CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

REGULAR BOARD MEETING MINUTES

December 3, 2001 4:00 p.m.

STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH COUNCIL OFFICE

BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:

John Spychalski, Chairman

Donald Sherman, Vice-Chairman

Richard Kipp, Treasurer

Gary Powers

 

BOARD MEMBERS ABSENT:

 Joseph Davidson

 

OTHERS PRESENT:

 Hugh Mose, General Manager

Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation

Judith Minor, Director of Administration

L. Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development

Diane Heichel, Executive Assistant

Richard McCarl, State College Borough Liaison


 

 

I. CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:01 p.m.

 

II. PUBLIC COMMENTS - CITIZEN INPUT

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

 

III. OLD BUSINESS

A. Approval of Minutes of October 22, 2001 Board Meeting

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve the minutes of the October 22, 2001 Board meeting as presented. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Receipt of the October 2001 Finance Reports

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board receive the October 2001 Finance Reports. Mr. Powers seconded the motion.

Ms. Minor reported that the budget seems to be in order. Mr. Mose noted that all budget line items seem within the range of what is expected at this time of year. The items which show a larger percentage of the year’s expenditures are the ones which are typically paid out at the beginning of the year.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Ms. Minor noted that the Paratransit income was increased this year as a result of the fare increase and the increase in ridership. The interim grant was increased as an adjusted accrual for the past three months’ history.

In response to Mr. Powers, Ms. Minor noted that the difference between revenue and expenditures on page 2 is balanced by subsidies. Ms. Minor reviewed the Finance Report and how it relates to the overall budget.

Mr. Gilbert mentioned that Driver Labor may seem to be under budget, being at 31% at 33% of the fiscal year; however, he feels this is going to catch up and probably go over the projected budget because of recent overtime.

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

 

C. Centre Line Fare Increase

Mr. Mose reminded the Board that comments regarding a fare increase were accepted at a Public Hearing held during the October 22 Board meeting. At the November 10 Work Session, the Board discussed the pros and cons of increasing the Centre Line fares. There was the consensus that fares need to be raised, but that the increase should be deferred until August 2002, when it will have been five years since the last rate hike. The Board also discussed the amount of the increase and concluded that the base fare should be raised to $1.25, a level that would both maximize revenue yields and minimize the inconvenience associated with a more-than one-dollar fare. Mr. Mose also added that staff is still looking at various approaches to the use of passes or tokens to provide a discount for commuters.

Mr. Mose stated that it is staff’s recommendation to raise fares on all Centre Line buses from $1.00 to $1.25 effective August 1, 2002.

Mr. Powers moved that the Board approve increasing the Centre Line base fare from $1.00 to $1.25 effective August 1, 2002, and direct the staff to come back to the Board in January with recommendations on pass and token pricing. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose confirmed that a fare increase was not included in the current fiscal year budget. Mr. Mose also noted that making this decision now will enable staff to better negotiate the upcoming service contracts.

Mr. Kipp also stated that he feels this gives a sufficient amount of time for staff to begin a public information campaign.

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

 

IV. NEW BUSINESS

A. 2002 Board Meeting Schedule

Mr. Mose reviewed the proposed meeting schedule for calendar year 2002 as follows:

January 28 February 25 March 25

April 22 June 3 June 24

July 22 August 26 September 23

October 28 November 25 December 16

Mr. Mose noted that all meetings will begin at 4:00 p.m. on the 4th Monday of the month with the exceptions of May and December. To avoid conflicts with Memorial Day and the Christmas Holidays, these meetings have been scheduled for June 3 and December 16 respectively. All meetings will be held in the State College Borough Conference Room 241, 243 South Allen Street, State College. Changes may occur and will be published during the year as necessary.

Once adopted, this schedule will be published in the CDT, as required by law.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board adopt the proposed 2002 Board Meeting Schedule as presented. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

B. Traffic Signal Priority System Consultant Study

Mr. Mose stated that this project has been discussed over the past few years after PENNDOT approached the Authority regarding a bus rapid transit (BRT) system. After further review, it was determined that the North Atherton corridor would not be a good candidate for BRT; however, it may be a potentially good area for a traffic signal priority system. In conjunction with the Centre Regional Planning Agency (CRPA), CATA has embarked on an evaluation of the feasibility of a transit-activated traffic signal priority system in the North Atherton corridor.

Mr. Tobin, CRPA Transit Planner, reviewed the study process, noting that a presentation would be brought before the Board in the next few months. In response to Mr. Powers and Mr. Sherman, Mr. Tobin briefly explained how this type of system operates and how it would work with the system the fire company will be using. Mr. Mose noted that SEPTA is the only transit authority in Pennsylvania that is working on such a system, but similar systems have been successfully used on the West Coast. Mr. Mose reviewed more intricate details of the system and the issues which need to be considered. If the study shows that this will be a feasible project, it will be funded by PENNDOT with no additional local share required.

In response to Mr. Sherman, Mr. Mose noted that the CATA Board of Directors, Council of Governments and PENNDOT will all need to agree before proceeding.

Mr. Tobin also reported that a Request for Proposals for consultant assistance resulted in four proposals, which were evaluated by the project steering committee. After considerable discussion, the Committee determined that the proposal offered by McCormick Taylor and Associates, with local offices at the Penn State Innovation Park, in partnership with Innovative Transportation Concepts, Inc. of Wilmington, DE, and Avail Technologies of State College, offered the best combination of technical expertise and local knowledge.

Mr. Sherman moved that the Board authorize the General Manager to execute a contract with McCormick Taylor and Associates in an amount not to exceed $35,000, for the "before" evaluation of traffic signal priority systems in the North Atherton corridor. Mr. Powers seconded the motion. Chairman Spychalski noted his approval of the program and stated that he believes the Board will do whatever they can to enhance the efficiency of transit vehicles. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

In response to Mr. McCarl’s suggestion, Mr. Tobin noted that the consulting firms will make a presentation to the COG General Forum.

 

C. December Board Meeting

Mr. Mose noted that since the regular December Board meeting falls on Christmas Eve, it was necessary to change the meeting date to December 17. However, since there are no specific agenda items mandating a December Board meeting, staff recommends canceling the regular December meeting.

Mr. Kipp moved that the Board approve canceling the December meeting due to a lack of agenda items. Mr. Sherman seconded the motion. There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski called for a vote and the motion passed unanimously.

 

V. OTHER BUSINESS

A. General Manager's Report

Mr. Mose noted that his every-other-week report captured most of the recent activities.

Mr. Mose reported on the following items:

Operations/Administration Area Expansion Update: Mr. Gilbert and Mr. Mose reviewed the proposed building plans for the facility expansion, displaying the most recent drawings. Mr. Mose noted that presently it looks like the project should stay within budget.

Mr. Mose also reported that the bus capital earmark contained in the Transportation Appropriations Bill is only at half the amount requested and may only be used toward the purchase of CNG buses; therefore, there will be no federal monies allowed for this construction project. Chairman Spychalski noted that the Board will need to consider what equipment should be purchased now that the amount of the earmark is known. Mr. Mose suggested that the earmark be used toward the purchase of six the CNG New Flyer buses currently in process, then use half of the federal money from last year toward the remainder of the purchase price. Ms. Minor cautioned that the contract with New Flyer may not be signed until the new earmark is officially released.

Mr. Mose added that last year, when CATA only received half of the requested amount, we were encouraged to come back with a request for the other half this year. Now that only half of that request was granted, perhaps we will be able to go back and request the other half next year.

School Bus Accident: Mr. Mose reported that there was a fatal accident this morning involving a school bus. There were no details available prior to the meeting, but the news reports were not specifying what kind of bus was involved.

B. Service Development Report

Mr. Bernier asked the Board to review the report included in their Board packets. Mr. Bernier also mentioned that the revised cover letter for the Marketing Plan, also included in the Board packets, reflects the Board’s comments from last month’s Board meeting. Mr. Bernier noted that the budget cuts have prompted staff to participate in more labor intensive marketing, rather than purchased media advertising, which he feels is a much better way to reach the public.

Mr. Sherman noted that the Football Shuttle has really turned into a "cash cow." Mr. Bernier and Mr. Gilbert reviewed the shuttle service and the problem with pedestrians crossing in the middle of University Drive, causing problems at the loading zone. There was also further discussion of the parking at Hills Plaza and possible consideration of a shuttle from the North Atherton corridor.

 

VI. ADJOURNMENT

There being no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting to Executive Session at 5:04 p.m. to discuss personnel issues.

 

VII. EXECUTIVE SESSION

The Executive Session was adjourned at 5:45 p.m.