Meeting Minutes

February 9, 2005





David Bailey, City of Troy

Joel Cochran, representing Larry Benton, Saratoga County

Geoff Bornemann, City of Saratoga Springs (Vice-Chairman)

Judy Breselor, representing Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Frank Commisso, Albany Port Commission

Kevin Corcoran, Town of Glenville

Todd Fabozzi, representing Rocky Ferraro, Capital District
  Regional Planning Commission

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Mike Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Bruce Hidley, City of Watervliet

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

Barbara McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Phil Pearson, Town of Colonie

Marybeth Pettit, City of Rensselaer

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee (Secretary)

Dave Rettig, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Jill Ross-Schmelz, representing Don Bell, NYS Thruway Authority

Dede Rudolph, City of Albany

Bernie Sisson, City of Schenectady

John Stangle, Village of Menands

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

Kristina Younger, representing Jack Reilly, Capital District Transportation Authority




Frank Bonafide, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Bob Hansen, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Mary Marsh, Capital District Transportation Authority

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Fred Mastroianni, Village of Colonie

Jason Newman, FHWA/CDTC

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Tom Speziale, Saratoga County DPW

Ann Sutkin, NYSDOT Region 1

Paul Tazbir, Town of North Greenbush

Joan Walters, Federal Highway Administration




Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 8:40 am.  There were no visitors requesting to speak.





Action Items




Approval of the January 26, 2005 Meeting Minutes


Bruce Hidley noted that he was present at the meeting but not listed in the minutes; the spelling of Lee Ecker was also corrected.  The minutes of the January 26, 2005 meeting were then approved as corrected.




2005-06 Linkage Program


Sandy Misiewicz reviewed the previously-distributed summary of Linkage program requests.  The 2005-06 program focuses on several evaluation criteria, with emphasis on the degree to which each submission addresses six particular program strategies.  Proposed studies were rated from A to C by a review committee composed of CDTC and CDRPC staff.  The summary material lists four proposals in a Group 1 with the highest relative ranking (A); three in a Group 2 with a high relative ranking (B+); and seven in a Group 3 with a slightly lower relative ranking (B through C).


Members discussed the rankings and reviewed the four programming options identified in the summary material.  It was agreed to use the $15,000 (federal) released from the Arbor Hill Gateway study to augment the approximate $200,000 reserved for the program.  After further discussion, members agreed to follow Option 3 from the summary material.  This funds all submissions in Group 1 and Group 2 (Malta Route 9, Harriman Campus, Stillwater Route 4; Saratoga Springs Downtown; Guilderland Hamlet; Bethlehem Route 9W; Hadley Hamlet).  This option relies on funding the Bethlehem effort as an aspect of the Selkirk Bypass project, using STP or NHS funds.


Draft 2005-06 UPWP


John Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed draft of the 2005-06 UPWP.  He noted that no action is required yet.  A revised draft will be distributed later in the month, including details of the Linkage program just agreed to.  The complete draft will be provided to federal funding partners at that time, with Planning Committee and Policy Board action scheduled in March.


He noted that the financial requirements of the program cannot be sustained past 2005-06 (particularly the scale of Linkage activities) without an increase in the planning budget in the TEA-21 Reauthorization.  Reauthorization discussions have resumed in Congress.






Port of Albany Operational Subsidy for Container Shipments


This project is a proposed addition to the current TIP to permit a continuation of an existing project that provides an operational subsidy for the container barge service to Albany.  The service is part of the overall Port Inland Distribution Network (PIDN), a statewide effort to reduce congestion and improve air quality around the Port of New York and New Jersey. 


Frank Commisso provided further detail on current operations.  Mr. Rettig reported that the CMAQ funds to be used for the project are statewide CMAQ funds to be added to the Capital District CMAQ allocation.  There will be no impact on other projects or on the TIP development effort.


Members approved the requested amendment.  Kristina Younger abstained from the vote.  Because of the nature of the amendment, the amendment will be included for action on the Policy Board’s agenda for March 24.




Review of Actions to Date and Additional Information


Mr. Poorman directed members’ attention to the previously-distributed updated table of fund availability and project costs, and a list of thirteen changes to project details received from Region 1 since the January 26 meeting.  Members reviewed the list, which included several additions and subtractions of project costs on the NHS system.  After discussion, Dave Rettig requested that the fund source switches listed as items 10 and 12 not be included in the action.  With those exceptions, members agreed to the changes listed in the summary list.


Review of Candidate Projects’ Screening and Eligibility Issues


Mr. Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed summary of resolution of outstanding screening and eligibility issues.  Some questions relate to the Fuller Road / Washington Avenue intersection work.  The project could be screened out as premature, because it precedes a formal Linkage study of the area.  Members discussed the issue and agreed with the staff recommendation that the project pass screen and be considered eligible for merit evaluation.  As a CMAQ candidate, there may be a concern that a project design might be ineligible for CMAQ funding, but members expressed confidence that such an outcome is unlikely and that the project can safely be considered for CMAQ funding.  It was noted that the project could also be considered eligible for NHS funding due to its expected benefit to the I-90 corridor.


Members also discussed the Intermodal Transit Center proposal from Saratoga Springs and agreed with the staff recommendation that the lack of project information prevents effective evaluation of merit, and that the proposal should be screened out from funding consideration at this time.


NHS eligibility of the Broadway project in Rensselaer and the Church Street project in Saratoga Springs was then discussed.  Region 1 and FHWA have affirmed the eligibility of the Broadway project; the staff affirms that the value of the Church Street project to the NHS system makes that project also eligible for NHS funds.


Members concurred that the County Routes 65 and 74 Reconfiguration submission from Rensselaer County be screened out from CMAQ funding consideration due to its primarily-safety objectives and the lack of data to calculate air quality benefits.


NHS Programming:    The first set of candidates’ merit evaluations reviewed was the list of NHS-eligible pavement projects.  As a result of the budgeting agreement at the last meeting and further cost and fund source adjustments, the resulting seven-year NHS budget appears sufficient to fund all three NHS pavement projects on the table.  Mr. Poorman distributed an updated version of the previously-distributed summary of candidate projects.  He noted that the cost of the Erie Blvd. project has been refined and the new value is higher than in the material mailed out.  The three projects rate well both quantitatively and qualitatively.


There was some discussion of the fact that two of the three are NHS-eligible but are, in part or in whole, off the NHS network.  Mr. Rettig noted a concern with the precedent established, given the needs on the NHS system and the potential for diluting the NHS program.  After further discussion, members agreed to include all three projects in the draft 2005-10 TIP.


CMAQ Programming:   The second set of candidates considered was the list of CMAQ-eligible projects.  The challenges in this exercise were recognized, in that projects on the table were all CMAQ eligible but of widely varying types and air quality impacts.  Some of the project types, such as the Fuller / Washington intersection reconstruction / roundabout project and the Helderberg-Hudson bike-hike trail, go beyond the range of project types funded with CMAQ funds by CDTC in the past.


Mr. Poorman reviewed the programming options in the previously-distributed summary material to initiate programming discussions.  Option 1 relies on drawing from existing funds in RG1 (Park and Ride Lots) and RG39 (ITS Signals) to fund the CDTA-proposed NY 5 park and ride lot and transit signal priority (TSP) projects.  Additionally, Option 1 would limit programming of CMAQ to new candidates to the Saratoga Van Pool project and three high-ranking bike/pedestrian network projects.  A large balance would remain to add to regional set-asides for projects to be identified during the year.


Option 2 was described as financially feasible, but going beyond the range of purposes typically supported by CDTC with CMAQ funds.  It would additionally fund the Fuller/Western intersection, the Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail, and two queue jumper projects on Central Avenue.


A lengthy discussion ensued regarding programming choices.  The merit of the Malta transit pilot program was discussed and a suggestion made to consider a new regional set-aside for transit pilot projects instead of the Malta project.  That would preserve the Malta service option, but acknowledge the lack of project detail and modest benefits of the current proposal.  The absence of the Guilderland Center pedestrian project from either Option 1 and Option 2 was also raised.


Mr. Rettig repeated his previous requests for consideration of programming capacity in set-asides to address the products of both NYSDOT’s current “maintenance and operations first” strategy and the upcoming CDTC UPWP effort to identify CMAQ-eligible operations projects.  He also expressed concern with the low emissions reduction benefits from the bike/ped candidates with regard to the use of CMAQ funds. 


Further discussion ensued regarding equitable treatment of projects on the table that resulted from CDTC’s solicitation versus candidates not yet articulated.  A proposal was put forth to agree to Option 2 with the addition of the Guilderland Center pedestrian project.  Members agreed to the proposal; Jill Ross-Schmelz, Dede Rudolph and Mr. Rettig abstained from the vote.  The action did not include the transit service set-aside concept suggested earlier nor explicitly update the balances in the various regional CMAQ set-aside projects.


HBRR Candidates


A list of proposed new HBRR projects from Region 1 was distributed for review.


Next Steps


Mr. Poorman noted that the full draft TIP reflecting all the agreements to date will be provided for Planning Committee action at the March meeting.  Policy Board action to release the draft TIP for public review is also slated for March.



Discussion Items




Bids and Lettings


Bob Hansen distributed a summary of January/February lettings and upcoming March bids.  The key item is project A319, the next phase of the I-90 reconstruction.  Its bid amount was about 10% higher than shown in the TIP.  The ITS elements will be bid in March, along with a traffic signal standby project and project A372 (Watervliet Shaker Rd. phase 2).








The next Planning Committee meeting was deferred a week from its normal data.  The next meeting will be held at 9:30 a.m., March 9, 2005.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman