake/wash issues, as well as studies to ensure that the vessel will have the cleanest propulsion system available.
 
 
  • Director Reilly inquired as to what transpires when ferry passengers are left waiting on the dock because a peak morning ferry has reached capacity.  In response, Mr. Swindler stated that some of them return to their vehicles to complete their commute, and that the rest of the passengers remain at the ferry terminal to wait approximately 30-45 minutes for the next ferry.
     
 
  • Director Murray made the following comments, based on her recent experience speaking to ferry passengers at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal:
    • She stated that several passengers expressed frustration at being left behind at the terminal because there is no room for them on a ferry that has reached capacity.  She emphasized the importance of increasing vessel capacity with the purchase of a new vessel.
    • She suggested that the District provide more comfortable seating accommodations for those passengers who are left behind to wait 30-45 minutes for the next ferry.
    • She stated that she had received complaints regarding the cleanliness of vessels.
    • She stated that several passengers expressed a desire to have more opportunities to speak with District management regarding their concerns about ferry service.
    • She suggested that a customer survey be undertaken to seek passenger input regarding the proposed ferry vessel purchase.
     
 
  • Director Cochran inquired regarding the type of engine contemplated for the replacement ferry vessel, noting that the M.V. Mendocino has a different type of engine than that found on the M.V. Del Norte.  In response, Mr. Swindler stated that the complete environmental analysis to be undertaken will help the District choose the most reliable and clean-burning engine for replacement ferry vessel.
     
 
  • Director Moylan inquired as to whether there was any additional land available near the Larkspur Ferry Terminal to expand parking.  In response, Mr. Swindler stated that is there no new land available, but that rather, District staff would be examining how to maximize space in the existing Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking lot.
     
 
  • Chair Eddie commented that purchasing a new high-speed ferry vessel with increased capacity would be an excellent solution to the problem of passengers left waiting at the ferry terminal.
     
 
  • Director Pahre commended District staff for participating in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission funded “Spare the Air Day” free ferry service, noting that some ferry transit agencies did not participate in the program because it would be perceived as being unfair to existing ferry commuters who use pre-paid monthly passes.  In response, Mr. Kupersmith noted that the District’s fare system is set up so that each passenger pays for each ride, and that the District does not have a monthly pass program.
     
 
Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/MOYLAN to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:
     
 
RECOMMENDATION
     
 

The Building and Operating Committee recommends that the Board of Directors authorize staff to develop and issue, through the competitive negotiation process permitted under California Public Code Section 20217 (which law allows for the consideration of a variety of factors in awarding a contract, such as performance reliability, standardization, lifecycle costs, and other similar factors in addition to price), a Request for Proposals for the purchase of a high-speed, 499-passenger-capacity vessel, as a replacement for one of the existing Spaulding ferry vessels, with the understanding that this vessel would allow for additional capacity in the District’s existing ferry service during peak hours, subject to the completion of the associated environmental analysis.

Action by the Board – Resolution

     
 
AYES (11): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
NOES (0):   None
     
 
[Note:  The above recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of June 23, 2006, for action.]
     
2.
Approve Actions Relative to the Award of Contract No. 2007-B-2, Merchant Road Improvements and Realignment, to Granite Rock Company, dba Pavex Construction Division
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy District Engineer Ewa Bauer, District Engineer Denis Mulligan and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to the award of Contract No. 2007-B-2, Merchant Road Improvements and Realignment. The report stated that the District applied for and received a grant from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority in the amount of $283,000 to design and implement bicycle lanes, street lighting, signage and other improvements on Merchant Road, near the District’s Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza facility. Concurrently, the Presidio Trust, in cooperation with the National Park Service (NPS), initiated plans to realign Merchant Road as part of an environmental remediation project. The report also stated that combining the two related projects would result in cost savings, expedited environmental review and enhanced inter-agency coordination and efficiency. The District and the Presidio Trust have negotiated a Cooperative Agreement which delineates construction cost allocation between the two agencies and provides for the District to assume responsibility for project management.

The report also stated that District staff prepared the plans and specifications for Contract No. 2007-B-2, to undertake the following improvements to Merchant Road: (1) construct a new concrete curb, gutter and sidewalk, pavement, dedicated bicycle lanes, storm drains, street lights, in-roadway warning lights, landscaping and signage for the realigned road; (2) construct a new paved parking lot for 50 spaces south of the engineering trailers; (3) construct a new paved NPS trail to connect with the existing trail at the historic bunkers; and, (4) realign Merchant Road to connect with Storey Road in the Presidio of San Francisco to form a new four-way stop at Lincoln Boulevard. Contract No. 2007 B 2 was advertised for bids on May 16, 2006, and the bid documents were also posted in electronic format on the District’s website, where the documents could be viewed and downloaded for printing by interested bidders.

The report further stated that on June 13, 2006, three bids were received, opened and publicly read, with the apparent low bid submitted by Granite Rock Company, dba Pavex Construction Division (Pavex), in the amount of $1,318,861. Pavex has complied with the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) requirements applicable to this contract, although no specific DBE goal was established for this project, and no DBE participation is anticipated during the performance of the project. The report stated that staff, the DBE Programs Administrator and the Attorney have reviewed the bids and determined the apparent low bid of Pavex to be responsive and the bidder responsible, and recommend award of the Contract to Pavex. A contingency fund in the amount of $131,886, representing ten percent of the bid amount, is also recommended. The Engineer’s cost estimate for Contract No. 2007 B 2 was $751,000, prompting the need for a budget increase in the amount of $581,500. The Presidio Trust’s share of the project will be approximately $687,000 and the District’s portion will be $1,075,448. A copy of the report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Denis Mulligan summarized the staff report, noting that the Engineer’s cost estimate was low because it did not adequately factor in the costs of how one-way traffic control and construction staging would affect the bid item prices. He recommended award of the contract to Pavex and approval of the budget increase, noting that in order for the project to move forward, the Presidio Trust will need to take a similar action approving the contract award and the budget increase.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors STROEH/HERNÁNDEZ to forward the following recommendation to the Board of Directors for its consideration:

     
 
RECOMMENDATION
     
 
The Building and Operating Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve the following actions relative to Contract No. 2007-B-2, Merchant Road Improvements and Realignment:
 
a.
Authorize award of a Contract No. 2007-B-2 to Granite Rock Company dba Pavex Construction Division, San Jose, CA, in the amount of $1,318,861, with the understanding that the Presidio Trust will pay approximately $687,000;
 
b.
Authorize a contingency fund in the amount of $131,886, equal to ten per cent of the contract award; and,
 
c.

Authorize a budget increase in the amount of $581,500, to be funded with additional grant funds in the amount of $254,870 and $326,630 from the District’s Restricted Reserves, subject to the concurrence of the Finance-Auditing Committee at its meeting of June 22, 2006.

Action by the Board – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

     
 
AYES (11):  Directors Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly and Stroeh; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
NOES (0):   None
     
 
[Note:  The above recommendation was forwarded to the Board of Directors meeting of June 23, 2006, for action.]
     
3.
Status Report from District Appointees on Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) Board
     
 

The Committee was provided with copies of the agenda for the May 17, 2006 meeting and the minutes for the April 19, 2006 meeting of the Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART). Copies of these items are available in the Office of the District Secretary, as well as on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Chair Eddie, one of the District’s representatives on the SMART Board of Directors (SMART Board), provided updates on the following topics:

 
  • He stated that the SMART Board is continuing its discussion regarding the selection of a developer for SMART’s property at Santa Rosa Railroad Square, and approved the housing element of the project at its May 17th meeting.
 
  • He stated that SMART has received approximately 1,600 comments on its Environmental Impact Report, and that SMART staff is in the process of responding to those comments.
 
  • He noted that additional grant funds have been earmarked for the reopening of the Cal Park Hill Tunnel, which will be restored for bicycle/pedestrian travel and potential passenger rail shared use. He stated that reopening the tunnel will provide bicyclists and pedestrians with safe access between San Rafael and the Larkspur Ferry Terminal. Ms. Kupersmith remarked that the District has always been supportive of the projects to improve bicycle access to the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, since staff is seeking ways to encourage ferry passengers to access the ferry by means other than automobile.
 
 
Discussion ensued, including the following:
 
 
  • Director Martini, a member of the SMART Ad Hoc Selection Committee representing the Santa Rosa City Council, stated that it is the understanding of the City of Santa Rosa that SMART will be seeking a financial contribution in the range of $7 million to $16 million, from the City for the Santa Rosa Railroad Square project.
 
 
  • Director Murray inquired as to whether SMART’s response to the EIR comments would include updated and corrected ridership projections, and Chair Eddie answered in the affirmative.
     
 
  • Director Moylan inquired as to whether the historic trestle over Sir Francis Drake Boulevard would be rebuilt to accommodate trains that would travel through the Cal Park Hill Tunnel.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that such plans are indefinite at this time, and that it will be determined in the future whether or not the location of a SMART Larkspur train station will be north or south of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, and whether or not a new trestle would be needed.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
4. Status Report on Engineering Projects
     
 

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy District Engineer Ewa Z. Bauer, District Engineer Denis Mulligan and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on current engineering projects. A copy of the report is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
5. Public Comment
     
  There was no public comment.
     
6. Adjournment
     
  All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 10:30 a.m.
     

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ James C. Eddie, Chair
Building and Operating Committee