Meeting Minutes

January 14, 2009




Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Bradley Birge, City of Saratoga Springs

Wayne Bonesteel, representing Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Frank Commisso, Albany Port Commission

Kevin Corcoran, Town of Glenville

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Rocky Ferraro, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Robert Hansen, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

David Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee

Joe LaCivita, Town of Colonie

Barbara McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Rosemary Nichols, City of Watervliet

Andrea Poley, City of Troy

Joe Rich, Federal Highway Administration

Dede Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, representing Bill Rinaldi, NYS Thruway Authority

Bernie Sisson, City of Schenectady

Michael Valentine, Saratoga County

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

Kristina Younger, Capital District Transportation Authority (Vice-Chair)




Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Frank Bonafide, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Jennifer Ceponis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jim Digioia, NYS Office of General Services

Shelly Johnston, Creighton Manning

Michael McGlynn, Interested Citizen, City of Watervliet

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Michael Morelli, City of Albany

Larry Mulvaney, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Chris O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Philip Parella, Capital District Transportation Authority

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Don Rhodes, Village of Colonie

Ron Shaffer, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Elaine Troy, NYSDOH Healthy Heart Program

Karen Williams, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Maggie Zandt, Greenman-Pederson


Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:35 am and explained that the agenda has been reorganized reflecting the need to discuss the potential federal Stimulus package, projects and funds prior to being able to address the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) update. 




Mike McGlynn addressed the Committee regarding the job access/reverse commute (JARC) program.  He asked if the Committee considered additional funding in the TIP for recently unemployed people to have transportation to get to work/classroom boards located in the region, job training and one stop work centers.  Kristina Younger, CDTA, responded that CDTA is the sole recipient of JARC funds as noted in the TIP and that they do provide funding for jobs access.  However, there is no direct federal funding for free transit passes; the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) does not consider provision of free transit passes as eligible for federal funds.  Kristina pointed out that if a person is working with a department of social services, a case worker can assist them in obtaining funds for transit as appropriate.


Jim Digioia addressed the Committee regarding the recent emergency on I-90 in East Greenbush when the NYS Police had to shut down the Interstate due to a shooting.  Mr. Digioia noted that the response by NYSDOT to this event was poor and the detours were not adequate resulting in long delays for drivers.  He asked that a plan be developed between NYSDOT and the NYS Police to try to avoid a similar situation in the future when incidents occur.  Bob Hansen responded that the NYS Police were, for obvious reasons, fully in charge of that incident, not NYSDOT. Mr. Hansen offered to provide a report back to the Planning Committee next month on what happened from NYSDOT’s perspective and to see what coordination issues need to be addressed.


Action Items



Approval of the December 3, 2008 Meeting Minutes


There was a request to modify Page 4 of the minutes of the December 3rd meeting to read “NYSDOT will contact the Hudson River Black River Regulating District (HRBRRD)”.  The prior minutes incorrectly stated that NYSDOT had already contacted the HRBRRD.


The minutes were approved as modified.




2009/10 Addendum to 2008/10 UPWP


Dave jukins reminded the committee that this being an odd year of our two-year upwp a brief draft addendum will be produced and distributed for review prior to the february meeting.  If the Planning Committee approves the addendum it will then be sent to the Policy Board for consideration at their March meeting. Using this approach, the current program is valid but some adjustments need to be made including the addition of this year’s round of Linkage Planning Studies. 


Sandy Misiewicz reviewed the evaluation process for the 2009/2010 Community and Transportation Linkage Planning Program applications.  CDTC reserved $200,000 in its 2008/2010 UPWP to program new studies for the 2009/2010 federal fiscal year with $50,000 of that being reserved for inter-municipal efforts.  Applications were due on November 21, 2008 and seven were received.  Per the approved evaluation guidelines, CDTC staff first confirmed the scope of work and budget for each proposed study to ensure the budget was appropriate for the proposed work. Once confirmed, an evaluation team was formed consisting of staff from CDTC, CDRPC and NYSDOT to review the proposals.  The evaluation team recommended four studies for funding: the Albany County/Town of Colonie/Town of Guilderland Railroad Avenue study, the City of Albany Education District Enhancement Study, the Town of Colonie/City of Watervliet/Village of Menands Route 32 Redevelopment Plan and the Town of Sand Lake Hamlet Linkage Study.  These four studies requested $187,500 in federal funds.  The balance of the available funds was recommended for programming into the Linkage Study Technical Support Task in the UPWP.  The Planning Committee approved the recommended set of projects and the programming of the fund balance into the Technical Support Task. 






A. A198 (1306.50), NY 7 Bridge over I-87


The proposed amendment will cover additional preliminary engineering (PE) costs for additional required work on this project.  No Offset is being provided at this time. The funding change requested is $275,000 with the source being Interstate Maintenance or IM.  Members approved the amendment.


B. A372 (1754.04), Watervliet Shaker Road, from Karner Road to Albany Shaker Road: Corridor Improvements, Phase 2 Limits


The TIP should read: Sand Creek Road to Albany Shaker Road.  No action was necessary as this was an editorial correction 


C. A453, Watervliet Shaker Road, from Karner Road to Albany Shaker Road: Corridor Improvements, Phase 3 Limits


The TIP should read: New Karner Road to Sand Creek Road.

No action was necessary as this was an editorial correction. 



D. 1528.79, Patroon Island Bridge Repairs, Policy Board: (1c)

   Addition of project over $0.250M Funding Change: $3.000M


Bob Hansen explained the request for additional funding needed to undertake an innovative maintenance project to extend the life of the bridge before a complete bridge rehabilitation (estimated at $150M) will be required.  The process to be used in the project has undergone a two-year testing period and NYSDOT is now ready to implement it. The cost of this approach is $3.0M and the fund source is Interstate Maintenance (IM). 

Members approved the amendment.


E. 1808.11, Urban Freeway Maintenance, Policy Board: (1c) Addition of project over $0.250M Funding Change: $1.200M


Bob Hansen explained that this is a proposal for a pilot project in which a private contractor would be responsible for all maintenance, other than routine maintenance, for selected linear sections of interstate highways within the region.  This is a new approach for NYSDOT and will free up the DOT county residency staffs to work on greater-than-routine maintenance needs of other state roads in the region. This approach will result in fewer interstate lane closures for maintenance projects.  If the pilot project is found to be ineffective, it will be discontinued.  Members approved the amendment.


F. SA104 (1753.63), Batchellerville Bridge Replacement, Policy Board: (2b) Cost increase over $3.0M Funding Change: $20.350M, 47%


Bob Hansen informed the committee that the project was let but the $60M bid was not awarded as it results in a $20.35M funding gap.  NYSDOT Region 1 noted that they do not have additional HBRR money to apply to the project without deferring other bridge projects in the region.  The bridge could be a candidate for federal stimulus funds.  The Committee opted to come back to this amendment following the discussion on the Federal Stimulus.   


Dave Jukins introduced an amendment that will need to be discussed at a future meeting of the Planning Committee.  The City of Cohoes would like to request additional federal funds for engineering on the Black Bridge (Mohawk Hudson Bike Trail Bridge), a capped project.  The additional funds ($66,000) would be used to offset the previously unaccounted for higher costs associated with progressing a federal aid project.  Dave Jukins explained there are several options for addressing this issue.  The City could request a change in the current TIP, the funding could be added to the new TIP (however, this would result in a delay of the project), or alternatively, the project could be added as a Stimulus project but would need to meet the 180 day time clock requirement, which would be difficult. 



Discussion Items




Dave Jukins noted that preparing project lists and developing a rationale for subsequent CDTC actions related to the federal stimulus program is the priority at the present time. 


Bob Hansen reported on the project list NYSDOT Region 1 was asked to prepare by the Main Office for submittal to the Governor’s office.  The initial state list focused on existing TIP/STIP commitments that could meet proposed Stimulus project delivery criteria, leaving out local projects.  This was not intentional and Mr. Hansen indicated that the state list should be supplemented with local projects including projects from CDTA, the Airport, and the Thruway.  NYSDOT’s final priorities will be based on recommendations from the MPO process.


Mr. Hansen reviewed the proposed program criteria with the members and emphasized that the federal stimulus projects are likely to be awarded on a “use it or lose it” basis.  Bob also reported that the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assumes $1.4 B will be set aside for New York State for the period to 9/30/09 and that 50% of these will be obligated for construction by the 90 day timeframe with the remaining %50 within 180 days. As of now it looks like the FTA and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) would have separate pots of funds. Under the $1.4 B scenario from FHWA, the guidance is to assume that the 8 county area of Region 1 would receive one year’s worth of TIP programming, which is $100 M.  Right now the stimulus legislation is still being negotiated such that we assume the deadline is for obligation but it may be changed to bid award or the start of construction.


Joe Rich noted that the CDTC Policy Board cannot approve any stimulus projects for placement on the TIP until the federal stimulus legislation is passed.  It was also noted that it is likely that the federal share will be 100% on these projects. Also of note was that federal procedures will not be waived and all must be followed.  If a project still needs permits, NEPA completion, ROW or other items that typically need time to be processed, it is unlikely it can be a deliverable project within the required timeframes.


After a lengthy discussion, it was proposed that the first cut of the federal stimulus funds should go to existing priorities on the TIP/STIP that can meet the program criteria, both local and state projects.  If projects on the list could not use stimulus funds because they failed to meet the program guidelines, then new initiatives might be considered.  As a result, a solicitation for new projects will not be undertaken at this time.



Issues regarding how many lettings can be processed, what the letting schedule is, staff resource availability for processing, contractor availability and resources such asphalt, steel, etc. were also raised.


Bob Hansen indicated that NYSDOT wants CDTC’s Planning Committee to review the state’s project listing and to approve the local project list.  Dave Jukins emphasized that it is important that a comprehensive list be shared with the committee before a special meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 21, 2009. This list should include state, local and other project types.  After the 1/21/09 meeting the public review process can be immediately initiated for TIP action at the Policy Board meeting scheduled for March 5, 2009. The nature of the Stimulus Program is that time is of the essence.  All discussions so far have emphasized the “use it or lose it” principle.  Some members voiced concern about the limited solicitation.  Dave explained that because of the tight deadlines imposed on CDTC it wasn’t possible to undertake a conventional TIP solicitation program.     


The discussion returned to the proposed amendment for the Batchellerville Bridge.  Bob Hansen outlined several options for consideration: 1) don’t approve the funding increase; 2) table the project for inclusion in the stimulus list/use anticipated stimulus funds; or 3) approve the amendment which will use up all available regional HBRR (Highway Bridge Rehab/Replacement) funds and submit other bridge projects for stimulus.  Bob reminded the committee that if action is not taken by March, the contractor who has put in a bid deposit as mentioned earlier in the meeting will withdraw it and DOT will have to re-bid the job.


Mike Valentine was concerned about the TIP status of the Batchellerville Bridge project if stimulus funding is unsuccessful. Dave Jukins indicated that language can be worked into the amendment that protects the status of any current TIP project, including the Batchellerville Bridge.


After a lengthy discussion, there was a motion, which was seconded, to table the proposed amendment for now and revisit this issue when more is known about the potential stimulus funding.  The motion was approved.






Bob Hansen informed the group that the statewide Transportation Enhancement Advisory Committee (TEAC) met and a funding decision should be forthcoming within the next few weeks. Bob had previously submitted the seven applications approved by CDTC to the Commissioner. 


It was also noted that the NYS Comptroller has held up Safe Routes to School projects from Region 1 and Region 11 for review of the selection process used.  In addition, Shenendohowa school district wants to take out their $100,000 match and rescope their project.  Bob stated that they were told this is not allowed.  If they can’t follow through on the original committed match they will not be able to do their project. 


Bob also wanted to remind local project sponsors that their local government must sign local agreements before FHWA will allow funds to be obligated.




Kristina Younger reported that the CDTA Board has approved fare increases with minor modifications to those for the STAR service and the Nx Northway Express service.


The next meeting of the Planning Committee will be held next Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 9:30 am at the CDTC offices to discuss the stimulus and to work on the TIP update.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:08 p.m. 


Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman