CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES

April 23, 2001

4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL CHAMBERS


BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

John Spychalski, Chairman

Donald Sherman, Vice-Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Joseph Davidson

Gary Powers

OTHERS PRESENT:

Hugh Mose, General Manager

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Maureen Hartsock, Operations Supervisor

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, Borough Liaison


I. CALL TO ORDER

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




II. PUBLIC COMMENT

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

III. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of March 26, 2001 Board Meeting

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board approve the minutes of the March 26, 2001 Board meeting. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Receipt of the March 2001 Finance Reports

Mr. Powers moved that the Board receive the March 2001 Finance Reports. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor noted that nothing is different from last month.

Mr. Mose reviewed the ridership numbers compared to this time last year, noting that the combined total for both Centre Line and LOOPs is up 13.6%.

In response to Mr. Powers, Ms. Minor noted that the present price for CNG is significantly lower than it was during the winter months, but it is still much higher than last year. Ms. Minor continued to review the present contract with the provider and her expectation is that the cost will decrease over the next few months. May's price is locked in at $5.04 per mcf. In response to Mr. McCarl, Ms. Minor noted that $5.04 per mcf is equivalent to about $.84 per gallon of diesel fuel. There was further discussion on the use of CNG and BTU value.

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

 

C. FY 2001/02 Budget Update

Mr. Mose reported that following the March Board meeting, the staff finalized the Budget document, and two weeks ago Chairman Spychalski and he presented the DRAFT Budget to the COG Finance Committee. As usual, members of the Committee had questions relating to the allocation formula, but there were virtually no concerns regarding the line-items. The one issue that engendered the most discussion was the subject of park-and-ride lots, with several of the local elected officials expressing strong interest in CATA committing resources to build and maintain such lots, as well as provide bus service to them.

Mr. Mose also noted that an error was discovered in the COG Format Budget Summary. These pages have been corrected and reprinted on canary stock, and are included in the Board packets to be inserted in each of the Board's budget document.

In response to Mr. Kipp, Mr. Mose noted that there is possibly a 50/50 chance that the Authority will receive more than the projected state money. If this should happen, the local shares would increase to meet the required match.

No Board action was required.


D. Procurement of Architectural/Engineering Services

Mr. Mose briefly summarized the memo included in the Board packets which described the selection process and offered background on the recommended action. He stated that it was the unanimous choice of the committee to recommend that the Board execute a contract with Gannett-Fleming, Inc. to provide the architectural/engineering services for the expansion of the administration and operations offices. Mr. Mose also reported that Gannett-Fleming's proposal was higher priced than the others, but the committee still feels this would be the best firm for this project. Mr. Mose went on to review the committee's choice to proceed with a Construction Management agreement with Alexander Constructors, rather than a conventional Design/Bid/Build process.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to execute a contract with Gannett-Fleming, Inc. in an amount not to exceed $135,593, for architectural/engineering services for the expansion of the operations and administration areas of CATA's Cato Park facility. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose and Ms. Minor outlined how the Construction Management proposal would differ in price from the Design/Bid/Build process. The Construction Management process would still require that all construction companies be selected by low bid. This process would also require less time on the project by the architect.

Ms. Minor noted that Alexander Constructors is a construction firm, but they would not be doing the actual construction. They would be in charge of selecting the construction contractors and supervising the work. Mr. Mose explained that Alexander Constructors would be an agent for CATA; they would hire the contractors and be responsible for overseeing the entire project. With this degree of control, they would be able to guarantee a maximum price. The savings in CATA staff time would be considerable as well.

In response to Mr. Davidson, Mr. Mose noted that CATA would only have one contract with Alexander Constructors, rather than different contracts with all the subcontractors. The garage expansion actually involved four different contracts and took up a great deal of staff time. Ms. Minor reviewed the differences and the need to have an on-site supervisor, which is why a Construction Management contract would work much better. Ms. Minor also added that Gannett-Fleming has provided sufficient references. Mr. Mose reviewed a projected timetable, adding that they would be able to have the design completed by the end of the year and have the contractors ready to begin by next spring.

In response to Mr. McCarl, Mr. Mose noted that the total cost is expected to be about $800,000 in addition to the $135,593 for the architectural services. There was further discussion on the bid process and Alexander Constructors and CATA's joint decisions regarding the subcontractors.

Mr. Mose reviewed the entire process from design selection, how the price is based on the final design, noting that the price cannot go higher than the proposal, but if the price falls lower than the proposed price, the money would either go into additional amenities or back to CATA.

Mr. Davidson asked for further information on the Construction Management process. Mr. Mose noted that he expects, in the next month or two months, staff would be ready to make a recommendation that the Board approve the Construction Management contract with Alexander Constructors. Mr. Mose offered to have representatives from Alexander Constructors speak to the Board to answer any concerns about the process.

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

 

E. Campus/Downtown Free-Fare Zone

Mr. Mose reported that the Authority has been running the campus free-fare zone ever since the end of Spring Break, so far without any difficulties. It seems to have taken riders a longer time to understand the system than anticipated. Ms. Hartsock noted that the drivers on the LOOPs and Centre Line buses work well together to cover the rider overloads.

Mr. Mose noted that he feels a decision needs to be made on what to do over the summer. During the summer neither the Town LOOP nor the Campus LOOP operates, although the University does pay CATA to operate a Summer LINK, which runs east and west across the campus. The absence of the LOOPs means that there will be little, if any, free-fare service connecting the downtown with the campus, and specifically the park-and-ride lot behind the Jordan Center. Continuing the free-fare zone over the summer would help fill that gap.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose stated that the Centre Line buses would not use the same routing as the Summer LINK. He reviewed the routing and planned road construction projects on campus during the summer.

Mr. Kipp stated that he feels continuing the free-fare zone would back up the University's desire to continue the free-fare zone. Mr. Powers stated that continuing the service would give continuity to the drivers, as well as the riders.

Mr. McCarl noted that the State College Borough Council has discussed the construction on Curtin Road and the intersection at Atherton Street.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board act to extend the free-fare zone on the H, P, SP and M Routes until August 17. Mr. Kipp seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

IV. NEW BUSINESS

A. Resolution for Execution of Grant Agreements

Ms. Minor noted that this blanket resolution is required every three years, even though each individual resolution is brought before the Board as they come up.

Mr. Powers moved that the Board adopt the enclosed resolution authorizing the filing of the FY 2001/02 State Operating Assistance grant application. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.


B. 2001/02 Shared Ride Grant Application

Ms. Minor outlined the program and explained that this is one of the grants covered by the blanket resolution just adopted by the Board. Staff has prepared the annual application to participate in the state's Shared Ride program, which provides lottery funds to partially reimburse costs associated with shared ride paratransit service for senior citizens over the age of 65. This service is provided through the CENTRE RIDE program under a subcontract with Handy Delivery, Inc.

Under this program, senior citizens pay 15% of the general public fare established under the grant. As discussed, the current system-wide fare of $1.15 would increase to $1.25 in the proposed FY 2001/02 Budget. Lottery-based reimbursement provides the remaining 85% of the full fare, up to the state-established limit for each trip. The grant amount is based on estimated senior citizen ridership for FY 01/02, but is subject to adjustment by PennDOT both prior to approval and during the fiscal year, depending on legislative authorization levels, actual statewide lottery receipts, and ridership during the year.

Mr. Powers moved that the Board authorize the filing and execution of the FY 2001/02 Shared Ride Grant Application. Mr. Davidson seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

.

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. Resolution Authorizing the filing of an application for a State Operating Assistance Grant

Ms. Minor noted that this resolution authorizes the filing of the State Operating Assistance grant. Since the grant package did not come in until Friday, it was too late to be included with the Board packets. The standard Operating Assistance Grant from PennDOT for $905,600 is included in the budget. The local share of $275,515 is a portion of the local share requested, with other pieces going to other grants. This grant is paid in four quarterly payments, and begins as soon as the application is submitted.

Mr. Davidson moved that the Board adopt the resolution authorizing the filing of an application for a state grant. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

B. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose reported on the potential impact of the Bush Administration budget on transportation. Although the budget for transportation was increased by 7.8%, it includes the recommendation that Congress consider scaling back the current earmark process which has benefitted CATA in the past. Mr. Mose also noted that federal funding for capital projects may be cut from 80% to 50%.

Mr. Spychalski recommended that the Authority remain vigilant about that provision. In our relations with external stakeholders, we need to maintain a position of advocating the 80% federal share of capital funding. There was further discussion on the guaranteed 7.8% increase in federal funding in the coming year. The discretionary funding which has been designated by earmarks would be affected by these changes. Mr. Mose noted that the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) lobbies on behalf of transit in Washington, D.C.

Mr. Mose reported that today was the first day for two programs. The van service from Mifflin County began today, with four riders on the morning runs. It was also the first day of the new State College Borough employees' program, with at least two people taking advantage of the free bus service.

VI. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 5:14 p.m.