September 10, 2009

 

REPORT OF THE TRANSPORTATION COMMITTEE/
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

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

Honorable Members:

A meeting of the Transportation Committee/Committee of the Whole was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, California, on Thursday, September 10, 2009, at 10:00 a.m., Chair Brown presiding.

Committee Members Present (11): Chair Brown; Vice Chair Cochran; Directors Eddie, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Reilly, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; President Boro (Ex Officio)
Chair Brown appointed Directors Eddie, Moylan, Reilly and Stroeh Pro-Tem Members for this meeting only.
Committee Members Absent (2): Directors Kerns and McGlashan
Other Directors Present (1): Director Elsbernd

Committee of the Whole Members Present (12): Directors Brown, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (7): Directors Campos, Chu, Dufty, Kerns, McGlashan, Newhouse Segal and Sanders

Staff Present: General Manager Celia G. Kupersmith; Auditor-Controller Joe Wire; Acting District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet S. Tarantino; Attorney David J. Miller; Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri W. Mantony; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James P. Swindler; Maintenance Manager Gene Walker; Acting Executive Assistant to the General Manager Sonia Pedlar; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: David McCrossan, Senior Transportation Consultant, HDR Engineering, Inc.

     
1. Report of the District Advisory Committees
     
 

a.

Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA)

There was no meeting of the Advisory Committee on Accessibility (ACA) in August 2009.

Ms. Kupersmith stated that this Committee presents an award every two years to an individual or organization that has done work to promote access and that, in light of the recent passing of Russ Bohlke, the ACA Board has renamed the award the “Russ Bohlke Award.” She stated that there is no action required of the District Board today, but that the person or organization that receives the award is recognized at a District Board meeting.

     
  b.

Bus Passengers Advisory Committee (BPAC)

There was no meeting of the Bus Passengers Advisory Committee in August 2009.

     
  c.

Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee (FPAC)

There was no meeting of the Ferry Passengers Advisory Committee in August, 2009.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
2.

Approve Actions Relative to the Award of Contract No. 2009-BT-1, Forty-Five Foot Diesel Inter-City Configuration Coaches, to Motor Coach Industries, Inc.

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to the authorization of the award of Contract No. 2009-BT-1, Forty-Five Foot Diesel Inter-City Configuration Coaches, to Motor Coach Industries, Schaumburg, IL (MCI), in the amount of $12,945,832.92, for the purchase of 23 coaches and associated spare parts, to replace 29 forty-foot coaches, subject to a Federal Transit Administration (FTA)–required pre-award audit and the successful completion of a price/cost analysis.

In addition, the staff report recommended authorization of a sole source purchase of 23 fareboxes from GFI Genfare, a unit of SPX Corporation, in the amount of $365,730.00,because the District can achieve significant cost savings by purchasing directly from the manufacturer. According to the staff report, savings from purchasing direct would amount of approximately $363,461.00. The staff report stated further that requirements for a sole source purchase under FTA regulations were met, including: 1) uniqueness; 2) lack of availability elsewhere; 3) the District’s current use of GFI fareboxes on its coaches, making installation of other brands more costly and less efficient; 4) critical timing of delivery in that farebox delivery must coincide with delivery of the buses; and, 5) based upon prior research by the District, no other farebox was found to meet the District’s performance requirements. The staff report stated that California law allows an exception from competitive procurement laws under these circumstances.

The staff report also recommended the establishment of a project contingency fund of five percent (5%) of the contract amount, or approximately $617,603.00, to cover unexpected expenses; such as, specification modifications and/or purchase of spare parts and on-board operating equipment and authorization of an increase in the FY 09/10 Bus Transit Division Capital Budget, in the amount of $2,453,650.00, to be funded with FTA grant funds ($1,962,920.00) and from District reserves ($490,730.00).

The staff report noted that negotiations with MCI resulted in price reductions totaling approximately $100,000.00 per coach.

[Directors Pahre and Elsbernd arrived at this time.]

During the meeting, Ms. Mantony stated that these over-the-road coaches would be used for long distance commute services from Sonoma and Marin counties to San Francisco. She stated that the District would initially order 23 coaches, but options in the contract would allow the District to buy additional coaches, as other existing ones reach the end of their useful lives.

Ms. Mantony also reported that the District used a new American Public Transportation Association (APTA) guideline designed to streamline and provide greater consistency to the procurement process. The guideline was developed by an APTA Procurement Committee on which Madeline Chun served. She stated the District was first in the country to use the guideline.

Ms. Mantony reported further that GFI fareboxes would be purchased separately, because of the financial savings available to the District, and that the same type farebox has been in use in the District since March 2009.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Reilly inquired as to the reason for choosing diesel as opposed to hybrid buses. In response, Ms. Mantony stated that the District made a commitment to a clean diesel path several years ago, and this is part of that decision. Mr. Walker provided additional detail, stating that these over-the-road coaches have the cleanest emissions currently available. He noted that hybrid technology is well suited to other uses, but for over-the-road use, diesel performs better. He stated further that the clean-burning diesel engines, such as those proposed for purchase, are very comparable environmentally to hybrid.
  • Director Grosboll made the following comments and inquiries:
    • He inquired as to other available options in addition to hybrid or diesel. In response, Mr. Walker stated that one other option was compressed natural gas; however, these coaches would be much heavier and have reduced passenger capacity. In addition, long commuter routes, such as from Santa Rosa to San Francisco, require a fuel range of more than 400 miles and it has been found that compressed natural gas vehicles do not have mileage in this range.
    • He inquired as to whether complaints had been received from environmental groups on the diesel engine in these buses and whether this was the cleanest diesel available, or whether any other Bay Area buses had cleaner diesel. In response, Ms. Mantony stated that the buses proposed for purchase have the cleanest diesel available. She confirmed that no other Bay Area communities have buses with cleaner diesel. She responded further that the clean diesel path was challenged in San Francisco and other areas that have explored these opportunities. She stated that the decision was made after taking all factors into consideration, including the cost of required infrastructure for this and other engine types. She stated that the District’s choice in this purchase has not been challenged, however.

In further response, Ms. Kupersmith stated that making the decision had taken many months of deliberation by the Board of Directors. It was found that both clean diesel or another alternative fuel would lead to zero emissions buses in the future. The District chose the clean diesel path, and then to focus its additional financial resources on testing zero-emissions bus technology. She stated the District has been working on zero-emissions bus testing together with AC Transit since about 2000, although the technology has not moved forward as fast as hoped for in 2000.

She added that another factor in making the decision for diesel was customer preference for 45-foot coaches. She added that the variation in ridership from route to route has been a challenging aspect of the decision-making process, but this choice will help balance the need for comfort for in long distance travel with high capacity requirements. She continued that the District contracts with Marin County Transit District (MCTD) to provide local service, which does not require long coaches, and Marin County Transit District has chosen to try hybrids. This applies hybrid technology in an area well suited to it.

    • He inquired as to the kind of fareboxes that will be used. Ms. Mantony stated that the same fareboxes that are currently used on Golden Gate Transit (GGT) buses will be used on the new buses. She stated further that farebox complaints have been reduced to minimal.
  • Director Sobel inquired as to the expected delivery date for the buses and whether they would be equipped with Wi-Fi. In response, Ms. Mantony stated that the buses would be shipped in June 2010, with delivery possible ahead of schedule, and that they would be equipped with Wi-Fi.
  • Director Cochran inquired as to the reason for establishing a 5% contingency fund. In response, Ms. Mantony stated that staff travel costs to inspect buses prior to accepting delivery would be covered by contingency funds. Further, she stated that while contingency funds are seldom used, a contingency fund is established so that unexpected costs can be covered.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the award of Contract No. 2009-BT-1, Forty-Five Foot Diesel Inter-City Configuration Coaches, as follows:

  a.
Authorize award of a contract to Motor Coach Industries, Inc., in the amount of $12,945,832.92, for the purchase of 23 forty-five foot diesel inter-city configuration coaches and associated spare parts;
  b.
Authorize the sole source purchase of fareboxes with GFI Genfare in the amount of $365,730.00;
  c.
Authorized a contingency fund in the amount of $617,603.00, equal to 5% of the contract award;
  d.
Establish a total project budget of $13,929,750.00, to be funded $11,143,800 Federal Transit Administration (FTA) (80%), 1,264,140.00 State I-Bond funds, and $1,521,810.00 District funds (11%);
  e.
Authorize a budget increase in the FY 09/10 Bus Transit Division Capital Budget in the amount of $2,453,650.00, to be funded with $1,962,920.00 FTA funds and $490,730.00 District reserves, subject to concurrence by the Finance-Auditing Committee at its meeting of September 10, 2009;
 

subject to an FTA-required pre-award audit and the successful completion of a price/cost analysis.

Action by the Board at its meeting of September 11, 2009 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (12): Directors Brown, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro
NOES (0): None

     
3.

Approve Actions Relative to the Award of Contract No. 2010-BT-6, Thirty-Five Foot Hybrid Buses, to New Flyer on behalf of the Marin County Transit District

n a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Celia Kupersmith presented staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to the procurement of up to 7 thirty-five foot hybrid buses and miscellaneous spare parts, using options assigned from Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (“piggybacking”) for the purchase. In addition, the staff report recommended establishment of a contingency fund of $199,972.49, to cover the cost of specification modifications and the purchase of spare parts, and authorization of an increase in the FY 09/10 Bus Transit Division Capital Budget in the amount of $295,000.00 ($236,000.00 FTA grant funds and $59,000.00 local funds from Marin County Transit District (MCTD)).

The staff report stated that the District is under contract with the MCTD to provide Marin’s local bus service, including purchase and replacement equipment. The staff report stated that MCTD, at its February 2008 Board meeting, approved the purchase of up to7 thirty-five foot hybrid buses to be 100% funded by from the FTA, Prop 1B and the MCTD. In the event MCTD were unable to fully fund its share, the District would purchase only six hybrid buses, making the budget increase unnecessary.

The staff report cited benefits of hybrid buses, including improved fuel economy and lower emissions coupled with adequate seating capacity, easier passenger loading and faster wheelchair boarding times. The purchase price of $597,460.31 per bus would include Americans with Disabilities Act equipment, delivery charges and sales tax. The miscellaneous spare parts packet was estimated to be $245,805.37, including sales tax.

The staff report noted that the District is “piggybacking” on contracts that were let pursuant to a process that conformed to the State and Federal laws applicable to the District’s procurement of buses and that “piggybacking” would provide efficiency and cost-saving, with an “in service” date as early as July 2010, and that the process conforms to both federal and state law.

At the meeting, Ms. Mantony stated that Marin County had confirmed their intent to purchase all seven buses.

Ms. Kupersmith stated that the local match would be paid by the MCTD, not by the District. The buses would belong to the District, with MCTD providing the matching funds and making the final decision on the purchase. She stated that the District was able to “piggyback” on an existing Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority contract with New Flyer of America and noted that the advantage of “piggy-backing,” a common practice in the industry, was the better price and faster delivery.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Transportation Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the award of Contract No. 2010-BT-6, Thirty-Five Foot Hybrid Buses, as follows:

  a. Approve the finding that a traditional low-bid procurement process is not an adequate method of procuring hybrid buses for use on Marin County Transit District (MCTD) routes, and that using options assigned from another agency (“piggybacking”) to purchase these buses is the best method for this procurement; and,
  b. Authorize the purchase of up to seven (7) thirty-five foot hybrid buses and miscellaneous spare parts, on behalf of MCTD, through a “piggyback” contract between Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and New Flyer of America; and,
  c. Establish a contingency fund in the amount of $199,972.49 to support any minor specification modifications identified at the pre-production meeting and during bus production, as well as the purchase of spare parts; and,
  d. Establish a total project budget of $4,628,000.00, to be funded with $236,000.00 Federal Transit Administration funds and $59,000.00 local funds from MCTD; and,
  e. Authorize a budget increase in the FY 09/10 Bus Transit Division Capital Budget in the amount of $295,000.00, subject to the concurrence of the Finance-Auditing Committee at its meeting of September 10, 2009;
 

with the understanding that no District funds will be used.

Action by the Board at its meeting of September 11, 2009 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (12): Directors Brown, Cochran, Elsbernd, Grosboll, Moylan, Pahre, Snyder, Sobel and Stroeh; Second Vice President Eddie; First Vice President Reilly; President Boro
NOES (0): None

     
4.

Presentation of PowerPoint by Consultant HDR, Inc., on Results of the South Marin Transit Study

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Z. Wayne Johnson and General Manager Celia Kupersmith summarized the purpose of the South Marin Transit Study (Study) as identification of capital projects to improve Golden Gate Transit (GGT) bus operations and passenger facilities in south and central Marin County. The Study was undertaken by HDR Engineering, Inc., with the District and Marin Transit each providing staff to the study’s Technical Advisory Committee and contributing $25,000.00.

The staff report noted there would be no fiscal impact due to the conceptual nature of the findings, and that the findings had already been accepted by Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM).

Chair Brown introduced David McCrossan, Senior Transportation Consultant for HDR Engineering, Inc. who made a PowerPoint presentation of the results. Mr. McCrosson stated that the Study was sponsored by the Transportation Authority of Marin with the District contributing as a funding partner with significant input and technical expertise provided by District staff.

During the presentation, Mr. McCrossan stated that the focus of the Study was identification of feasible and fundable capital improvements on a five- or ten-year horizon, by improving infrastructure to enhance service and efficiency. The Highway 101 corridor from downtown San Rafael to the Golden Gate Bridge and east-west arterials were studied. Planning of future services was outside the scope of the Study.

Mr. McCrosson stated that the Study identified pilot programs that would benefit GGT, using three service scenarios. First, multi-modal “green hubs,” would guarantee secure bicycle parking, add short stay pickup capacity, increase drop-off capacity and provide a neighborhood shuttle/shared ride transfer service. Transit parking management would be improved to provide better security, lighting and shelter for people waiting to use public transportation. Second, the Highway 101 Key Pads and Ramps Transit Program would provide at-grade signal controlled pedestrian activated ramp crossings, ramp transit signal priority and bus pad access reconfiguration. Third, the Arterial Speed and Reliability Program would implement transit signal priority by placing receiving equipment on signals and transponder equipment on buses. Traffic signal controller/system timing plans and monitoring would also be implemented. He indicated that other improvements identified in the study would primarily benefit local service.

Mr. McCrosson displayed a prototype of a multi-modal green hub, and stated that it would be an enhanced facility, large enough for a 45-foot over-the-road coach to access without difficult. Carpooling and ridesharing to the pick-up location would be incentivized. Several locations on the arterial corridors were researched. This Study identified seventeen possible green hub locations, all of which would provide better parking. He stated that data were collected and analyzed for drop-off and pick-up points, such as Kiss-and-Ride.

Mr. McCrosson reported that Sir Francis Drake Boulevard was one main corridor with potential for improvement as part of the Arterial Speed and Reliability Program. The Study identified speed and reliability improvements, such as transit signal priority and reconfiguration to improve reliability.

Mr. McCrosson stated that no funding sources had been identified and no funds committed, although the likely level of improvement, capital cost and benefit has been investigated. He stated that each improvement requires further study. He stated that costs would be relatively modest while the benefits to people and the environment would be significant.

He stated that by the end of five years, the multi-modal green hubs would cost approximately $6 million, Key Pads and Ramps $8.6 million, and the Arterial Speed and Reliability Program just under $14 million. All have relatively low cost per one-way trip. He stated that implementing the improvements would take approximately three years and would provide an opportunity to recapture choice ridership.

Mr. McCrosson stated further that bicycle parking should be improved, generally, and provide guaranteed security. Secure bicycle parking has been very successful elsewhere in the Bay Area, and expectations for secure bicycle parking are higher in this part of the country than in other parts.

Following Mr. McCrosson’s presentation, Ms. Kupersmith stated that the end of the previous fiscal year has now passed and discussions are ongoing with the MCTD to finalize financial obligations. She stated that the MCTD is facing serious funding shortfalls because sales tax has been discontinued and Transit Development Act funds eliminated. She reported that discussion has taken place at the Board level, and that in the next few months the MCTD staff will propose service reductions which, if passed, will result in lower revenue for the District. She stated there is a possibility they may reduce the number of bus drivers and that attrition by the end of the year could be substantial. She noted that, because of the serious nature of the problem, they must move quickly to raise fares and/or cut service, and the District continues to work closely with them. She stated that once a clear plan is in place, it will be brought before the District Board of Directors.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Snyder made the following inquiries:
    • He inquired as to whether the first green hub was expected to happen relatively soon and how ample car parking could be guaranteed. In response, Mr. McCrosson stated that two locations were identified where property was available and the improvements could be implemented. He stated that a mechanism has been identified for local jurisdictions to decide how they want to use potential parking, as well as existing parking. He stated it is similar to the BART parking program. He stated further that different areas will employ different solutions. He provided several examples, one of which was to provide overflow all-day parking, either through a ticket-managed system or as part of a shared system with the general public and businesses.
    • He stated that the solution employed should not model BART exactly and that he felt skeptical about improvements on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard. He inquired as to whether priority would be put on general traffic improvements, as opposed to transit preempts. In response, Mr. McCrosson stated that general traffic improvement would not be the highest priority but, instead, flow of traffic while prioritizing transit. He noted that ten “pinch points” were identified that would require signal preemption, extending the traffic signal green phase or truncating the red phase.
    • He inquired as to how automobiles would benefit from such changes. In response, Mr. McCrosson stated that having the green light remain green for a longer period of time where traffic flow makes that desirable benefits all drivers and will improve traffic flow generally. He added that strong feedback was received from Marin County.
  • Director Brown noted that pull-outs are vitally important. In response, Mr. McCrosson stated that pull-outs are very much a part of the green hub concept and that more extensive curbs can be provided.

Action by the Board – None required

     
5.

Monthly Report on Activities Related to Marin Local Service Contract with Marin County Transit District

The monthly report on activities related to the Marin local service contract with the Marin County Transit District (Marin Transit) was furnished to the Transportation Committee. The report included the following elements:

  a.
Revised spreadsheets from the Planning Department outlining GGT bus service performance of both District regional routes and Marin Transit local routes, for the months of April, May and June, 2009; and,
  b.
A spreadsheet from the Auditor-Controller outlining the history of payments made from July 1, 2009 to August 25, 2009 by Marin Transit to the District for intra-county bus transit services in Marin County.
     
  Due to the high volume of agendas and minutes from Marin County agencies related to this item, hard copies of those items were not provided to the Committee. Instead, electronic versions of the following items were posted on the District’s web site:
  a.
Marin Transit Agenda for August 17, 2009, Board Meeting;
  b.
Marin Transit Minutes for July 13, 2009, Board Meeting;
  c.
Transportation Authority of Marin (TAM) Board Meeting Agenda for July 23, 2009;
  d.
TAM Board Meeting Minutes for June 25, 2009;
  e.
TAM Notice of Cancellation of August 27, 2009 Board Meeting; and
  f.
TAM Executive Committee Notice of Cancellation for August, 2009.
 

Copies of all of the above-listed items are available in the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

Action by the Board – None Required

     
6.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
7.

Adjournment

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

     
     

 

Respectfully submitted,

/s/ Harold C. Brown, Chair
Transportation Committee