July 7, 2011

 

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 (Committee) of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA, on Thursday, July 7, 2011, at 10:10 a.m., Acting and Vice Chair Pahre presiding.

Committee Members Present (5): Acting and Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Boro, Cochran, Moylan and Sobel

Committee Members Absent (4): Chair Stroeh; Directors Elsbernd and Grosboll; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

Other Directors Present (3): Directors Arnold, Eddie and Renée

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division Jim Swindler; Director of Information Systems Robert Haar; Electronic Revenue Collection Program Manager David Dick; Public Affairs Director Mary Currie; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None

 

1. Authorize Budget Adjustment(s) and/or Transfer(s)
     
  a. There were no “Budget Adjustment(s) or Transfer(s)” to be acted upon at this meeting.
     
2. Authorize Actions Related to Grant Programs
     
  a. There were no “Actions Related to Grant Programs” to be acted upon at this meeting.
   
3.

Approve the All Electronic Toll Payment Processing Framework in Preparation for Contract Negotiations with the FasTrak® Regional Customer Service Center Vendor

In a memorandum to Committee, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve the All Electronic Toll (AET) payment processing framework, in preparation for contract negotiations with the FasTrak® Regional Customer Service Center vendor, ACS State and Local Solutions, Inc. (ACS), for provision of payment processing services associated with license plate tolling and invoice-based payments.

The staff report stated that the Board, at its meeting of January 28, 2011, authorized conversion to AET on the Golden Gate Bridge (Bridge) to reduce the cost of toll collection, and District staff and Traffic Technologies, Inc. (TTI) are currently working on the design phase of AET conversion.

The staff report further stated that the District and the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) jointly manage the FasTrak® Regional Customer Service Center (CSC) under a Cooperative Agreement that calls for contract changes affecting both parties to be approved by the governing board of each party. An automatic toll payment processing framework must be developed to replace manual toll processing at the Bridge Toll Plaza and to allow for and support contract negotiations with ACS, for provision of AET payment processing services.

A copy of the staff report is available from the Office of the District Secretary and on the District’s web site.

At the meeting, Electronic Revenue Collection Program Manager David Dick briefly summarized the staff report, stating that after this recommendation has been approved, the District will enter into negotiations as stated above. He stated that, with AET, all toll payments will be made either by FasTrak® or by license plate tolling. He stated that, with license plate tolling, a number of payment methods will be available.

Mr. Dick explained that, with the plate-based payment method of license plate tolling, payment would be made shortly before or after the toll is incurred. To pay multiple tolls, the customer would set up an account with the CSC, in person, online or by phone and would provide the CSC with credit or debit card information, check or cash, along with a license plate number. This account could remain open indefinitely or could have a closure date. Single toll payments could be made at any one of a number of retail locations, to be determined, by paying the toll and providing a license plate number.

For invoice-based payments, an invoice will be automatically generated and mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle several days after passing through the toll plaza. The first invoice will include all tolls that were incurred on the first day. All subsequent invoices will be generated on a rolling 30-day cycle and will include all tolls incurred during the previous 30 days. Invoices may be paid by credit or debit card, cash or check. Remittance can be made by United States mail, phone, online, or in person at retail locations.

Mr. Dick indicated that, if an invoice remains unpaid after the due date, it will become a violation. By contrast to the current violation procedure, with AET, a violation would not be assessed until it was determined that invoices remained unpaid. Violations will generate three violation notices, at regular intervals, with fees added. Should the amount due remain unpaid after three violation notices, the violation will be forwarded to the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Discussion ensued, including the following comments and inquiries:

  • Director Sobel commented that the AET Advisory Committee is looking at various scenarios, trying to solve problems such as might arise if a motorist incurs a toll but has no banking environment at all.
  • Director Renée made the following inquiries:
    • She inquired as to whether other toll roads use license plate processing. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that this method is used in the United States and in some places in Europe. He indicated that the District will be the first California location to use an AET system.
    • She inquired as to whether a cost comparison has been done between AET and keeping one booth open for cash tolls. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that a cost comparison has been done and that keeping one toll booth available for cash payments is considerably more expensive. He stated that manual toll collection is the most expensive method of collecting tolls.
    • She inquired as to whether the AET system is completely without toll collectors. Mr. Mulligan responded affirmatively. He added that the District has been collecting tolls electronically for over a decade, using FasTrak®.
    • She inquired as to whether instructions will be available in languages other than English. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that instructions will be provided in multiple languages.
    • She inquired as to the timing between the opening of the new Visitor Center and 100% implementation of AET. In response, Mr. Mulliganstated that the Visitor Center is scheduled to open in March 2012, with AET implementation planned for approximately six months later.
  • Director Moylan inquired as to whether work is being done to promote more use of FasTrak®. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that, with respect to FasTrak®, the initial invoice is a marketing tool as well as a request for payment. He added that, on days when many cash payments would normally be collected, such as Sunday afternoons, the traffic congestion would be reduced with AET. In addition, traffic flow will be improved and greenhouse gases will be reduced with AET.
  • Director Arnold made the following inquiries:
    • She inquired as to the retail locations that will accept payment of single tolls. In response, Mr. Dick stated that the District is developing the network at this time.
    • She inquired as to how many times a motorist could make a single toll payment with no invoice being mailed. In response, Mr. Dick stated there is no limit on the number of single tolls that could be paid. Furthermore, single tolls could be paid in multiple ways, including online, by telephone or at retail locations, by cash, check, credit card or debit card.
    • She inquired as to whether a limit will be placed on the number of times a motorist could receive mailed invoices for toll payments. In response, Mr. Dick stated that no limit would be placed on mailed invoices. He explained that the first invoice will be generated approximately three to four days after the first crossing. Thereafter, invoices will be mailed every 30 days, if one has incurred tolls during the invoice period.
  • Director Cochran inquired as to whether a solution has been found for identifying undercover law enforcement license plates used in California. In response, Mr. Dick indicated that work is currently being done to clarify the proper method of identification.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Finance-Auditing Committee recommends that the Board of Directors approve the all electronic toll payment processing framework in preparation for contract negotiations with the FasTrak® Regional Customer Service Center vendor.

Action by the Board at its meeting of July 8, 2011 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (7): Acting and Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Arnold, Boro, Cochran, Renée and Sobel; First Vice President Eddie
NOES (1): Director Moylan
ABSENT (4): Chair Stroeh; Directors Elsbernd and Grosboll; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

   
4.

Authorize Execution of a Third Amendment to the Wide Area Network Services Agreement with the County of Marin

In a memorandum to Committee, Director of Information Systems Robert Haar and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to authorize execution of a Third Amendment to the five-year Wide Area Network Services Agreement (Agreement) with the County of Marin to provide additional bandwidth and network capabilities, increasing the current Agreement amount by $68,816.00, from $486,153.00 to $554,969.00.

The staff report stated that the Board, by Resolution No. 2008-089 at its meeting of October 10, 2008, authorized execution of an Agreement with the County of Marin, for a five-year term, to provide network services through the County of Marin’s, “Marin.org/MIDAS” network. Since execution of the Agreement, two Amendments have been issued, the first to increase the original contract amount from $466,150.00 to $486,153.00, and the second, to modify the allocation of the bandwidth. Upgrades are required to the bandwidth at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, and to the bandwidth at the San Rafael Transit Center to support the District’s Call Center staff who are moving to that location. In addition, Media Access Control (MAC) addresses for ACIS addressable devices, and a new core Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN), are required at the Marin County central network location to run the new Advanced Communications and Information System (ACIS) “flat” network.

At the meeting, Mr. Haar briefly summarized the staff report, explaining that the MAC address is a machine address, and AT&T charges a small fee for each one. The ACIS network is flat because it must address each sign and bus individually, in order to show which bus is coming and to send and receive data to and from buses.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiry:

  • Director Renée inquired as to the bandwidth increase that will occur and whether a fiber-based system has been investigated. In response, Mr. Haar stated that the present system is fiber-based and will increase speed to 20 megabytes per second.

Staff recommended and the Committee concurred by motion made and seconded by Directors BORO/COCHRAN 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 execution of a Third Amendment to the Wide Area Network Services Agreement with the County of Marin, in the amount of $68,816.00, to provide additional bandwidth and network capabilities and to cover the additional costs of the remaining two years of a five-year Agreement, the term of which concludes on October 31, 2013; with the understanding that sufficient funds are available in the FY 11/12 District Division Operating Budget and that future years will be budgeted accordingly.

Action by the Board at its meeting of July 8, 2011 – Resolution
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (8): Acting and Vice Chair Pahre; Directors Arnold, Boro, Cochran, Moylan, Renée and Sobel; First Vice President Eddie
NOES (0): None
ABSENT (4): Chair Stroeh; Directors Elsbernd and Grosboll; President Reilly (Ex Officio)

   


5.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

     
6.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:35 a.m.

     

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Barbara L. Pahre, Acting and Vice Chair
Finance-Auditing Committee