CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
REGULAR BOARD MEETING
November 24, 2003
STATE COLLEGE BOROUGH BUILDING
Conference Room 241, 243 S. Allen Street
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Don Sherman, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Joseph Gilbert, Director of Transportation
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Jacqueline Sheader, Marketing Manager
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Terri Quici, Executive Assistant
Richard McCarl, State College Borough Liaison
Tim Geibel, CRPA, Transportation Planner
I. CALL TO ORDER
Vice-Chairman Don Sherman called the meeting to order at 4:07 PM.
II. PUBLIC COMMENT
III. OLD BUSINESS
A. Approval of October 27, 2003 Board Minutes
Vice-Chairman Sherman entertained a motion to approve the minutes as distributed. Joe Davidson moved to approve the minutes of the October 27, 2003 Board meeting. Gary Powers seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Spychalski joined the meeting at 4:10 PM, at which time Vice-Chairman Sherman relinquished the Chair.
October 2003 Finance Report
Judi Minor reported that there are no particular notes of interest regarding the October 2003 Finance Report. Don Sherman asked about the insurance line amount. Judi indicated it includes the settlement made to a former employee. Hugh asked Judi if she would agree that the budget is looking good so far this year since expenses are lower than budgeted. Judi responded that what is more important to note is that we receive more revenue than is budgeted, not just that our spending is lower than budgeted. Judi explained that we do, in fact, have more revenue due to additional purchase of service income and increased ridership of non-seniors. Gary Powers and Joe Davidson inquired as to what is driving the increased ridership of non-seniors. Judi didn’t have any information as to why. John Spychalski suggested it would be a good idea to collect additional data on ridership trends.
Chairman Spychalski entertained a motion to receive the Finance Report. Don Sherman moved that the October 2003 Finance Report be approved. Gary Powers seconded. The motion was carried unanimously.
B. Schlow Library Transit Center Update
Hugh indicated that there was not a lot to report. Hugh had spoken earlier in the day with Brian Sowa, aide to Representative Peterson, who indicated nothing more has happened with the Appropriations Bill. When Congress returns next week, it is hoped that they will pass the bill. Hugh indicated that the $2 million earmark will be somewhat lower than originally announced but the funding should still be sufficient to include the transit center at the library.
Hugh further stated that the COG General Forum would be meeting tonight and will vote on CATA as the tenant in the new library. If CATA is approved, the library is expected to proceed with the purchase of the pizza shop building. Hugh asked Richard McCarl if, in his opinion, there was support from the COG members for CATA’s presence. Richard said yes and that he feels it will be approved. Hugh also indicated that the decision needs to be by a unanimous vote. Richard indicated some misunderstanding by COG with regard to how many buses would be there at any one time. Hugh confirmed there would only be three and traffic should flow better with the pull-off.
Chairman Spychalski welcomed Mr. McCarl back since surgery and noted wishes for good health.
IV. NEW BUSINESS
A. Transit Signal Priority Study (TSP)
Tim Geibel presented information with regard to the study. He stated that the study corridor included State College Borough, Ferguson Township and Patton Township, and that data had been collected and analyzed for the past two years. The study showed that five bus routes would have been affected along Atherton Street, resulting in a time savings of 52 seconds per bus. When presentations had been made to the three municipalities, State College Borough and Patton Township were generally supportive of implementation, but Ferguson Township had formally voted not to proceed.
Tim offered three alternatives: (1) End the study, (2) Pursue partial implementation in Patton Township, or (3) Set the study aside until a future request is received from a municipality with interest in TSP or at a time that other technology innovations warrant the incorporation of TSP. Discussion followed regarding each of the three options.
Don Sherman moved that the Board adopt alternative #3. Richard Kipp seconded the motion. It was carried unanimously.
Joe Davidson then moved that rather than waiting further, the Board Chairman should write a letter to all three municipalities asking them to re-affirm or re-consider their commitment to the implementation of TSP. Gary Powers seconded. The motion was carried unanimously.
B. Penn State Liaison to the CATA Board
Hugh Mose stated that the state-mandated Management Performance Review (MPR) recommended that the Board create a senior level Penn State liaison position similar to the State College liaison position. Since neither the Authority’s Articles of Incorporation nor the Joint Articles of Agreement or the Bylaws include any reference to liaisons, Attorney Bob Martin has concluded that there is no legal prohibition against the Authority creating such positions.
Don Sherman inquired about the history of the State College liaison to the CATA Board. Richard McCarl indicated that he didn’t know what it is. He is the first formally appointed liaison, though. Mr. McCarl stated that he believes that liaisons can be a problem for independent boards because they begin to behave as a member of the body. He further stated that he believes they should not sit at the table but be seated with the audience and be available to answer questions. The role of the liaison should be that of a bi-directional information agent.
Discussion continued regarding current representation, the likely level of a liaison within the University hierarchy, and the current relationship with Penn State. Chairman Spychalski noted that he was still struggling with this matter and would like more time to think about it. Chairman Spychalski also wondered if there is an alternative to a liaison. Richard Kipp suggested an annual meeting to discuss items of mutual interest as an alternative to having a Board liaison.
After further discussion, Chairman Spychalski stated that no action will be taken until there is further consideration of alternatives. He directed staff to include the matter as an agenda item for the December 15, 2003 Board work session.
C. Holiday Activities
Jackie Sheader provided information on upcoming event and activities to include: the Holiday Bus, Fare-Free Shopping Day on Centre Ride, CATA Employee Holiday Party, Bellefonte Victorian Christmas Shuttle, Holiday Lights Tour, and First Night® State College Shuttle. Jackie also showed the Board members a prototype of the new CATA Cuddle Bus toy, indicating that each employee would receive one free Cuddle Bus and that everyone would have the opportunity to buy them for $8.00 each.
V. Other Business
A. General Manager’s Report
1. The U.S. House of Representatives’ Transportation Reauthorization Bill, recently passed, contains the “High Intensity Tier” that Hugh has been working on for the past two years. If the Senate version contains similar language, it could mean $500,000+ in additional annual operating assistance for CATA.
2. A recent Centre Daily Times article featured Janice Brooks, CATA employee. Hugh indicated it was a very good article for both Janice and CATA.
3. The 2003 Football Shuttle completed another successful season. Eric Bernier stated that on average, ridership increased 1%. Discussion ensued regarding alternatives for next year as to where CATA might pick up riders, other than the Hills parking lot. Eric will do a more comprehensive evaluation of alternatives for 2004.
4. The Park and Ride lot project in Old Fort project is moving forward again. Tim Geibel has been coordinator between PENNDOT and Potter Township.
5. Tim Geibel has also completed the first draft of the CATA Emergency Response Plan. Hugh indicated that staff is reviewing it and will provide feedback to Tim. A final copy should be ready to present to the Board in January 2004. Joe Davidson suggested that a section be included on Continuity of Government.
6. Joe Gilbert was asked to describe the seating plan for the new buses. Joe indicated that the new buses are 30 feet long and seat 26. The actual construction of the buses will begin in January 2004, with delivery expected in mid-May. Joe indicated there are a few minor changes to work out. He noted that these buses will have more plush seats and a softer ride than our larger buses. Joe also stated that the CNG cutaways are now out to bid; five companies have requested bid packages. The companies have until 1/15/04 to submit a bid.
7. Hugh invited the Board members to his and Janyce’s annual Holiday Open House. It will be on Sunday, December 14th beginning at 3:00 PM.
B. Service Development Report
Eric stated that there was nothing more to add to the hand-out provided in the Board packet. He went on to state that for the new bus pullouts on campus, the shelters are now up, the lighting arrived separately and still needs to be installed, and the benches should arrive sometime this week.
Eric noted some minor time changes to the Spring Ride Guide. The Spring Ride Guide will be available shortly and will take effect January 12, 2004. Changes will also be reflected on the web site.
With no further business to transact, Don Sherman moved to adjourn the meeting. Richard Kipp seconded the motion. The motion was carried and the meeting adjourned at 5:45 PM.
VII. Executive Session
The Board re-convened in Executive Session to discuss personnel matters.