Area Transportation Authority
Board Work Session Minutes
January 11, 2005 4:00 PM CATA Conference Room
2081 W. Whitehall Road, State College, PA
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT:
John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judi Minor, Director of Administration
Joe Gilbert, Director of Transportation
Eric Bernier, Director of Service Development
Terri Quici, Executive Assistant
I. Call To Order
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:10 PM to discuss the Manager’s Mid-Year Review and the 2005/06 Draft Budget.
II. Mid-Year Review
Hugh Mose began by reporting on the mid-year review that had been distributed prior to the meeting. He focused on the last paragraph of his report in which he summarized the past six months at CATA, and some unforeseeable and unusual circumstances. Mr. Mose, referring to staff, stated that “their ability to persevere in the face of some very difficult circumstances equals the significance of their accomplishment of the Board’s goals”.
Gary Powers asked for an update on the Transit Signal Priority (TSP) project. Hugh Mose reported that the person handling that project at PENNDOT is no longer there and the position has not been filled, and as a result the project is dormant.
Chairman Spychalski asked Mr. Mose for an update on local funding. Mr. Mose reported that he had a conversation with Borough officials regarding a program similar to the PSU Ride For Five program. Mr. Mose has also asked if the State College Borough could do something for transit services using the new $52 EMST tax. Mr. Fountaine has asked Mr. Mose to provide information for a Borough Transit Pass, which the Borough would purchase and give to borough residents at some reduced rate.
III. Penn State University Activities
Mr. Mose next reported on activity with Penn State University. Mr. Mose stated that PSU had unveiled a revised plan for a West Campus parking structure, which will mean more people parking in low-cost peripheral parking and taking ridership from Centre Line. Mr. Mose also reported on Penn State’s plans to build a Transit Center on campus at Pattee Library. and their apparent disinterest in having CATA involved in the planning. Mr. Mose announced that it is time to renew the contract with PSU and he hopes to negotiate another 3-year agreement. Some areas of discussion that Mr. Mose is suggesting are the LOOP/LINK, free-fare zone, P Route, and payment based on ridership versus level of service provided. Mr. Mose also noted that it was agreed last year that CATA leadership would meet with PSU administration regarding transit issues. Mr. Mose indicated that he would like to pursue another meeting with Gary Schultz, Tom Gibson and Teresa Davis. The Board concurred
IV. Critical Activities
Mr. Mose provided a handout showing Critical Activities that are ongoing at CATA in areas of Human Resources, Funding, Capital projects, transportation, and other initiatives.
V. Budget Issues
Mr. Mose next discussed items of interest regarding the remainder of FY 2004/05 and then projections for FY 2005/06.
Mr. Mose indicated that if there were no solution to transit funding in Harrisburg, CATA would need to address a deficit of approximately $500,000 in the coming fiscal year.
Mr. Mose introduced possible solutions that include Revenue Enhancements, Service Reductions, and Other Cost Savings. Revenue Enhancements discussed include fare increases, apartment and Penn State contract increases, increased contributions by municipalities, and exterior advertising. Service Reductions discussed may affect evening and weekend service, neighborhood services (residential areas), student corridor services and Centre Ride. Other Cost Savings would include staff reductions.
Board members and staff discussed factors that are affecting the budget such as heat, lights, overtime wages, health insurance costs and CNG prices. Board members also discussed the pros and cons of passing increased costs to the community and how that would affect ridership. There was also discussion regarding the decline in ridership and possible service adjustments, as well as fare alternatives such as an extra charge to ride nights and weekends.
Richard Kipp asked about exterior advertising and whether it could be started and then stopped once funding was more abundant. Eric Bernier stated that discontinuing exterior bus advertising is something he felt the community would not allow once it got started. Mr. Bernier stated that there are ways, however, to ease into exterior advertising by starting with “accepted” advertisers such as medical facilities and banks.
Mr. Mose also discussed how we currently do not force Centre Ride participants to use Centre Line services now that every bus is wheelchair accessible, and how this is a costly service to provide. Judi Minor suggested that staff look at tailoring Centre Ride service to certain areas and attempt to get those who can ride Centre Line to do so.
Mr. Mose stated that the staff will work on recommendations based on discussions in this meeting and will hopefully have something to present to the Board before the Public Hearing in February.
The meeting adjourned at 6:05 PM after which the Board of Directors reconvened in Executive Session to discuss personnel issues.