July 26, 2007
(For Board: August 10, 2007)

REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE

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

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Finance-Auditing Committee was held in the Supervisors Chambers, County of Sonoma Administration Center, Santa Rosa, California, on Thursday, July 26, 2007, at 10:00 a.m., Honorary Chair Kerns presiding.

Committee Members Present (7): Honorary Chair Kerns; Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Boro, Cochran, Eddie and Stroeh; President Moylan (Ex Officio). Chair Stroeh appointed Director Kerns Committee Member Pro Tem and Honorary Chair for this meeting only.

Committee Members Absent (3): Directors Grosboll, Middlebrook and Reilly

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/Bus Division Susan C. Chiaroni; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Teri W. Mantony; Assistant Clerk of the Board Patsy Whala

Visitors Present: Carney J. Campion, former General Manager

 

     
1.

Ratify Actions by the Auditor-Controller

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith outlined commitments, disbursements and investments made on behalf of the District. The report also included a copy of the District’s Investment Report from PFM Asset Management LLC (PFM). A copy of the staff report, with attachments, is available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Finance-Auditing Committee recommends that the Board of Directors authorize the following actions by the Auditor-Controller:

     
  a.
Ratify commitments and/or expenditures for the period June 1, 2007, through June 30, 2007, totaling $58,503.00;
   
  b.
Ratify investments made by the Auditor-Controller during the period June 12, 2007, through July 16, 2007, as follows;
     
SECURITY

PURCHASE

DATE

MATURITY

DATE

ORIGINAL

COST

PERCENT

YIELD

Dresdner US Finance, Commercial Paper
07/05/07
08/06/07
$8,008,273.20
5.30
Prudential Funding, LLC, Commercial Paper
07/05/07
08/15/07
$9,793,975.05
5.29
     
  c.
Authorize the Auditor-Controller to re-invest, within the established policy of the Board, investments maturing between July 17, 2007, and August 13, 2007, as well as the investment of all other funds not required to cover expenditures that may become available; and,
     
  d.

Accept the Investment Report for June 2007 prepared by PFM.

Action by the Board - Resolution
CONSENT CALENDAR

     
 
AYES (7): Honorary Chair Kerns; Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Boro, Cochran, Eddie and Stroeh; President Moylan (Ex Officio)
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (3): Directors Grosboll, Middlebrook and Reilly
     
2.

Presentation from the Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Relative to the Bus Transit Division’s FY 07/08 Goals and Workplans

Deputy General Manager/Bus Division Susan Chiaroni presented a report on the Bus Transit Division’s FY 07/08 goals and workplans. Ms. Chiaroni stated that the Bus Division’s goal is to perform its activities in a cost effective and fiscally responsible manner to best meet the transportation needs of Marin and Sonoma counties. She described the cost saving measures that have been implemented, including maintaining an adequate number of bus operators, achieving efficiencies through the Hastus Scheduling and Dispatch system and implementing modifications to Golden Gate Transit (GGT) routes.

Among the many accomplishments and goals of the Bus Transit Division, Ms. Chiaroni highlighted the following topics:

  • Customer Relations – All Bus Operators receive yearly training to address customer relations and safety issues and also participate in public outreach events, which efforts have contributed to the success of the transit services. Ms. Chiaroni provided some examples of compliments that Bus Operators have received regarding the quality of their driving, as well as courtesy, integrity and safety.
  • Translink® – All buses have been equipped with TransLink® equipment and all Bus Operators have received training on the system.
  • Bus Maintenance – The Maintenance Department consistently reviews procedures to achieve cost reductions and operating efficiencies.
  • Facility Maintenance – Renovations have been made in San Rafael, San Francisco, Novato and Santa Rosa bus facilities for energy efficient lighting and plumbing, as well as to accommodate computerized dispatch equipment.
  • Bus Shelters – Maintenance is performed on 97 bus shelters and 1200 bus stops throughout the service area, including the refurbishment/replacement of 12 bus shelters and the replacement of glass and benches due to graffiti and vandalism.
  • Bike Racks & Training – 100% of the bus fleet is equipped with bicycle racks and, bus passengers are more familiarized with the use of bicycle racks by the community outreach training sessions performed by District personnel.
  • Articulated Buses – The District purchased 10 articulated buses, which seat 58 passengers and are powered by the cleanest California Air Resources Board (CARB) emission-compliant Cummins Diesel engines. Ms. Chiaroni noted that plans have been made to purchase an additional 13 articulated buses to be used for commute service.
  • Compliance with CARB Regulations – All buses in the fleet are equipped with the latest diesel engines certified by CARB and with Particulate Matter (PM) filters and Nitrous of Oxides (NOx) devices. The Bus Transit Division has reduced PM emissions over 90% and NOx by 25%, which is beyond the 2007 CARB requirements of 85%.
  • O2 Diesel Testing Objectives – As part of the Bus Transit Division’s green efforts, testing 02 Diesel Technology will begin this year, which is a blend of Ultra-Low Sulfur Diesel and Ethanol, plus proprietary formulations, allowing for improved combustion and further reduction of PM and NOx emissions. Ms. Chiaroni noted that the objective of this testing will be to evaluate if the reduction in PM will allow extended oil changes and PM filter cleaning intervals , as well as decrease the severity of PM filter cleaning.
  • Zero Emission Buses – GGT partnered with Alameda/Contra Costa (AC) Transit in a joint demonstration project for the development of a hybrid electric hydrogen fuel-cell powered bus, which converts hydrogen into electricity to power the bus, with water being the only emission. Ms. Chiaroni noted that the Bus Division will operate this bus on some routes for a demonstration period.

In conclusion, Ms. Chiaroni emphasized that all the Bus Division employees work together throughout the year to provide safe, reliable and efficient bus service for approximately 7.5 million people and over 300,000 bus trips. Ms. Chiaroni invited the Directors to tour the facilities to see the operation first-hand.

Ms. Kupersmith reported on the status of the Agreement with the City of Novato Redevelopment Agency, including the plan for the redevelopment of the Novato Bus Yard and the possible relocation of the bus operations to a new site at no cost to the District. Ms. Kupersmith noted that the Redevelopment Agency has committed, in writing, regarding the new location, to meet the needs of the District for its bus operations and that any additional operating costs incurred at the new location would be appropriately addressed. In addition, Ms. Kupersmith reported on the possible relocation of the San Francisco Bus Facility in downtown San Francisco, due to the planned development of the Transbay Transit Center. Ms. Kupersmith described the issues surrounding the framework of the project, including the impact on community parking and on development opportunities. She noted that staff will present a detailed report to the Building and Operating Committee at its meeting of August 23, 2007. She also noted that the Bus Transit Division has incurred additional operating costs at the current location of the San Francisco Bus Facility due to the fact that Bus Operators must drive an extra mile to the bus lot after the final bus passenger has disembarked.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Stroeh made the following comments and inquiries:
    • In response to inquiries from Director Stroeh regarding the zero emission hybrid electric hydrogen fuel cell powered bus (hydrogen bus), Ms. Chiaroni stated that the hydrogen bus is still in its research and development testing phases and that the District will obtain the hydrogen bus for additional testing at a later date. Ms. Chiaroni also explained the operating cost differences between the hydrogen bus and the diesel bus, noting that a hydrogen bus costs approximately $3.5 million and gets 8 miles per gallon (mpg), while a diesel bus costs $500,000 and gets 4 mpg. She noted that the cost-effectiveness of the hydrogen bus would be realized after being in service for 10 years.
    • He inquired as to whether GGT buses are filled to capacity and if any passengers are turned away. In response, Ms. Chiaroni stated that depending upon the time of day, on select commuter and select basic routes, some buses have the maximum amount of standees and even leave some people behind. Ms. Chiaroni noted that staff is addressing this issue with schedule changes. She also noted that the new 58-passenger articulated buses should help alleviate any problem of buses filled to capacity.
    • He described the possible locations in Novato for the new Novato Bus Yard Facility and the feasibility of the new locations.
  • Director Boro made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He commented that the Bus Transit Division carries over 7.5 million passengers and the Ferry Transit Division carries over 2 million passengers and together will soon be carrying over 10 million passengers per year, which is an outstanding accomplishment that should be conveyed to the community.
    • In response to inquiries regarding maintenance of the bus shelters, Ms. Chiaroni stated that some bus shelters within the service area are maintained by the District, whereas others are maintained by the respective city or by contract with a private contractor.
    • He inquired as to the issues in maintaining the hydrogen bus. In response, Ms. Chiaroni stated that these buses need a separate shop to perform maintenance activities and that there is safety issues regarding the hydrogen fuel tanks. She also stated that, if the District chose to bring that technology to the District’s bus facilities, special arrangements would be necessary to accommodate the hydrogen fuel needs.
    • He inquired as to whether the District owned the Novato Bus Yard Facility, and further stated that if the property value of the Novato Bus Yard Facility is higher than the relocation site, then proper compensation needs to be addressed. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the District does own the Novato Bus Yard Facility and that the Redevelopment Agency will address any compensation issue in the exchange.
    • He commented on the possible sites for the relocation the San Francisco Bus Facility and inquired as to whether the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) would be the decision-maker for the re-location of the District’s bus facility, as well as for the other transit agencies involved in the project. In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that the consortium, which includes the District, AC Transit, San Francisco Municipal Railway (MUNI) and Transbay Joint Powers Authority, is currently discussing re-location issues and that the MTC will need to maintain a neutral position when dealing with each individual agency’s case.
  • President Moylan made the following comments and inquiries:
    • In response to an inquiry from President Moylan, Ms. Chiaroni stated that MUNI has recently acquired approximately 100 hybrid buses, which use electric and diesel fuel. These buses cost an additional $125,000 to $150,000 more than diesel-only fuel buses. Ms. Chiaroni also stated that the District is keeping in close contact with officials at MUNI to monitor how well the hybrid bus is performing on its city streets. Ms. Chiaroni noted that, with this type of technology, future financial savings would be realized in the reduction of fuel costs over the lifetime of the vehicle. Furthermore, Ms. Kupersmith stated that hybrid buses were discussed during the period when the District purchased the 10 articulated buses on behalf of the Marin County Transportation District (MCTD). Ms. Kupersmith noted that based on a financial analysis, the cost of the vehicle would far exceed the savings from fuel, so the MCTD decided to purchase the diesel buses. She also noted that MCTD could have pursued grant funding in order to purchase hybrid buses; however, these funds are difficult to obtain.
    • He commented that on Wednesday, July 25, 2007, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors recommended that a proposition be placed on the 2007 November ballot to prevent any future construction of parking lots in the City and County of San Francisco and inquired how that proposition would affect the discussions regarding the San Francisco Bus Facility. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the plans for the San Francisco Bus Facility have already been approved and have been released in the Environmental Impact Report, but that staff will look into the matter further.
  • Honorary Chair Kerns made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He stated that the variable elements to be considered for both the hybrid bus and the hydrogen bus are the life expectancy and the cost of the batteries, and that those two elements could negate any savings in fuel. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the point of purchase would be as a clean-air investment, rather than a cost savings investment.
    • He inquired as to whether the Bus Transit Division will be restoring any previously cancelled routes. In response, Ms. Chiaroni stated that the Bus Transit Division is not considering renewal of any previously cancelled routes. Furthermore, Ms. Kupersmith stated that funding is not available to restore any of these routes.
    • He inquired as to whether the District could reinstate Golden Gate Transit Route 90 with service to the City of Sonoma if Transportation Development Act (TDA) funds were available. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that staff will re-evaluate the route and check the source of TDA funding.
  • Director Cochran made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to the reason why the District was selected to participate in the Zero Emission Bus Program. In response, Ms. Chiaroni stated that organizations that chose the clean-diesel path were mandated to consider operating zero emission buses.
    • He inquired as to which Golden Gate Transit routes will be earmarked for the hydrogen buses during the demonstration period. In response, Ms. Chiaroni stated that since the fueling stations are located at AC Transit’s facility in Oakland, the District will limit the routes to ones located in Marin County.
    • He inquired about the specifics of the additional operating costs incurred due the current location of the San Francisco Bus Facility. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that since the bus operators are driving longer distances there are additional costs associate with salary, wear and tear on the vehicle and fuel.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
3.

Review of Golden Gate Bridge Traffic/Tolls and Bus and Ferry Transit Patronage/Fares for Twelve Months Ending June 30, 2007

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a schedule comparing categories of Bridge traffic, as well as a monthly review of Bridge traffic and tolls and transit patronage and fares, for twelve months ending June 30, 2007. 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

     
4. Review of Financial Statements for Twelve Months Ending June 30, 2007
     
  a.

Statement of Revenue and Expenses

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a financial statement entitled, Statement of Operating Revenues and Expenses for Twelve Months Ending June 30, 2007. 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

     
  b.

Statement of Capital Programs and Expenditures

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a financial statement entitled, Statement of Capital Programs and Expenditures for Twelve Months Ending June 30, 2007. 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.

Review of Auditor-Controller’s Quarterly Report on Authorized Budget Adjustments and Budget Transfers

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a report summarizing budget adjustments and budget transfers authorized by the Board of Directors during the three-month period from April 1, 2007, through June 30, 2007. A copy of the report, including attached charts outlining applicable budget adjustments and transfers, is available in the Office of the District Secretary.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
6.

Review of Auditor-Controller’s Quarterly Report on Contracts and Change Orders/Contract Amendments Executed Under the General Manager’s Authority

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Celia Kupersmith provided a report summarizing all contracts and change orders executed under the General Manager’s procurement authority, as set forth in the Rules of the Board, during the three-month period from April 1, 2007, through June 30, 2007. A copy of the report, including attached charts outlining applicable contracts and change orders, is available in the Office of the District Secretary.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
7.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
8.

Adjournment

 

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:50 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Mike Kerns, Honorary Chair
Finance-Auditing Committee