CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES
August 28, 2000
4:00 p.m.
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

Robert Link, Chairman

John Spychalski, Vice-Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

Donald Sherman

OTHERS PRESENT:

Hugh Mose, General Manager

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, Borough Liaison


I. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Link called the meeting to order at 4:07 p.m.

 

II. PUBLIC COMMENTS - CITIZEN INPUT

Chairman Link called for comments or input from the general public. No public comments were presented.


III. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of July 26, 1999 Board Meeting

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board approve the minutes of the June 26, 2000 Board meeting. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Link called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

B. Receipt of the June and July 2000 Finance Reports

Chairman Link noted that the Finance Reports are delayed pending completion of the annual audit.


IV. NEW BUSINESS

A. Penn State University Transportation Planning

Mr. Mose referred to the memo included in the Board packets which presented the University's invitation for CATA to participate in the development of PSU's Campus Transportation Plan. Mr. Mose noted that Penn State would like the Authority to be a member of the Oversight Committee, as well as make a financial contribution to the development of this plan. Mr. Mose added that it is his opinion that this would be an important role for CATA and would insure input into PSU's Master Plan.

Mr. Spychalski moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to represent CATA on the University Park Master Plan Transportation Committee, and that a maximum of $10,000 be committed to support the project. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose stated that the Authority's Strategic Plan will probably be considered in the development of Penn State's Master Plan. Mr. Davidson noted that he is not in favor of "buying a seat at the table" and feels that CATA, as the regional transit provider, should have influence in the process without financially supporting the plan. In response, Mr. Mose agreed that CATA would have some influence in the process without the financial backing, but as a partner in the University's transportation efforts, he is still in favor of making some kind of financial contribution. In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose referred to the memo which lists the other entities who will be participating on this Oversight Committee.

Mr. McCarl observed that this is a program which does not involve any of the other municipalities or elected officials. The Borough of State College is also preparing to do a major transportation plan. Mr. Mose noted that he serves on various committees and he has seen both sides and realizes that both the University and the Borough consultants will have to work together, yet the main efforts may have different goals.

There was further discussion on CATA's participation on the Oversight Committee and whether or not CATA should financially support their study. Mr. Spychalski asked what proportion of the study would be directed at transit, adding that he would not be interested in paying a percentage which would support a portion of the study other than public transit. Mr. Mose emphasized that part of the Transportation Plan will be to consider road closures, including Shortlidge and Curtin Roads. Any road closures on campus could have a direct impact on CATA's transit routes.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that without the financial support, the Authority's role would probably be equal to that of the CRPA representatives.

Mr. Spychalski withdrew his original motion, noting that he would prefer that Mr. Mose go back to the University for a clearer picture of how much of the $150,000 would be directly related to transit. Mr. Kipp agreed to withdraw his second of the original motion. In the absence of a formal motion, Mr. Mose will revisit the issue of the financial contribution with the University. Mr. Spychalski noted there have been discussions in the past regarding the possibility of the "transit way" concept; road closed to automobiles but open to transit vehicles or emergency vehicles. Perhaps the Board would be interested in this concept to maintain the access that is required to maximize the value of the transit system's service to both the University and our riders.

B. Natural Gas Supplier Contract

Mr. Mose reported that earlier this summer the staff solicited proposals for the supply of natural gas for the coming year. Three proposals were received, and interviews were conducted with all three proposers. Equitable Energy, LLC was selected as the firm which best met CATA's needs - they had the best proposal technically, they appear to give the best assurance of uninterrupted supply, and they quoted the lowest price. The cost for Equitable's service will be $0.563 per decatherm, which will be added to the NYMEX futures price at the time we lock into either a month-to-month or annual contract.

Because the July Board meeting was cancelled, Mr. Mose notified the Board of the staff's determination of Equitable as the apparent successful proposer, and hearing no objections, staff proceeded to execute a contract.

Mr. Mose reviewed the change from Columbia Energy to UGI. In response to Chairman Link, Ms. Minor noted that there is an option to extend the contract for up to three years. Ms. Minor reviewed the difference in the contract with the supplier, locking into a price either on a month-to-month basis or yearly, and banking natural gas at the current price to use when the price goes up. There was further discussion on the entire process of fuel purchasing and transporting.

In response to Chairman Link, Ms. Minor noted that both CNG and Diesel prices are high right now, but she feels that CNG is still more economical.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve the selection of Equitable Energy, LLC as CATA's supplier of natural gas for the twelve month period beginning October 1, 2000. Mr. Spychalski seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Link called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

C. Park & Ride Program - Borough of State College

Mr. Mose reviewed a copy of a letter he recently wrote to Peter Marshall, State College Borough Manager, concerning the $28,322 that remains unpaid from the amount that the Borough invested in the construction of the original Park & Ride lot, and which CATA has been trying unsuccessfully to repay from the proceeds of the Park-and-Ride program. Mr. Mose reviewed the history of the original agreement.

According to Mr. Marshall, the Borough will not, as Mr. Mose had hoped, simply write off the $28,322 as uncollectible. Instead, they would like CATA to provide (or allow the Borough to provide) free bus passes to all Borough employees. Mr. Mose noted that he has also offered to have CATA reduce the price of a Park-and-Ride permit and help the Downtown State College Partnership promote the program.

Although the Authority could probably leave the $28,322 "on the books" indefinitely, Mr. Mose expressed his preference to have the Authority take advantage of the resurgence of interest in park-and-ride to get it expunged. He also added that it would be better if by so doing CATA could eliminate some of the barriers to greater utilization of the Park-and-Ride program, and establish a model of employer-provided bus passes.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to negotiate with the Borough of State College a "forgiveness" of the amount remaining unpaid from the construction of the original park-and-ride lot, with the understanding that in exchange the Borough will be allowed to offer its employees free bus passes. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion.

Mr. Spychalski raised the issue of a time limitation and how the other municipalities' employees may view this, not knowing the history behind this decision. Mr. Mose stated that this could be an opportunity to open the idea to other municipalities and private employers.

There being no further discussion, Chairman Link called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

D. Regional Commuter Bus Service - Vehicle Purchase

Mr. Mose referred to the memo enclosed in the Board packets that outlined some of the issues relating to possible PennDOT financial assistance for regional commuter bus service, and discussed an opportunity to request 100% bond funding for the purchase of one or more vehicles to provide such service. This funding would not require a local match and therefore would not be in violation of CATA's Articles of Agreement which prohibits local tax support from being used for service outside of the local service area.

In response to Mr. Spychalski, Ms. Minor explained the state bond funding procedure, noting that the Authority would not be liable for these bonds.

Mr. Spychalski moved that the Board authorize the staff to request 100% bond funding for buses that could be used in regional commuter bus service. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Link called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

E. September Board Meeting

Mr. Mose noted that each year, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) holds their annual conference sometime in the late summer or early fall. Judi Minor and Mr. Mose are registered to attend this year's conference the week of September 25, in San Francisco. Unfortunately, this year the conference is in conflict with the September Board meeting. Obviously the Board meeting could be held in their absence, but with the Board's concurrence, Mr. Mose suggested to either postpone the September Board meeting until Monday, October 2, or in the absence of urgent business, cancel the September meeting for a lack of agenda items.

Mr. Spychalski moved that the Board cancel the September 25, 2000 Board meeting and, at the discretion of the General Manager, schedule a special meeting if urgent business should make it necessary. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Link called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose noted that he will be on vacation for a few days beginning Wednesday, August 30 through September 4.

Mr. Mose reported that the flooring in the facility expansion will be painted after the addition is completed.

With the recent increase in service, Operations reports that they still need to hire a few more drivers.

Mr. Mose noted that there has been no further word from Houston on the purchase of their used buses.

In response to Chairman Link, Mr. Mose noted that the GM's are being used during full service, along with the Gillig's.

Mr. Mose noted that although the work on the New Flyers will be completed earlier than scheduled in the Canadian plant, there is a backlog in Minnesota and the buses probably will not be delivered until the end of the year.

Mr. Mose turned the Board's attention to the new RideShare posters displayed on the bulletin board which will be used to promote the program at corporations. Ms. Heichel reported that there are now 172 participants with another 162 PSU survey responses requesting RideShare registration ready to be processed.

Mr. Mose noted that the system carried over 30,000 passengers the past Friday; with 18,000 on the LOOPs and more than 12,000 using Centre Line. Over half of the Centre Line riders were traveling on apartment passes and less than 10% paying cash.

 

VI. ADJOURNMENT

Mr. Spychalski moved for adjournment. Chairman Link adjourned the meeting at 5:19 p.m.