Meeting Minutes

August 23, 2006




Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Frank Commisso, Albany Port District Commission

Kevin Corcoran, Town of Glenville

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Dave Gehrs, Capital District Transportation Authority

Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

Tom Kearney, Federal Highway Administration

Barbara McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Phil Pearson, Town of Colonie

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee (Secretary)

Dave Rettig, NYSDOT Region 1

Deirdre Rudolph, City of Albany

Bernard Sisson, City of Schenectady

Erin Thomas, City of Cohoes




Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Paul Buckhurst, BFJ Planning

Nita J. Chmielewski, Town of Coeymans

Robert Hansen, NYSDOT Region 1

Melissa Kaplan-Macey, BFJ Planning

Teresa LaSalle, Capital District Transportation Committee

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Fred Mastroianni, Foit-Albert Associates

Mike Morelli, Town of Bethlehem

Sree Nampoothiri, Capital District Transportation Committee

Chris O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Tony Papile, Clough, Harbour & Associates

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Deb Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Steve Szanto, Luther Forest Technology Campus

Monique Wahba, City of Albany






Chairman Franchini opened the meeting at approximately 9:40 am.  He welcomed members and guests who introduced themselves.  There were no requests from visitors to speak to the committee.







Paul Buckhurst of BFJ Planning presented the results of the Route 9 Malta Linkage study.  The study built upon the work of the previous downtown Malta Linkage study and the products of the Luther Technology Campus GEIS and addressed development, site design, street system, access management and other issues.


The resulting plan is intended to: encourage nodes of mixed-use development, promote workforce and senior housing and preserve the natural landscape; create design standards that require attractive gateways to new developments and enhance the appearance of existing developments; and improve traffic safety, enhance access management, and improve non-vehicular circulation.


Adoption by the town is expected shortly.




Action Items




Approval of the July 5, 2006 Meeting Minutes


The minutes of the July 5, 2006 meeting were approved as written.




John Poorman reminded members that federal law requires annual certification of the MPO process by the MPO and the state.  Once every three years, the federal agencies conduct the review of CDTC; in the other two years, it is CDTC’s responsibility.  A federal review is due in FFY 2006-07.


Mr. Poorman reviewed the previously-distributed summary of the certification assessment.  Members approved the assessment and recommended action by the Policy Board by resolution at its meeting on September 7.





SAFETEA-LU Enhancement Program, Round 1


Jason Purvis described the evaluation process conducted by the review committee.  A group of seven from CDTC, NYSDOT, CDTA, Parks and Trails New York and the State Health Department reviewed the projects independently and compared rankings.  The evaluation process used was approved by the Planning Committee in April.


From the combined rankings, two options were discussed for prioritization.  Option 1 uses cost-effectiveness as well as overall rank, taking the top two ranking projects from each of three funding categories:  less than $500,000; $500,000 to $1,000,000; and over $1,000,000; this adds an additional project to bring the “above the line” list to total approximately $6,000,000 which is estimated at the maximum amount of funding for the Capital District.  The second option strictly uses the rankings.


Members discussed the two options.  It was noted that the NYSDOT criteria favor projects that create new transportation (bike, pedestrian) access over rehabilitation or other projects that do not address access or do not add access.  Option 1 does seek to address the absence of cost effectiveness as a significant criterion in the NYSDOT list.


After discussion, members agreed to forward all proposed projects to NYSDOT, ranked according to a modified Option 1 (top two projects from each funding category, then continuing the list according to overall rank regardless of funding category.  No “line” will be shown between the top projects and the rest of the list.  The transmittal will include notes on several of the proposals.  Members also agreed to point out to the NYSDOT statewide review committee the fact that new sidewalk and trail projects are favored by the evaluation criteria.  Members also agreed to explore possible modifications to the CDTC prioritization process to help address this prior to the next Enhancement round.  The prioritized list will be on the agenda of the September 7 Policy Board meeting.



Section 5310 Applications


Deb Stacey reported on this year’s set of Section 5310 applications for vehicles for private non-profit agencies.  Three of four applicants in the Capital District from FFY 2005-06 received funding.  This year, there are eight applicants.  Four are rated as “high priority” by CDTC staff and four as “medium priority”.  CDTC’s evaluations are used as one piece of a statewide evaluation process.


After discussion, members concurred with the staff evaluations.


Functional Classification Change


Ms. Stacey described the previously-distributed proposal to correct an oversight in the existing functional classification.  A portion of Brookwood Road in Halfmoon was left off the functional classification maps when the system was updated in the 1990s, apparently because of the break between urban and rural area types.  Volume levels and function support classifying the rural section of the road as a major collector.  Members agreed to request the change by NYSDOT and FHWA.





Sandy Misiewicz reviewed the previously-distributed outline for the next Linkage solicitation.  This will be for year two of the two-year 2006-08 Unified Planning Work Program.  Only slight differences are proposed from the program guidelines from 2006-07:  a clearer definition of eligibility for the “regional” set-aside; an earlier schedule for submission and approval; limits of CDTC staff technical involvement; and information on schedule dependence upon staff availability.


Mr. Poorman noted that there is also about $92,000 (federal) available from the Corridor Management item on the TIP to supplement Linkage funding if appropriate to the projects submitted.  He asked if the proposal deadline of October 6 poses a problem; members indicated that it is not a problem.


After further discussion, members approved the guidelines and authorized a solicitation of project proposals.  Planning Committee action in November and Policy Board approval in December is scheduled.




Mr. Poorman reported that FHWA is entertaining comments on proposed rules for Metropolitan Planning and Statewide Planning to implement SAFETEA-LU.  Current regulations date back to ISTEA.


He noted that NYSDOT has spent a great amount of time identifying concerns, and he briefly highlighted the previously-distributed highlights of the NYSDOT comments.  Key comments focus on areas in which the draft regulations go well beyond the statute.


Mr. Poorman asked for authority to have CDTC participate in a New York State Metropolitan Planning Organizations (NYSMPO) comment letter that parallels the NYSDOT comments.  Members agreed to that request.  Dave Gehrs noted that Kristina Younger has some concerns with some of the NYSDOT comments but had not had time to clarify these concerns with him.  Mr. Poorman offered to follow up with her.





SA227 and SA228, Malta Access Improvements


Bob Hansen reported on the progress made to identify which funding source is to be used for which element of the Luther Forest Technology Campus transportation plan.  High Priority Project earmarked funds have the greatest flexibility in use, and there are appropriations earmarks available as well.  SA227 would create a Round Lake village gateway intersection at the intersection of Route 9 and George Street; SA228 would reconstruct Cold Spring Road in Stillwater.  SA225 would retain $1.375 M in earmarked funds unassigned to any particular element of the transportation plan. 


Members approved the request.  Due to the nature of the request, Policy Board action on these two new projects will be scheduled for its meeting on September 7.


S160, Mohawk-Hudson Bike-Hike Trail


This project “rolled off” the TIP based on CDTC’s understanding that the funds had been obligated prior to October 2003.  Because the project is now ready to be let, the project has to be added back onto the TIP in order for the funds to be obligated prior to letting.


Members approved the request.  Due to the nature of the request, Policy Board action will be scheduled for its meeting on September 7.


S161, Glenville & Scotia Sidewalks


Kevin Corcoran reported that there had been a three-way agreement among the town, village and school district to share the non-federal portion of the cost of this successful Enhancement application.  Unfortunately, the three parties are not willing to fill the gap caused by the escalating cost of the project.  The town is requesting that the project be deleted from the TIP.


Mr. Poorman noted that the statewide nature of the Enhancement program is such that CDTC does not have the ability to reprogram these funds to another priority use; the Glenville-Scotia project had been CDTC’s top ranking project in the previous Enhancement round.


Members approved the request, with Dave Rettig abstaining from the vote.  Due to the nature of the request, Policy Board action will be scheduled for its meeting on September 7.


A400, Old Ravena Road Over CSX


Mike Franchini reported that project development on this bridge has indicated that the design concept must change.  What was originally thought to be a single span structure is now expected to be a three-span structure at a longer skew to accomplish both the required minimum vertical clearance of 23 feet and to minimize right of way and environmental impacts.  Soil conditions also add to unexpected costs.


The proposed amendment would add a total of $2.221 M, or 48%, to the existing TIP budget for the project.  Members approved the requested amendment.


Stabilizing of Brookwood Road


Mr. Poorman reported that this project resulted from an appropriations earmarked secured for the town of Halfmoon by Congressman Sweeney.  The project would stabilize conditions on this growing collector road which also serves a quarry.  The total cost is approximately $3 M, with $1.33 M in federal funds. 


Members approved the request.  Due to the nature of the request, Policy Board action will be scheduled for its meeting on September 7.


SA101, Ushers Road and Vischer Ferry Road


This amendment seeks to correct the omission of the Sherwood Dawson Trail from this project.  The trail is a Spot Improvement bundled with SA101 in the 2003-08 TIP.  The 2005-10 TIP must be amended to include the trail in the project description.  Members approved the amendment; Barb McHugh abstained from the vote.





Mr. Poorman raised an item not listed on the agenda.  The NY State Office of Science, Technology and Academic Research (NYSTAR) is forming a foundation that will oversee, implement and administer regional economic development initiatives and programs. The Center for Economic Growth has asked community stakeholders like the Capital District Transportation Committee to express their support for CEG’s selection as the lead regional economic development agency for the new foundation and to sign onto a memorandum of understanding to participate in a regional forum led by CEG.  He suggested that it would be appropriate for CDTC to sign onto the MOU once CDRPC has signed it.  Rocky Ferraro has reported to Mr. Poorman that CDRPC has a few items to review before signing on.  Members agreed to the proposed approach.




Mr. Poorman noted that this item had been listed as a discussion item, but action is required on the proposed schedule.


Referring to the proposed schedule, he reported that CDTC and NYSDOT Region 1 staff have met to review rough order-of-magnitude numbers.  Although they are not completely confident with the numbers and will be meeting with Main Office staff soon, the broad picture can be estimated.  It appears that there will be CMAQ funds available to program and perhaps Safety and bridge funds.  Currently, the availability of a broad solicitation for STP-type projects appears unlikely.


He suggested that, given pressures to consider diesel retrofits and other non-traditional CMAQ projects, it would be better to approach CMAQ programming more at the program level than project level.  Members agreed to the proposed schedule, and agreed to consider the suggested approach to CMAQ programming.  They agreed to not undertake a project solicitation until funding availability is better known.



Discussion Items





Bids and Lettings


Mr. Hansen reported on four lettings (SA122, S129, A242 and RG40).  Low bids continue to run higher than TIP estimates, even revised TIP estimates such as for A242, the Slingerlands Bypass.  The bid cost (including supervision of construction) exceeds current TIP values by 57%, 55% and 18%, respectively, for the first three lettings listed above.




Mr. Poorman distributed a semi-annual progress report for the 10/05 to 3/06 period.  Chairman Franchini reminded members of the upcoming October 5 Goods Movement Conference sponsored by CDTC.


In the interest of time, a thorough discussion of the status of planning activities was deferred.




The next Planning Committee meeting was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on October 4, 2006.  There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 12:15 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman