March 28, 2008

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 28, 2008, at 9:30 a.m., Chair Boro presiding.

Committee Members Present (6): Chair Boro; Vice Chair Kerns; Directors Cochran, Newhouse Segal and Reilly; President Moylan (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (3): Directors Dufty, McGoldrick and Sanders
Other Members Present (6): Directors Ammiano, Eddie, Grosboll, Middlebrook, Sandoval and Stroeh

Committee of the Whole Members Present (12): Directors Cochran, Eddie, Grosboll, Kerns, Middlebrook, Newhouse Segal, Reilly, Sandoval and Stroeh; Second Vice President Ammiano; First Vice President Boro; President Moylan
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Brown, Dufty, Hernández, McGlashan, McGoldrick, Pahre and Sanders

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; District Engineer Denis J. Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph M. Wire; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorneys David J. Miller, Madeline Chun and Kim Manolius; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary H. Witt; Public Affairs Director Mary C. Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Karen B. Engbretson; Executive Assistant to the General Manager Amorette Ko

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 she recently traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with the staff of Bay Area members of Congress, as well as the staff of key Congressional committees, regarding funding for the Moveable Median Barrier project. She stated that the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is very supportive of the Moveable Median Barrier project, as are Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein.

Water Resources Development Act/Larkspur Ferry Channel Dredging: Ms. Kupersmith also reported that while in Washington, D.C., the District representatives also met with members of Congress to seek funding for the dredging of the Larkspur Ferry Channel. She noted that last year, the District was successful in having the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) take on federal responsibility for dredging of the Larkspur Ferry Channel, but that the Corps will only undertake the dredging if a funding source for this work has been identified and secured. She stated that she is confident that federal funding can be found for this project, noting that Senator Boxer has a long history of involvement in federalizing the Larkspur Ferry Channel dredging project.

Larkspur Ferry Terminal Parking Structure: Ms. Kupersmith further reported that she also sought federal funding for a capital project to build a new parking structure at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal (LFT). She stated that the District already has $12.8 million in committed funding for this project as part of the Urban Partnership Program (UPP) grant, and that the District is seeking an additional $4 million in federal funds toward the projected $21 million cost for the project. She also stated that the LFT parking structure project would be eligible for federal Ferryboat Discretionary funding, which she is also confident of the District receiving for this project. She was told by a Congressional staff person that federal Ferryboat Discretionary funding happens to be “under-subscribed,” which increases the likelihood of the District receiving its requested allocation.

Ms. Kupersmith commented that there is a looming national crisis in transportation funding, because it appears that the Highway Trust Fund, which is funded through gasoline taxes, will run out of money in approximately three years. She stated that representatives of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission recently attended a Transportation Consortium Summit to discuss new possible funding sources for public transportation, including tolling or increases in the gasoline tax. She also noted that some of the Congressional staff persons she met with stated that there has been a sharp increase in the number of funding requests for earmarks, even though Congress has recently been grappling with the issue of whether or not to continue doing federal earmarks.

Ms. Kupersmith further reported that during her visit to Washington, D.C., she was also able to objectively explain all issues surrounding the Doyle Drive reconstruction project. She noted that thanks to some quick action by District Engineer Denis Mulligan, the District was able to submit its federal environmental compliance documents for the LFT Parking Structure project by the deadline of March 27, 2008, which documents were required relative to securing the UPP grant allocation of $12.8 million. She noted that it is anticipated that the District will receive the funds during the week of March 31, 2008.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • Director Reilly inquired regarding funding for the Larkspur Ferry Channel dredging. In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that the District received federal allocation of funding for the dredging five years ago, as well as for the most recent dredging cycle. She noted that now that the Corps has been designated as being responsible for the dredging, they are seeking the District’s assistance in locating additional federal dollars to perform this work.
  • Chair Boro made the following comments:
    • He commented that at the March 27, 2008, meeting of the Transportation Authority of Marin, the Authority Board discussed a letter from the Sierra Club that states opposition to the construction of a parking structure at the LFT. He noted that the Sierra Club would like to see the $12.8 million in funding used instead for free shuttles, and that they would like the District to institute parking fees at LFT to discourage access to the LFT by automobile.
    • He stated that the Marin County Bicycle Coalition has also expressed opposition to the parking structure, stating a preference that the $12.8 million in funding be used to improve bicycle and pedestrian access to the LFT. Ms. Kupersmith noted that in reference to the Sierra Club’s request, the $12.8 million in capital funding could not be used for operating purposes such as shuttles.

Ms. Kupersmith reported on the status of the following state legislation:

Water Emergency Transit Authority (WETA): Ms. Kupersmith reported that the following four new Board members have been appointed to this newly formed Authority, which took the place of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority (WTA) on January 1, 2008: (1) Chair Charlene Haught Johnson, who had been Chair of the WTA; (2) Vice Chair Anthony J. Intintoli, Jr., former mayor of Vallejo and former member of WTA; (3) Beverly Johnson, mayor of Alameda; and, (4) Gerald Bellows, Logistics Management Officer with the U.S. Maritime Administration. Ms. Kupersmith further stated that the first meeting of the WETA will take place on March 31, 2008.

Assembly Bill 117 (AB 117): Ms. Kupersmith provided an update on AB 117, on which the Board of Directors took action on February 22, 2008, to have the District included in the legislation. She stated that this legislation deals with the criteria public agencies may use when awarding contracts for purchases of materials, supplies and equipment and increases the formal competitive procurement threshold to $100,000. She noted that Assembly Member James Beall, the author of AB 117, has agreed to add the District to the legislation, and that the bill is now moving forward in the legislative process. She expressed her thanks to former State Senator Jackie Speier, who assisted in having the District added to the legislation.

Discussion ensued, including the following:

  • President Moylan inquired as to how the WETA Board members were appointed. In response, Ms. Kupersmith explained that Governor Schwarzenegger appointed three members (Charlene Johnson, Anthony Intintoli and Gerald Bellows), the State Senate Rules Committee appointed one member (Beverly Johnson) and that the remaining vacant position will be appointed by the Assembly Committee on Rules.
  • Director Newhouse Segal inquired as to whether it would be appropriate for the District to have representation on the WETA, and Chair Boro stated that it would not be practical to have District representation on the WETA, since the District’s ferry operation was not taken over by the WETA, as was the case with Vallejo’s and Alameda’s ferry service.
  • Director Reilly inquired as to how to formalize communication with the WETA, since the District is not represented on its Board. In response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that Deputy General Manager/Ferry Division James Swindler will regularly attend WETA Board meetings, and that staff would also distribute WETA meeting materials to the District Board of Directors to keep them apprised of the WETA’s activities.

Action by the Board – None Required

   
2

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

   
3.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was declared adjourned at 9:55 a.m.

   
   

 

Respectfully submitted,

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