9-2008

GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, HIGHWAY AND TRANSPORTATION DISTRICT

MEMORANDUM OF MINUTES

BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING

MAY 9, 2008

 

The Board of Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) met in regular session in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Friday, May 9, 2008, at 10:00 a.m., President Moylan presiding.

ROLL CALL

Directors Present (18): Directors Brown, Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, Kerns, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan

Directors Absent (1): Director Dufty

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; Director of Planning Alan R. Zahradnik; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko

Visitors Present: Lt. Colonel Allen Campbell and Cynthia Campbell, Presidio of San Francisco residents; George Topor, Corte Madera resident; Jerry Grace, Union City resident

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Director Barbara L. Pahre led the Board of Directors in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Lt. Colonel Allen Campbell, San Francisco resident, described a recent experience on the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks, in which he, a disabled veteran, and his wife Cynthia Campbell, a recovering cancer patient, who were almost run into by a speeding bicyclist. He expressed his concerns that a speed limit for bicycles does not appear to be enforced on the Golden Gate Bridge, and suggested that bicyclists be required to walk their bicycles on the Bridge sidewalks.

Cynthia Campbell, wife of Lt. Colonel Allen Campbell, reiterated her husband’s concerns. She stated that what should have been a pleasant, relaxing stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge turned into a stressful experience. She suggested that, in deference to the needs of bicycle commuters, bicyclists should be restricted to certain hours on the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks in order to allow pedestrians to walk across the Bridge undisturbed, as well as to avoid any bicycle-pedestrian collisions.

George Topor, Corte Madera resident, described his idea that he believes would improve traffic safety on the Golden Gate Bridge, as an interim measure until a Moveable Median Barrier is installed on the Golden Gate Bridge. He suggested that solid white lines be painted on the Bridge roadway to separate the traffic lanes, with prominent signage prohibiting changing lanes on the Bridge in the mid-span area between the two towers. He also suggested that small speed bumps be embedded in the Golden Gate Bridge sidewalks to slow down bicyclists.

CONSENT CALENDAR

Directors STROEH/BROWN moved approval of the Consent Calendar. All items were approved by the following vote of the Board of Directors:

AYES (18): Directors Brown, Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, Kerns, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan

NOES (0): None

ABSENT (1): Director Dufty

       
1.

Approve the Minutes of the Following Meetings:

  1. Building and Operating Committee/Committee of the Whole of April 24, 2008;
  2. Finance-Auditing Committee/Committee of the Whole of April 24, 2008;
  3. Regular Meeting of the Board of Directors of April 25, 2008.

Carried

       
2.

Denial of Claims

       
  1.

Insufficient Subrogation Claim of State Farm Insurance

(Insured: Abigail Anderson)

Carried

  2. Subrogation Claim of California State Automobile
Association (Insured: Jay Linderman)

Carried

  3.

Insufficient Subrogation Claim of 21st Century Insurance Company (Insured: Lynne Israel)

Carried

       
3.
Ratify Actions by the Auditor-Controller
Resolution No. 2008-037
(Finance-Auditing Committee, April 24, 2008) ratifies actions taken by the Auditor-Controller, as follows:
       
  1.
Ratify commitments and/or expenditures for the period March 1, 2008, through March 31, 2008, totaling $114,282.00;
   
  2.
Ratify investments made by the Auditor-Controller during the period March 18, 2008, through April 14, 2008, as follows;
       
Security
Purchase Date
Maturity Date
Original Cost
Percent Yield
Credit Suisse FB USA, Inc. Certificate of Deposit
03/18/08
06/05/08
1,040,993.36
2.60
Toronto Dominion Bank Certificate of Deposit
03/24/08
06/30/08
3,180,000.00
2.57
Bank of America Corporate Bank Acceptance
02/27/08
03/26/08
2,156,898.19
2.43
Dexia Delaware LLC Commercial Paper
03/03/08
05/30/08
1,097,296.31
2.69
FFCB Notes (Callable)
03/03/08
06/04/08
4,981,500.00
4.36
Bank of America Corporation Commercial Paper
03/04/08
09/15/09
2,729,330.72
2.61
CBA (DE) Finance Commercial Paper
03/13/08
06/05/08
3,482,222.92
2.66
       
  3.
Authorize the Auditor-Controller to re-invest, within the established policy of the Board, investments maturing between April 15, 2008, and May 12, 2008, and all other funds not required to cover expenditures that may become available; and,
       
 

4.

Accept the Investment Report for March 2008 prepared by PFM Asset Management, LLC.

Adopted

       
GENERAL MANAGER'S REPORT
       
4.

California Coastal Conservancy Commemorative License Plate

Ms. Kupersmith provided a status report regarding plans by the California Coastal Conservancy (Conservancy) to issue a new commemorative license plate with an image of the Golden Gate Bridge, to raise money for the Conservancy’s programs in the Bay Area. Ms. Kupersmith reported that the Conservancy is proceeding with its Commemorative License Plate Program (Program), which is anticipated to be rolled out to the public on May 21, 2008. She stated that, as previously reported, under California State law, the District is currently not allowed to pursue such a Program, because the law states that these Programs are only available to state agencies, not to special districts.

She stated that she recently spoke to Sam Schuchat, the Executive Director of the Conservancy, who affirmed that the Conservancy is committed to moving forward with the Program. She noted that the Program has been fully approved by all of the necessary regulatory agencies and that the State of California, Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has signed off on the license plate design. She stated that Mr. Schuchat acknowledged the fact that one year ago, District staff had requested that the Conservancy not pursue a Commemorative License Plate Program using an image of the Golden Gate Bridge. At this point, the Conservancy is not willing to consider using a different design for the license plate. He further stated that the Program was a staff-driven effort, and that it had not been brought before the Conservancy’s Board of Directors. Ms. Kupersmith also noted that the Conservancy has expressed an interest in “Partnering” with the District to be a partner in the Program, although the details of any such partnership were not discussed. She further stated that the Conservancy estimates that they will raise approximately $1 million per year through the Program, once it is fully deployed state wide, which will take three to five years. She also noted that the Conservancy was prepared to spend approximately $500,000 in start-up costs to get the program established.

Ms. Kupersmith stated that staff has drafted a letter to the Conservancy requesting that they postpone the May 21st roll-out date for the Program, to allow time for further discussions between the District and the Conservancy regarding the partnership opportunity. She further stated that staff contacted the President of the Conservancy’s Board of Directors, who confirmed that he was unaware of the Program. Ms. Kupersmith noted that staff has had a chance to review the proposed license plate design, which she described as a small, stylized image of the Golden Gate Bridge on the left-hand side of the plate, in contrast to older commemorative license plate designs that superimpose an image across the entire license plate. She stated that she will provide additional reports to the Board of Directors as the Program advances, particularly regarding the partnering opportunity proposed by the Conservancy.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Kerns inquired as to whether Doug Bosco is still the President of the Board of Directors of the California Coastal Conservancy, and Ms. Kupersmith confirmed that he is still the President.
  • Director Middlebrook suggested that the letter to the Conservancy be addressed to the entire Board of Directors of the Conservancy, rather than its staff. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the Conservancy’s Board will be provided copies, but that since the Program was a staff-driven effort, it was more appropriate to address the letter to Conservancy staff.
  • Director Brown suggested that the District should continue to pursue state legislation that would allow the District to issue its own commemorative license plate, at the same time that discussions continue with the Conservancy regarding potential partnership opportunities.
  • Director Grosboll requested that a closed session be held at the conclusion of this meeting to further discuss potential litigation regarding the Program.
  • Director Boro stated that there is an urgency provision in the Brown Act that allows the Board of Directors to add an item to the agenda if the matter arose after the agenda has been posted and there is an immediate need for action. He stated that in light of the fact that the Conservancy intends to launch its Program on May 21, 2008, as well as the fact that the Board’s next meeting is on May 23, 2008, the Board needs to hold a closed session at the conclusion of this meeting, so that the District will not lose the opportunity to pursue any legal action, if necessary, prior to the launch date.
  • Attorney Miller stated that it will require a vote of the Board of Directors to add a closed session to the Agenda, since the matter arose subsequent to the posting of the agenda and requires immediate action.
  • Directors McGoldrick and Reilly inquired regarding the legal grounds on which the District could object to the Conservancy’s Program, and Mr. Miller stated that such questions more appropriately should be answered during a closed session.

Directors BORO/MCGOLDRICK moved and seconded that the matter of, Discussion with Legal Counsel Regarding the California Coastal Conservancy’s Commemorative License Plate Program, be added to the agenda of the Board of Directors for consideration in closed session at its meeting of May 9, 2008, as permitted by the Brown Act, as this matter arose subsequent to the posting of the agenda and requires immediate action.

Carried

AYES (18): Directors Brown, Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, Kerns, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (1): Director Dufty

       
5.

Presentation of Retirement Gift to Susan C. Chiaroni, Deputy General Manager, Bus Division

President Moylan presented a retirement gift to Susan C. Chiaroni, Deputy General Manager, Bus Division, for thirty-five years and three months of service, and expressed his best wishes for a long and happy retirement on behalf of the Board of Directors.

       
6.

Presentation of Twenty-Year Service Award to Richard Hibbs, Superintendent of Safety and Training, Bus Division

President Moylan presented a Twenty-Year Service Award to Richard Hibbs, Superintendent of Safety and Training, Bus Division, and expressed his congratulations on behalf of the Board of Directors.

       
ATTORNEY’S REPORT
       
7.
Attorney David Miller reported that all items contained in the Attorney’s Report were informational. Mr. Miller also reported that a closed session would be held just prior to the conclusion of the meeting to discuss a matter of potential litigation relative to California Coastal Conservancy’s Commemorative License Plate Program.
       
ENGINEER’S REPORT
       
8.
No written or oral reports were presented by District Engineer Denis Mulligan. A written report is presented to the Board of Directors by the District Engineer at the second Board meeting of the month.
       
REPORT OF THE FINANCE-AUDITING COMMITTEE MEETING OF MAY 8, 2008
       
9. Approve Proposed Variable Toll Rates for Inclusion in Toll-Related Public Hearing
       
  a.

Presentation by Staff

Celia Kupersmith reiterated her presentation that was given at the May 8, 2008, meeting of the Finance-Auditing Committee, which presentation included a PowerPoint presentation entitled, “Variable Toll Proposal for Golden Gate Bridge.” Ms. Kupersmith clarified that the Board of Directors would not be asked to take action at this meeting on the proposed variable toll rate options, but rather, to consider whether these options would be included in the June 11, 2008, Toll Increase Public Hearing.

       
  b.

Discussion by the Board

  • Director McGlashan made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He expressed his concerns that the Golden Gate Bridge toll for cash-paying customers could go as high as $7.00 when the base toll increase of $1.00 is coupled with the proposed variable toll increase of $1.00. He stated that he was particularly concerned that a $7.00 toll would create a financial hardship for low-income workers who have no choice but to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge every day.
    • He noted that many of these low-income commuters are undocumented workers, who may have fears about registering as a FasTrak® user; therefore, this class of commuters would have to pay the higher cash toll.
    • He inquired as to whether the District could have the variable toll only apply to FasTrak® users on weekdays, and have the variable toll apply to both FasTrak® users and cash-paying customers on the weekends. In response, Attorney Miller stated that such a scenario might be feasible, and that any legal concerns would more likely be associated with a scenario in which only the cash-paying customers were subject to the variable toll, and FasTrak® users were not. Ms. Kupersmith noted that staff had considered having a FasTrak® -only variable toll, but ultimately decided not to include such an option, because one of the major sources of congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge is cash-paying visitors and tourists on the weekends. In addition, she noted that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has expressed concerns regarding pursuing variable toll options that would generate less revenue that what staff has proposed in Options A and B.

[President Moylan had to leave the meeting at 11:00, and handed the chairmanship of the meeting over to First Vice President Boro as Acting President.]

  • Director Sanders made the following comments and inquiries:
    • She noted that for the majority of weekday commuters, 70 percent of which are FasTrak® users, the variable toll increase will result in a toll of $5.50 when added to the proposed base toll increase.
    • She inquired as to the impact on the District’s budget if the combined toll increases result in fewer Bridge crossings. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that staff has been developing variable toll revenue projections based on the fact that if the number of Bridge crossings decrease, the amount of toll revenue available to fund transit operations will also decrease. She stated that because of that fact, staff has estimated the amount of the net proceeds from the variable toll increase that would be available.
    • She inquired as to the possible uses of the proceeds from the variable toll. In response, Ms. Kupersmith provided examples of how the net proceeds from the variable tolls would be used: (1) to fund extra Golden Gate Transit (GGT) service on heavily-used regional bus routes that cross the Bridge; and, (2) to fund Larkspur Ferry Terminal ferry feeder shuttle bus routes, which service would be particularly needed during construction of the upcoming Larkspur Ferry Terminal Parking and Access Improvements project. Ms. Kupersmith noted that both of these examples would provide commuters other options to get across the Golden Gate Bridge without paying the variable tolls.
  • Director Middlebrook expressed her concerns that the possibility of a separate Doyle Drive toll is still on the table, since it had been her understanding that by the District stepping forward to implement variable tolls, the Urban Partnership Program (UPP) grant monies were saved for the region and a Doyle Drive toll would no longer be needed. She urged staff to be as assertive as possible in order to ensure that the UPP grant monies are distributed as promised by the DOT.
  • Director McGoldrick made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He asked a series of questions regarding the technical aspects of what constitutes congestion on the Golden Gate Bridge, and Director of Planning Alan Zahradnik explained how staff used 511 traffic travel time monitoring data to determine the average vehicle speeds in the Golden Gate Bridge corridor, which is defined as the Golden Gate Bridge and its approaches, including Doyle Drive.
    • He inquired as to whether District staff used variable tolling data from other cities worldwide who have implemented variable tolls, such as London, England and Stockholm, Sweden. In response, Mr. Zahradnik explained that some of the data from European cities is not directly convertible to variable tolling business practices in the United States. He acknowledged the collaboration of planning staff from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA), who have confirmed that the data and assumptions used by the District are consistent with current variable tolling theory and practice.
    • He inquired as to whether staff had projected into the future how the amount of variable toll revenue would be affected by a possible drop off in Bridge traffic. In response, Mr. Zahradnik stated that given the amount of other variables to consider, such as the price of gasoline, the price of parking in San Francisco and the general state of the economy, staff has not attempted to project variable toll revenue beyond the first year after implementation.
    • He stated that he would like to see all of the variable toll options presented at the June 11, 2008, public hearing, including the one proposed by Director McGlashan to charge variable tolls only to FasTrak® users on weekdays, and charge variable toll to both FasTrak® users and cash-paying customers on the weekends.
  • Director Grosboll made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to what types of privacy protections are in place for FasTrak® users. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that there are many state laws in place that apply to the uses of FasTrak® data, as well as 511 traffic data.
    • He stated that it would be useful to better educate the public regarding these privacy restrictions, so as to alleviate fears of undocumented workers who are reluctant to sign up for FasTrak® .
    • He expressed his support for the implementation of variable tolls, noting that it would be part of a regional effort to promote more transit use in the Bay Area.
  • Director Pahre commended Public Affairs Director Mary Currie for educating the public regarding the variable tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge. She noted that it important to inform the public that one can mitigate against the proposed higher tolls by signing up for FasTrak®.
  • Director Sandoval made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He urged the Board to pursue, through the State Legislature, changes to the District’s enabling legislation that would allow the District to seek more equitable ways to raise revenue other than through tolling.
    • He stated his opinion that the proposal for variable tolls will not be revenue-neutral, it is merely a toll increase, rather than a means of reducing congestion in the Golden Gate Bridge corridor.
  • Director Brown made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether the District’s implementation of variable tolls would preclude any other agency from implementing a toll on Doyle Drive. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the amount of the variable toll ultimately adopted by the Board may impact the amount of total tolls in the corridor that people are willing to pay.
    • He commented that the amount of revenue that the District could have realized from the Corporate Partnership Program, rejected by the Board of Directors in 2007, is similar to the amount of net revenue expected from the variable tolls.
  • Director Newhouse Segal suggested that the Board move forward with the variable toll options presented by staff, to give the public an opportunity to comment on them at the June 11, 2008, public hearing. Ms. Kupersmith clarified that the Board of Directors will not be asked to make a decision on the variable toll options on the night of the public hearing, but will simply hear public testimony on the matter, and then the matter will be presented to the Board for further discussion and possible action at its meeting of July 11, 2008.
  • Director Reilly inquired as to whether the Board can later reverse the implementation of variable tolls if the UPP grant monies ultimately get rescinded by the DOT. In response, Ms. Kupersmith answered in the affirmative.
       
  c.

Public Comment

Jerry Grace expressed his concerns regarding the possibility of the Golden Gate Bridge toll increasing to $7.00.

       
  d.

Action by the Board

Directors NEWHOUSE SEGAL/KERNS
Resolution No. 2008-038
approves bringing forward the following variable toll options to be included in the June 11, 2008, public hearing:

       
OPTION
Cash/FasTrak®
Variable Toll Increment

Cash/FasTrak®
Total Peak Toll

7:00-9:00 a.m. / 4:00-6:00 p.m.
on Weekdays
3:00-7:00 p.m.
on Weekends and Holidays
A
$1.00 / $0.50
$7.00 / $5.50
B
$1.00 / $1.00
$7.00 / $6.00
       
   

Adopted

AYES (13): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; Acting President Boro
NOES (2): Directors McGlashan and Sandoval
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Dufty, Kerns and President Moylan

       
REPORT OF THE RULES, POLICY AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMITTEE/COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE MEETING OF MAY 9, 2008
       
10.

Approve Adoption of Master Ordinance 2008

Directors PAHRE/MIDDLEBROOK
Ordinance No. 2008
approves adoption of Master Ordinance 2008 and repeals Master Ordinance 2007.

Adopted

AYES (15): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; Acting President Boro
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Dufty, Kerns and President Moylan

       
11.

Approve Adoption of the Rules of the Board, as Amended

Directors PAHRE/STROEH
Resolution No. 2008-039
approves adoption of the 2008 Rules of the Board, including amendments approved by the Board of Directors during the year 2007.

Adopted

AYES (15): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Hernández, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Pahre, Reilly, Sanders, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; Acting President Boro
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Directors Brown, Dufty, Kerns and President Moyl

       
CLOSED SESSION
       
12.

Attorney’s Report

Attorney David Miller, at the request of Acting President Boro, stated that the Board of Directors would convene in closed session to discuss a matter of potential litigation with Legal Counsel regarding the California Coastal Conservancy’s Commemorative License Plate Program.

After closed session, Acting President Boro called the meeting to order in open session with a quorum present. Attorney Miller reported that the Board of Directors met in closed session, as permitted by the Brown Act, to discuss a matter that was added to the agenda as an urgency item, as the matter had arisen subsequent to the posting of the agenda and there was a need for immediate action. Mr. Miller stated that the Board of Directors received a report from the General Manager regarding the California Coastal Conservancy proposal for a license plate program, and as a result of the closed session, direction has been given to Legal Counsel and the General Manager with regard to communications to immediately take place with the Conservancy, to have serious discussions regarding this issue, and to express concerns of the District regarding the proposed license plate program, and to authorize, as will be discussed at future date, whatever actions are deemed necessary in order to present the District’s position.

       
ADJOURNMENT
       
13. All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 12:05 p.m., in the memory of Earl Bouse, Vera M. Ford, Edward O’Connell Doyle, Patrick O’Connor, Eleanor Ann Furnaz, Con Cronin and John Larson.
       

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Janet S. Tarantino
Secretary of the District