Meeting Minutes

April 2, 2008






Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Bradley Birge, City of Saratoga Springs

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Frank Commisso, Albany Port District Commission

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Rocky Ferraro, Capital District Regional Planning Commission

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Steve Iachetta, Albany International Airport

Dave Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee (representing John Poorman, Secretary)

Marybeth Pettit, City of Rensselaer

Dave Rettig, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Bill Roehr, City of Troy

Dede Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, representing Bill Rinaldi, New York State Thruway Authority

Bernard Sisson, City of Schenectady

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

Kristina Younger, Capital District Transportation Authority





Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Frank Bonafide, NYSDOT Region 1

Patrick Campbell, Capital District Transportation Authority

Jennifer Ceponis, Capital District Transportation Committee

R. Mark Dempf, Town of New Scotland

Chris Millington, City of Albany

Mike Morelli, Town of Bethlehem

Sree Nampoothiri, Capital District Transportation Committee

Christopher O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Maggie Zandt, Greenman Pederson





Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:35 am.  There were no visitor’s issues.





Action Items




Approval of the February 6, 2008 Meeting Minutes


The meeting notes from the February 6th meeting were approved as written.




Rensselaer Station Platform & Track Capacity Improvements


Dave Jukins called attention to information in the handout regarding NYSDOT’s proposed TIP Amendment for platform and track capacity improvements at the Rensselaer Train Station.  The purpose of the project is to create additional train capacity and operational flexibility at the station. Funding for the improvements is available through a Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) discretionary program.  FRA solicited for applications after the last Planning Committee meeting; they must be submitted before the next Policy Board meeting.  This was brought to the Policy Board’s attention at their March meeting where they granted authority to the Planning Committee to review and consider the TIP amendment. The project must be on the TIP before the application can be submitted. Dave Rettig pointed out that 50% of project funding would be from the FRA, if approved, and 50% would be state funds.  The project was derived from the high speed rail task force study and is consistent with CDTA’s rail planning initiative, REVEST, the NYS Transportation Master Plan and CDTC’s New Visions plan. Members approved the amendment.


Discussion Items




SAFETEA-LU Transportation Enhancements Program


Information on the proposed evaluation methodology for potential sponsors and Capital District applicants to this program was included in the meeting materials.  Jason Purvis asked for a confirmation of the evaluation methodology from the Planning Committee as has been done in the past and noted that the criteria to be used for this round is basically the same as those used previously.  CDTC will be sending a solicitation letter out shortly.  There will also be several workshops for prospective sponsors/applicants to be held by CDTC/NYSDOT/AGFTC staff on 4/16/08 & 4/23/08 to explain the process and evaluation methodology. Noting that it has worked well in the past, members voted to approve the evaluation methodology.




TIP Set-Aside Solicitation


CDTC staff distributed a brief summary list of the 22 proposals received.  Costs reflect what was offered by the applicants and will be verified; some may change from what is listed.  Since proposals were due March 31, 2008 detailed review has not yet been completed.  Staff will begin the evaluation process by “screening” proposals; details on proposals will be provided at the next meeting.


Staff will prioritize evaluation of Bike/Pedestrian projects so these can be discussed and potentially selected for recommendation to the Policy Board at the May Planning Committee meeting. This will allow unsuccessful candidates to decide if they want to submit to the Enhancements program or potentially the upcoming Spot Improvement program. In addition, depending on complexity of the projects, staff may be able to complete evaluations for the other set-aside categories.  It was noted that the Planning Committee authorized adjustments to the fund source or set-aside used for a particular proposed project based on the scope of work for the project and overall fit with the stated purpose of each set-aside.


Kristina Younger asked if extending the solicitation was a possibility since some set-aside categories didn’t receive enough proposals to utilize the funds allocated.  In response it was noted that there was the potential to move project candidates to more appropriate fund sources which would address this issue.


Kristina Younger asked about the status of the diesel retrofit set-aside.  CDTC staff reminded the group that those proposals are due April 4, 2008.


There was discussion about the low number of safety set-aside submittals. Rocky Ferraro inquired as to how the allocations/criteria were determined and indicated that maybe those need to be re-visited to make the set-aside more attractive.  Dave Jukins explained that the Planning Committee set up the criteria and the $500,000 federal funds cap for projects under that set-aside. Dave Rettig stated that these set-asides are for the 5 year TIP period so an option would be to fund projects now and retain the remainder of the money and re-solicit in 2 years.


It was noted that Safe Routes to School proposals were due 4/1/08.  Jason Purvis explained that eleven (11) applications were submitted for CDTC's area, with 16 in Region 1 overall (1 each in Essex and Greene counties and 3 in the AGFTC area).  The selection process starts with DOT Region 1 staff reviewing proposals for eligibility after which there will be coordinated reviews with DOT/AGFTC/CDTC.




TIP Amendment Process


Dave Jukins directed members to the information included in the handout regarding Possible Changes to TIP Amendment Procedures as per FHWA Guidance.  He noted that our federal partners have questioned NYMTC's TIP amendment process with respect to limited public process and review of major TIP amendments. The purpose of bringing this to the Planning Committee’s attention is to share information on this issue.


Mr. Jukins stated CDTC has a pretty rigorous process in place to deal with “large” amendments going to the Policy Board and more minor, administrative amendments sent to the Planning Committee.


The intent is to keep any changes in process simple to efficiently meet the spirit of the federal guidance; NYSDOT is reviewing TIP amendment procedures at all the upstate MPOs. 


Dave Rettig suggested this be discussed at the upcoming certification review with FHWA/FTA as that will be an opportunity to determine what they are looking for.


Dave Jukins indicated that we may need to shift some types of amendments that are currently handled by the Planning Committee to the Policy Board but that remains to be seen.


There was discussion regarding what should be considered a “minor” amendment.  Jason Purvis reminded the group that depending on what is determined, our public participation policy will most likely need to be amended for consistency.



NYSDOT Multimodal Transportation Program Submission 2009-14


This program submission to the NYS Legislature by NYSDOT was triggered by the MTA budget submission. NYSDOT was asked to assemble a program for the next 5 years out of sync with the TIP/STIP update process which they were required to comply with. The program listing potential projects can be found on NYSDOT’s website at


It was highlighted that throughout the program submission there is a note that listed projects are subject to MPO concurrence.  The submission represents a list of potential projects based on assumptions including the need for potential projects to compete at the TIP table, Federal & State budgets, and inflation rates.


Dave Rettig pointed out that the submission had to be put together very quickly as "candidates for funding".  The intent was to show the needs which resulted in a very large program totaling $24B over 5 years; the last program was $18 Billion.


Dave Rettig noted that the State Legislature will vote on the NYC Congestion Pricing Plan on April 7th. If it is approved we may be on a different TIP update schedule; it will be expedited compared to the normal 18 month TIP update process.






Various linkage studies are coming to a close with several new ones starting over the next month as staff/sponsors are working together to complete draft scopes. A rebranded/updated version of CDTC’s newsletter is being printed; the plan is to publish one four times a year.  In addition, the New Visions 2030 summary brochure is being developed by a marketing/design firm team with assistance from staff.


Dave Jukins noted that FHWA will be conducting a Certification Site Review of CDTC on April 15 & 16th.  Participants will include FTA, FHWA, NYSDOT, CDTA and CDTC.




Rocky Ferraro reported that the Fiscal Impact Study is getting good publicity.  He recently made a presentation to the Colonie Business Council and he'll be taping the presentation for broadcast on Colonie’s Public Access channel.


The Audubon Society is hosting a Sustainable Communities Summit on June 11th.  The study will be presented by CDRPC and CDTC. There's a good conversation going on about the fiscal impact study with both public and private groups including business groups and non-transportation entities.


The population projections should be completed fairly soon after a little bit of a delay.


Rocky has been asked to chair the Village of Menands Economic Development Committee for the Broadway corridor; the group’s work will be coordinated with the ongoing linkage study.


On May 28th CDRPC will be conducting an all day planners training workshop at HVCC.  Notices will be sent out soon.


The $5M Combined Sewer Overflow Study public meeting held on 3/31/08 had good attendance. This study ties into the need for urban reinvestment in infrastructure, with impacts on urban quality of life due to all infrastructure investment needs.  Substantial financial investment may be needed, impacting land use patterns/redevelopment in the urban centers. 







Kristina Younger reported that this year’s ridership total was 13.7 million up from last year’s of 12.9 million. Also, 22 hybrid electric CDTA buses are currently on Gillig’s production line. CDTA is dealing with this year’s significant state budget issue where the draft budget did not include any increase.  With ridership up it’s a critical time for CDTA to sustain momentum.

CDTA has $2M in consultant projects out for bid at the moment covering the BRT: Queue Jumper (QJ)/Transit Signal Priority (TSP)/Arterial Management (AM) RFQ; the Transportation Management Association (TMA) for Harriman Campus, and the BRT for the Washington/Western corridor.


Work is progressing quite positively on CDTA’s NYSMPO Shared Cost Initiative (SCI) Transit Supportive Development Case Study that is examining options for an Intermodal Center in downtown Albany, near the planned Convention Center.


Major restructuring of Schenectady County bus routes as a result of Transit Development Plan work is proposed.  The CDTA Board OK’d the recommendations to go to the public in May.  Planned service improvements would expand service frequency and span to cover more in-demand locations and weekend and evening hours.  Additional funding is needed to provide this additional service.




Dave Rettig reported on bids and lettings.  Estimates have been in fairly good alignment with incoming bids, although in some cases there has been a wide range of bids; the bids for the Twin Bridges projects are consistent with estimates. There is some concern about the Route 7 over Exit 6 job in terms of how high bids might come in.


NYSDOT is in the process of hiring a consultant for the Patroon Island Bridge scoping; that contract could be extended to cover future phases as well.


Dave Rettig informed the group that he will be taking a new position at NYSDOT’s Main Office and will no longer be the Region 1 RPPM.  It is unknown who will fill that position at this time.  Dave Jukins congratulated Dave, which was echoed by the other members.




Phil Serafino reported the Colonie hearing on the Thruway plan did not have a large turnout but that most attending were positive.  People at that hearing were supportive of the canal operations as an important part of the upstate economy.




Albany International Airport


Steve Iachetta announced the Airport won a FAA award under the “Good Neighbor” program for their runway approach program/safety work.  In addition, a four-way $1.1M agreement was reached on funding for a new roundabout at Exit 5. 


Mr. Iachetta also reported that National Grid has made $500,000 worth of improvements into the airport and that through the Clean Cities program biodiesel projects are being implemented at the airport, one of which is for diesel retrofits on Delta Airlines equipment.  There is a joint project for hydrogen fuel vehicles involving demo airport vehicles and CDTA supervisor vehicles. 


Albany County


Mike Franchini gave a brief status report on the County’s Fuller Road/Washington Avenue intersection ($5M) and the Fuller Rd: Central Ave to Route 20 ($14M County funds) improvement projects.  There have been meetings with various stakeholders and a public information meeting is slated for May.  These projects will require a 2 year construction timetable.




Dave Jukins pointed out that there is an upcoming grant for covered bridges in April 2008 and a training opportunity regarding road safety audits available through NYSDOT.  


Upcoming meetings include the NYSMPO conference on June 12th and 13th in Niagara Falls, NY.  In the past CDTC has sponsored attendance for 2-3 Policy Board members.  


The May Planning Committee meeting will be held on May 7th 2008.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:42 a.m. 


Respectfully submitted,





David Jukins for

John P. Poorman