April 27, 2012

 

REPORT OF THE GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS
AND PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE/
COMMITTEE OF THE WHOLE

 

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

 

A meeting of the Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee/Committee of the Whole (Committee) was held in the Board Room, Administration Building, Toll Plaza, San Francisco, CA, on Friday, April 27, 2012, at 10:03 a.m., Chair Cochran presiding.

Committee Members Present (8): Chair Cochran; Vice Chair Campos; Directors Eddie, Moylan, Renée, Sears and Snyder; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee Members Absent (1): Director Mar
Other Directors Present (10): Directors Arnold, Chu, Elsbernd, Fredericks, Grosboll, Pahre, Rabbitt, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault

Committee of the Whole Members Present (18): Directors Arnold, Campos, Chu, Cochran, Elsbernd, Fredericks, Moylan, Pahre, Rabbitt, Renée, Sears, Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; Second Vice President Grosboll, First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
Committee of the Whole Members Absent (1): Director Mar

Staff Present: General Manager Denis Mulligan; Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire; District Engineer Ewa Bauer; Secretary of the District Janet Tarantino; Attorney David Miller; Attorney Jerrold Schaefer; Attorney Molly Kaban; Attorney Madeline Chun; Deputy General Manager/Bridge Division Kary Witt; Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James Swindler; Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Kellee Hopper; Assistant Clerk of the Board Lona Franklin

Visitors Present: None

   
1.

Approve Actions Relative to the Execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Sunrise Wireless, Inc., for Wireless Internet Services Onboard Golden Gate Ferries and at the Ferry Terminals

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Ferry Transit Division James Swindler, Deputy General Manager/Administration and Development Kellee Hopper, Auditor-Controller Joseph Wire and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to approve actions relative to the execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Sunrise Wireless, Inc. (Sunrise), for wireless internet services onboard Golden Gate Ferries and at the ferry terminals.

The staff report stated that, on July 7, 2009, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) advertised Request for Proposals (RFP) No. 2010-FT-6, Wireless Internet Services Onboard Golden Gate Ferries, to provide a wireless system that would allow the ferry passengers to enjoy internet access while traveling onboard District ferries. The service was required to be at no cost to the District, with highly reliable technology. Three proposals were received by the due date of August 25, 2009, from Nomad Digital Limited, Sunrise, and Clear Wireless LLC (Clear), with Clear being the only firm that submitted a proposal at no cost to the District.

Clear’s test results onboard the ferries were unsuccessful and its technology subcontractor rescinded its offer to provide the onboard equipment. Clear and the District were unable to enter into an agreement, and no contract was awarded. After the RFP process terminated, the District was approached by two firms, Internet Connectivity Group and Sunrise, to test their systems onboard the ferries, with the goal of eventually providing wireless internet service to the District and, subsequently, tests were conducted onboard the ferries by both firms.

Following completion of both tests and further research by District staff, it was determined that the technology proposed by Sunrise was the only technology that the District found capable of providing highly reliable service onboard its ferryboats. Sunrise submitted a comprehensive proposal to provide, on a pilot basis, all services necessary for uninterrupted bandwidth, to enable ferry passengers to connect to the internet while onboard the ferries or at the terminals, at a total negotiated price of $264,518.00.

Included in the total cost are the following items:

   
 
Description
Cost
Annual Fee (includes monthly wireless bandwidth cost and monthly equipment monitoring, diagnostics and maintenance cost)
$72,240.00
Vessel Equipment and Installation
$124,933.00
Terminal Support Equipment and Installation
$54,646.00
Session Persistence Option Equipment and Installation
$12,699.00
TOTAL
$264,518.00
   
  The District anticipates that advertising revenue will partially offset the cost, and will issue an RFP for professional services to provide for the selling and the managing of the associated advertising.

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, Mr. Swindler briefly summarized the staff report, stating that only a single proposal was received when the District attempted to locate a company to provide wireless internet service onboard Golden Gate Ferries and at ferry terminals, at no cost to the District. After experimenting with the technology that was offered, staff determined that this solution would not be adequate to provide reliable wireless internet services onboard the ferries, and the RFP process was terminated.

Thereafter, the District was approached by other companies to test their technology. After testing, it was determined that Sunrise had superior technology and they demonstrated that a consistent connection could be provided across the Bay. He noted that Sunrise designed the internet system now in use on Washington State ferries, where the service has proved highly successful.

He reported that it is hoped that funds received as a result of advertising will offset the cost of providing the service. The initial contract would be for a three-year period.

Mr. Wire reported that a correction is required to the cost figures provided in the staff report. He stated that the Contract amount is $264,518.00, which includes the annual fee for the first year. In order to pay the vendor for the following two years, it will be necessary to approve those costs as well, even though the funds will not be budgeted for this purpose until future fiscal years. The total, including the annual fee for all three years, is $408,998.00.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiries:

  • Director Snyder inquired as to whether Washington State ferries receive their wireless internet services at no charge from Sunrise. Mr. Swindler responded in the negative. Mr. Mulligan added that the District’s broad goal is to improve the quality of the rider’s experience on both buses and ferries and, thereby, to increase ridership.
  • Director Theriault inquired as to the expected lifespan of the current equipment. In response, Mr. Swindler stated that, based upon discussions, the expected lifespan is approximately five to six years.
  • Director Cochran inquired as to whether the wireless service will be 4G. In response, Mr. Swindler indicated that the equipment will have 4G capability, but it is currently uncertain as to whether 4G service will be available in the service area.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee/Committee of the Whole recommends that the Board of Directors approve actions relative to the execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Sunrise Wireless, Inc., for wireless internet services onboard Golden Gate Ferries and at the Ferry Terminals, as follows:

   
  a. Authorize execution of a Professional Services Agreement with Sunrise Wireless, Inc., Cupertino, CA, to furnish and install equipment, as well as to provide the necessary services for wireless internet services onboard Golden Gate ferries and at the ferry terminals, at a total cost of $408,998.00, for a three-year period, with two one-year options to be exercised at the discretion of the General Manager or his designee;
  b. Establish a new Project in the Ferry Transit Division Capital Budget in the amount of $264,518.00, to be 100% District funded; and,
  c. Approve a budget increase in the FY 11/12 Ferry Transit Division Capital Budget, in the amount of $264,518.00; with the understanding that funds will be included in the Ferry Transit Division Operating Budget in subsequent years to cover the cost of the annual fee;
     
  as concurred with by the Finance-Auditing Committee/Committee of the Whole at its meeting of April 27, 2012.

Action by the Board at its meeting of April 27, 2012
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR

AYES (18): Chair Cochran; Directors Arnold, Campos, Chu, Elsbernd, Fredericks, Moylan, Pahre, Rabbitt, Renée, Sears, Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; Second Vice President Grosboll, First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
NOES (0): None

     
2. Approve Support of AB 1706

In a memorandum to Committee, Deputy General Manager/Bus Transit Division Teri Mantony and General Manager Denis Mulligan reported on staff’s recommendation to send an official letter of support for Assembly Bill 1706 (AB 1706) which authorizes an analysis of the state weight limit for public transit buses, by creating a task force that will report to the legislature on recommendations to address weight limits in the future.

The staff report stated that state law currently mandates that the weight on any single axle of a transit bus may not exceed 20,500 pounds. Due to numerous state and federal mandates, including requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and mandated emissions reduction equipment, some transit buses may often exceed the maximum allowed weight, especially when carrying significant passenger loads, as is the mission of Golden Gate Transit.

The staff report further stated that some transit systems have been cited recently by local police departments for violating the Vehicle Code by being over the maximum allowed weight. Relying on the current procedures in state law for overweight vehicles, such as paying fines resulting from citations, paying fees, or administering thousands of annual permits on a city-by-city basis, would prove costly and time-consuming for transit agencies and other local government agencies statewide, and would fail to solve the underlying problem of an outdated Vehicle Code which was created more than thirty-five years ago and which cannot address current operating environments, or legal and regulatory requirements for public transit.

The staff report also provided a list of methods that will be employed, as follows:

  • AB 1706, which is to take effect January 1, 2013, would create a task force for the purpose of preparing a report which will:
    • Make recommendations regarding any changes that should be made to current axle weight limits;
    • Make recommendations relative to the design and construction of highways and local streets and roads, taking into account the need to support a sustainable transportation network including adequate public transportation service by bus, and federal and state requirements that affect the weight of transit vehicles;
    • Compare and analyze the costs of the pavement wear caused by transit buses with the costs of the pavement wear caused by other vehicles such as trucks or vehicles such as municipal garbage trucks or fire engines; and,
    • Consider past and ongoing efforts at the Federal level to address this issue, including transit bus weight exemptions contained in the last federal surface transportation authorization bill.

The staff report stated that the task force, made up of representatives from the transit industry, cities and counties, the state, and law enforcement, would be required to submit the report by January 1, 2015. Between January 1, 2013 and January 1, 2016, transit systems would be allowed to run their current buses, but would not be allowed to procure buses that are heavier than those in their current fleet. If a transit system must procure a new type of bus not currently being run, it would not be prohibited from doing so provided that oversight, through a public hearing, is provided.

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, Mr. Mulligan reported that many buses exceed California Vehicle Code requirements for axle weight. Some municipalities have started ticketing transit operators, with the understanding that citations would be dismissed once the municipality pays a fee. While the method enhances funds in California’s budget, it does not enhance the ability of agencies to provide high quality public transportation. He added that AB 1706 would increase the allowed weight for public transportation vehicles, and the bill is supported by many municipalities.

Discussion ensued, including the following inquiries and comment:

  • Director Renée inquired as to whether the District, in view of the wear and tear to pavements from buses, and the fact that other heavy vehicles, such as waste haulers, are required to pay fees to keep roadways in good repair, would similarly be subject to payment of fees to mitigate roadway wear and tear. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the District does not expect to be subject to such fees. He noted that the weight of a bus is less than the weight of a waste hauler truck, for example. AB 1706 will apply only to public transit vehicles, and will not affect waste haulers or other commercial trucking.
  • Director Arnold inquired as to the name of the author of the Bill. In response, Mr. Mulligan stated that the Bill was introduced by Assemblyman Michael Eng (Democrat – Monterey Park) from California’s 49th Assembly District.
  • Director Fredericks commented that she intends to support this action, adding that the subject had been brought forward during a League of California Cities meeting. She stated that personnel of the Town of Tiburon’s Public Works Department had pointed out that buses cause noticeable damage that can be clearly seen on areas of roadway where buses pull out from stops. She concluded by stating that she understood that the cities were discussing cost recovery. In response, Director Cochran stated that the District’s support is for a task force to study the issue. Attorney Miller added that fines are to be suspended during the period of study.

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

RECOMMENDATION

The Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee/Committee of the Whole recommends that the Board of Directors approve support of California State Assembly Bill No. 1706, which authorizes an analysis of the state weight limit for public transit buses by creating a task force to report to the legislature regarding recommendations for addressing such weight limits in the future.

Action by the Board at its meeting of April 27, 2012
NON-CONSENT CALENDAR


AYES (18): Chair Cochran; Directors Arnold, Campos, Chu, Elsbernd, Fredericks, Moylan, Pahre, Rabbitt, Renée, Sears, Snyder, Sobel, Stroeh and Theriault; Second Vice President Grosboll, First Vice President Eddie; President Reilly (Ex Officio)
NOES (0): None

   
3.

Public Comment

There was no public comment.

   
4.

Adjournment

All business having been concluded, the meeting was adjourned at 10:14 a.m.

   

 

Respectfully submitted,

s/ Gerald D. Cochran, Chair
Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee