March 24, 2006
(For Board: April 28, 2006)

 

REPORT OF THE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
AND PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE/
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

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

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, March 24, 2006, at 9:50 a.m., Chair Boro presiding.

Committee Members Present (8): Chair Boro; Vice Chair Martini; Director Dufty, Kerns, Newhouse Segal, Reilly and Sandoval; President Middlebrook (Ex Officio).
Committee Members Absent (1): Director McGoldrick
Other Members Present (8): Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Eddie, Hernández, Moylan, Murray, Pahre and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (16): Directors Ammiano, Cochran, Dufty, Eddie, Hernández, Kerns, Martini, Murray, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Boro; First Vice President Moylan; President Middlebrook
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (3): Directors Brown, McGoldrick and Shahum

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 Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson

Visitors Present: None

     
1. Status Report on State/Federal Legislation
     
 

General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on the status of the following federal legislation:

Golden Gate Bridge Moveable Median Barrier Project: Ms. Kupersmith reported that during the week of February 27, 2006, a group of District staff and Board members traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress and articulate the District’s need for federal funding for the Moveable Median Barrier project. Ms. Kupersmith distributed copies of the informational brochure that described the importance of a Moveable Median Barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge to the Committee of the Whole members present. She stated that the District representatives received a positive response from the Congressional delegation to the District’s request for $4 million in federal funding to begin the engineering and environmental studies for this vital safety enhancement project. She further stated that the appropriations process for the requested funding is expected to be complete by October 2006.

Water Resources Development Act/Larkspur Ferry Channel Dredging: She reported that while in Washington, D.C., the District representatives also met with members of Congress involved with the reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA). She stated that this is another significant item of federal legislation for the District, since the WRDA includes language that calls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to take on permanent responsibility for the dredging of the Larkspur Ferry Channel. She noted that WRDA reauthorization has been ongoing for almost five years, but that the process is anticipated to be completed later this year. She further noted that the Larkspur Ferry Channel dredging language is in both the House and Senate versions of the WRDA reauthorization bill, and that the Senate bill has come out of the Committee level and will next be heard by the full Senate before going to Conference.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

     
 
  • Director Reilly inquired regarding the background of the District’s efforts to federalize the Larkspur Ferry Channel dredging.  In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that in the past, the District has received periodic federal assistance for channel dredging projects, but that the District is now seeking permanent federal assistance.  She noted that if the Corps accepts permanent responsibility for the dredging, it would provide a significant financial relief to the District, given that the District currently spends approximately $5 million every three years to dredge the channel.
     
 
  • Chair Boro, who traveled to Washington, D.C., with the group of District staff and Board members, expressed his appreciation to Congresswoman Pelosi for her efforts to assist the District in seeking funding for the Moveable Median Barrier project.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2.
Status Report from the Board Appointee on the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA)
     
 
Chair Boro, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) Board Appointee, provided a status report on recent activities of the WTA.  The following items were provided to the Committee of the Whole:
 
  1. Agenda for the February 8, 2006, meeting of the WTA Community Advisory Committee;
  2. Notice of Cancellation for the February 8, 2006, meeting of Planning and Development Committee;
  3. Notice of Cancellation for the February 7, 2006, Administrative/Finance/ Legislative Committee;
  4. Agenda for the January 26, 2006, meeting of the WTA Board of Directors;
  5. Notice of Cancellation for the January 20, 2006, WTA Board Retreat;
  6. Notice of Rescheduling for the January 11, 2006, meeting of the WTA Community Advisory Committee;
  7. Agenda for the December 8, 2005, meeting of the WTA Board of Directors;
  8. Minutes of the December 8, 2005, meeting of the WTA Board of Directors;
  9. Agenda of the November 29, 2005, meeting of the Administrative/Finance/ Legislative Committee and meeting of the WTA Board as a Committee of the Whole;
  10. Agenda of the November 9, 2005, meeting of the Planning and Development Committee and meeting of the WTA Board as a Committee of the Whole;
  11. Notice of Cancellation for the November 9, 2005, meeting of the Operations Committee; and,
  12. Minutes of the September 29, 2005, meeting of the WTA Board of Directors.
 

Copies are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Chair Boro reported on topics discussed at the March 23, 2006, meeting of the WTA Board of Directors. He stated that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Castleberry provided a report to WTA Board of Directors outlining the implementation schedule and status of WTA ferry service at various locations around San Francisco Bay.  Chair Boro requested that a copy of the WTA CEO’s report be distributed to the members of the Board of Directors by the Secretary of the District. 

Chair Boro described the following matters of interest that were discussed at the March 23rd meeting:
 
  • South San Francisco ferry service: The 45-day public review period began February 14, 2006, on the draft environmental document, and he stated that the community has been very supportive of having ferry service to their city. He noted that WTA’s design consultants have prepared some inventive and attractive designs for the docking structure at Oyster Point, which would be built over the landfill located at the site. He suggested that the WTA staff provide a presentation of these designs to a future meeting of the Committee.
  • Berkeley, Richmond and Hercules:  He stated that these three cities are also very supportive of ferry service to their communities, and understand the importance of using the San Francisco Bay as an opportunity for expanded public transit.
  • Blue & Gold Fleet:  He noted that Blue & Gold is appealing the loss of their contract for Alcatraz ferry service to Hornblower Yachts, and that the loss of the Alcatraz service may affect Blue & Gold’s ability to provide its commute ferry service from San Francisco to Berkeley/Alameda, Tiburon and Vallejo.
  • City of Alameda:  He stated that WTA has begun negotiations with City of Alameda regarding the possibility of WTA to operate the City’s ferry service, which would be the first opportunity for WTA to become a ferry operator.  He further stated that WTA is currently investigating the economic feasibility of operating this ferry service, taking into account the local and state funding that the service receives.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
3. Public Comment
     
 

There was no public comment.

     
4. Adjournment
     
  All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 10:00 a.m.
     

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Albert J. Boro, Chair
Governmental Affairs and
   Public Information Committee