Meeting Minutes

May 23, 2007





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

Judy Breselor, City of Troy

Frank Commisso, Albany Port Commission

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

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

Barb McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Phil Parella, representing Kristina Younger, CDTA

Marybeth Pettit, City of Rensselaer

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee (Secretary)

Dave Rettig, NYSDOT Region 1

Joe Rich, Federal Highway Administration

Dede Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, New York State Thruway Authority

Bernard Sisson, City of Schenectady

John Stangle, representing Denise Sheehan, Town of Colonie

Erin Thomas, City of Cohoes




Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Frank Bonafide, NYSDOT Region 1

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Shelley Johnston, Creighton Manning

George Leveille, Town of Bethlehem

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Sree Nampoothiri, Capital District Transportation Committee

Chris O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Jim Rivers, City of Troy

Deb Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

Jim Welch, The Core Project





Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:40 am.  There were no visitor’s issues.





Action Items


Approval of the May 2, 2007 Meeting Minutes


The May 2nd minutes had two errors with regard to attendance—Peter Comenzo and Steve Watts should have been listed under members attending rather than Staff and Others.  The minutes of the May 2nd will be modified to reflect this change.  Dave Rettig requested that the sentence under the draft Updated Bicycle and Pedestrian Game Plan and Toolbox section of the minutes that referred to his comment regarding the regional greenway initiative be modified to read “…greater attention” rather than “…greater support”.  The minutes of the May 2nd meeting were approved with these changes noted. 


Approval of the Year End Budget Revisions


CDTC staff annually takes steps to close out the fiscal year (March 31st) subsequent to Planning Committee approval and audit.  The previously distributed material provided details on this process.  The members approved the proposed year end budget revisions.




Draft Goods Movement Plan


Jason Purvis reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the Draft Goods Movement Plan.  Jason noted that this plan is a product of the Task Force which met quarterly up until last year.  The task force now meets as a group once a year in a conference atmosphere (the first conference was held last fall at RPI).  The plan notes that the Capital District is in a critical location for freight activities and that there needs to be better integration of freight in the planning process.


Dave Rettig requested that the candidate action dealing with truck stop electrification be modified to include private truck stops as well as those owned by NTSTA and NYSDOT.  The members approved the plan with this modified candidate action.


Draft Working Group B Report


Chris O’Neill reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the draft Working Group B Report.  Working Group B was charged with investigating and documenting “Expressway System Issues and Options”.  Working Group B identified costs related to keeping the area’s expressways and expressway bridges in good condition.  Maintenance and ITS needs were estimated to cost in excess of $3.2 billion over the next 30 years.  These costs were in line with the findings of the Finance Task Force.  The Finance Task Force confirmed the magnitude of the Working Group B numbers.  The Working Group B report has been updated to state clearly that the Finance Task Force numbers will be used in the New Visions 2030 Plan. 


CDTC staff, as part of the Working Group B work, also analyzed the MIST data to determine delay associated with congestion and incidents and to help evaluate expressway operational needs and appropriate strategies and solutions.  Working Group B identified implications of growth on expressways.  In general, the Northway and I-90 are already at capacity in the peak direction (AM and PM) which means that there will be little or no traffic growth in peak hour because physically the expressways can’t fit more.  Consequently, traffic growth will be forced onto parallel routes and peak periods will become longer.  One of the conclusions of the analysis performed for the Working Group B effort is that there is little that can be done to eliminate daily recurring congestion in the peak periods.  Working Group B also concluded that ITS, incident management and operational improvements represent the most effective strategies for expressway congestion management.


Dave Rettig requested that the conclusion stating that “there is no capital improvement such as widening that can eliminate daily recurring congestion in the peak periods” be amended to state that there is no feasible capital improvement…  The committee approved the Working Group B Report with this modification.


Draft Working Group C Report


John Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the draft Working Group C Report.  This report investigates how and why big initiatives in other metro areas came to be.  Seventeen big initiatives were initially reviewed with an additional in depth review of six, leading to the articulation of six regional conditions that appear to be pre-requisites for implementation.  The report indicates that while this region is not yet in position to implement any of the bold initiatives outlined, we are in a good position go forward with them if the economic and political environment change.  The committee approved the Working Group C report.


Draft Working Group D Report


John Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the draft Working Group D Report.  John indicated that Todd Fabozzi from CDRPC was the primary author of the draft report.  The Working Group D material explored issues related to home rule in New York; the effects of the large number of municipalities in the state; the uneven playing field confronted by cities competing with suburban towns; sprawl without growth; the loss of farmland; local government planning; the plight of “inelastic”, declining cities; and smart growth policies in other states.  The report describes an extensive list of policy choices confronting the region.  Recent activity such as the coordinated effort with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG) regarding alternative future scenarios indicates that the positions advanced by CDTC in the original New Visions plan have gained considerably more supporters over the years to permit steady, incremental change.

The report concluded that the larger-than-regional subjects of governance, tax policy and annexation need further extensive discussion before it is possible to determine whether there is a broad regional consensus on the appropriate actions to take.  After some discussion, the members approved the report.


Draft Working Group E Report


Sandy Misiewicz reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the draft Working Group E Report.  Sandy indicated that the technical report documents current efforts and articulates approaches to improve the capacity of municipal planning and approval processes.  Todd Fabozzi noted that the Linkage program was modified as a direct result of this working group’s efforts; the Linkage program now puts emphasis on smart growth activities.  The report should note this change in emphasis.  The “shoulds” in the report also need to be replaced with “will”.  Steve Watts suggested that word without in the sentence “the capital region is planning without regional growth” be replaced with in absence of.  The members approved the draft report with the corrections noted.


Draft Finance Plan


John Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the findings of the Finance Task Force.  Work performed included full modeling of pavement and bridge conditions and consideration of products such as CDTA’s Transit Development Plan, the state’s High Speed Rail Task Force, the I-87 Corridor Study, and a decade of experience working with New Visions budgets for planning and programming.  The task force grappled with the key question identified-- whether the recent rapid increase in unit costs has created a permanent shortfall of funds to accomplish even the modest commitments in the New Visions plan.  The task force concluded that it is reasonable to anticipate that over the long term, revenues will track inflation and at least come close to tracking travel (vehicle miles of travel or equivalent).  The Task force noted that funding for surface transportation is cyclical with funding initiatives achieving public support when viewed by the public as urgent and worthwhile.  The Task force further noted that it is not reasonable to anticipate that revenues will continue to be out-of-whack with the basic-system-maintenance-with occasional-improvements game plan represented by New Visions.  


John provided a hand-out detailing the federal requirement of a financially constrained transportation plan and CDTC’s approach to verifying that the New Visions Plan is financially constrained. Joe Rich noted that CDTC’s approach is unique, but reasonable.  The committee approved the Plan.


Remaining Activities


John Poorman noted that the New Visions and SAFETEA-LU compliance material will be packaged for Policy Board review and approval.  John will modify the PowerPoint presentation that was shown to the Planning Committee earlier in the month for the June Policy Board meeting.  The Policy Board will be asked to release the New Visions 2030 Plan for public review.  Public review will occur between June and September.  The Quality Region Task Force will reconvene to look at the pieces of the plan with an eye toward consistency.  Using this timeline, the plan should go before the Policy Board for final adoption in September.




Items Raised by NYSDOT


It was determined that this agenda item needed to be discussed before the first agenda item under the TIP heading, Issues to be Resolved, could be discussed.  Frank Bonafide initiated the discussion by reviewing the reasoning behind the NYSDOT’s recommendations for project deferrals.  Frank reassured the committee that with the proposed deferrals, none of the projects were outside the five year TIP schedule.  Committee members questioned the need for the deferrals and voiced concern over what the deferrals would do to project sponsor budgets and project sequencing.


Frank Bonafide distributed two handouts detailing NYSDOT’s interpretation of TIP allocations and budgets and CDTC’s interpretation.  Dave Rettig advised members to look at the over-programming aspect of the tables and the options to balance the program.  Mike Franchini asked the department to inform the Main Office that “11th hour” changes in TIP allocations and spending levels is very disruptive to locals and undermines the MPO process.


Geoff Bornemann raised the concern that CDTC’s and NYSDOT’s allocation figures are very different and need to be reconciled before further discussion on project deferrals occurs.  Glenn Posca stated that CDTC is not over-programmed if programming is looked at by row and column, and that constraint by cell (fund source by year) is not required.


John Poorman recommended that as a first exercise, CDTC and NYSDOT need to reconcile the allocation figures.  This reconciliation needs to occur with CDTC and NYSDOT staffs, not at the Planning committee table.  Once the numbers are reconciled, the Planning Committee needs to meet again to discuss project deferrals and other options that may be required for fiscal constraint.  A June 5th (Tuesday) Planning Committee was scheduled.


Steve Iachetta put a motion on the table to adopt a policy to accept 15 percent over-programming in annual TIP budgets.  The motion was voted on but not carried. 


Geoff Bornemann suggested that project sponsors submit information about all of their projects (not just those that are targeted for deferral) to CDTC staff and NYSDOT so that an informed discussion about deferrals can occur at the next meeting.  Elements required should include information on schedule (readiness), relative priority within the jurisdiction, corollary activities that the schedule might impact and budget.  It was determined that this approach would be followed.  CDTC staff will contact project sponsors for this information.


TIP Issues to be Resolved


This discussion of the 2007-12 TIP Update was tabled until the June 5th Planning Committee meeting because of the inconsistencies noted in the TIP allocations and the list of project deferrals that was put on the table.  


Updates to projects in the Draft 2007-12 TIP


This discussion was also tabled until the June 5th Planning Committee meeting.








Due to lack of time, the Status of Planning Activities was not discussed.




A June Planning Committee is scheduled for June 5th 2007 at 1:30 pm.  The change in day (Tuesday) and time (1:30) should be noted.  The June 7th Policy Board meeting will still be held, even if TIP issues are not resolved.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:15 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman