Meeting Minutes

August 5, 2009




Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Bradley Birge, City of Saratoga Springs

Wayne Bonesteel, representing Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

Frank Commisso, Albany Port Commission

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

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

Joseph LaCivita, Town of Colonie

Kate Maynard, Town of Wilton

Mike Morelli, Town of Bethlehem

Rosemary Nichols, City of Watervliet

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Bill Roehr, City of Troy

Deidre Rudolph, City of Albany

Phil Serafino, representing Bill Rinaldi, NYS Thruway Authority

Michael Valentine, Saratoga County

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




James Allen, Buckeye Albany

Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Arthur Brown, The Walters Consulting Group

Stephen Carus, City of Schenectady

Jennifer Ceponis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Rob Cherry, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Christina Douglas, CHA

Danica Ehmann, The Walters Consulting Group

James Fredericks, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Shelly Johnston, Creighton Manning Engineering

Mary Anne Mariotti, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Fred Mastroianni, Greenman-Pederson Inc.

Sandra Misiewicz, Capital District Transportation Committee

Larry Mulvaney, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Christopher O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Kevin Schwenzfeier, Capital District Transportation Committee

Brian Smith, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Deb Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Josh Westfall, Town of Clifton Park

John Zepko, Town of Malta






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




Action Items




Approval of the July 1, 2009 Meeting Minutes


The meeting notes from the July 1st meeting were approved with two clarifications. Bob Hansen clarified that the stakeholder group formed for the Balltown Road study will meet continually until the project is re-designed.  At the last meeting, Bob also made the point that the $98M in highway ARRA projects were either certified or in the process of being certified. 


Draft Metropolitan Planning Agreement


The draft agreement included in member’s material is a brief agreement that defines the role of the NYSDOT and CDTA in the MPO process.  The roles outlined in the agreement are nothing new; the requirement for a written agreement is now required by the FTA.  Members discussed the agreement and suggested that the word “unanimous” (in the document in two separate places) be stricken and replaced with “consensus among all affected parties…”.  It was also noted that the word “NYSDOT” in the third footnote should be replaced by the word “CDTA”.  CDTA advised the committee that this brief format might not satisfy the federal requirements and that additional review might be necessary.  Members endorsed the agreement, with the noted changes, and directed CDTC to investigate whether it satisfies the federal requirement.




CDTC/NYSDOT Report on Project Implementation


Bob Hansen reported that $93 M of the $98 M in projects have been certified and that many of the projects have been bid.  Many of the bids are coming in lower than expected, accounting for almost $5M in savings.  Given this “savings”, the Albany Port project was submitted to the Governor’s office for certification. Region 1’s set of ARRA projects contains a larger portion of off-system projects than any of the projects sets submitted by the other regions in the state.  A federal auditing committee will be established to monitor progress on all projects, to ensure that the projects meet the rules for ARRA funding.  Glenn Posca reported that the Zim Smith Trail project is double counted in the table that is included in the material mailed to Committee members prior to this meeting. 


Bob Hansen reported on the TIGER grant initiative.  CDTA’s BRT project and a project requesting funds for a bypass track for the CSX yards in Selkirk were submitted from Region 1.  About a dozen projects were submitted statewide; the Governor will endorse all projects on the list. Members moved to accept the report.




Section 5310 Applications


Deborah Stacey briefly summarized the information contained in the mailed material pertaining to the 2009 Section 5310 program.  The Section 5310 program is a federal program administered by NYSDOT and provides funds to human service agencies to purchase vehicles that are used to provide transportation to elderly and disabled clients. The MPO is asked to evaluate the applications and submit their evaluation to an interagency review committee that also evaluates the submittals.  The SAFETEA-LU legislation initiated the requirement that all applications must be consistent with the CDTC’s locally developed, coordinated public transit-human services transportation plan and puts more emphasis on the “coordinated” aspect of the applications.  Eight Section 5310 applications were received from human service agencies located in the Capital District (3-Albany County, 1-Rensselaer County,  1-Saratoga County, 3-Sch’dy County).  The eight applicants are collectively applying for fifteen vehicles at a total cost of $1,082,305.  All eight applicants currently coordinate some services, such as maintenance and driver training.  CDTC staff evaluates the applications using standardized evaluation forms provided by NYSDOT.  An increased emphasis on coordination is new this year.  Members concurred with CDTC evaluations, but noted that the total cost figure on the cover sheet did not match that on the spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet figure is correct and the cover sheet will be changed.





Changes to Draft Project Listings Since July 1, 2009


Glenn Posca reviewed fund source name changes that have occurred since the last TIP was printed.  STP-Safety is now referred to HSIP and STP-Rail is now referred to Rail.  Furthermore, HSIP can be used both highway or rail safety projects; however, CDTC’s TIP makes a distinction between these two labels.  Consequently, CDTC staff will globally replace STP-Rail with “Rail” and STP-Safety with “Safety” in the 2009-14 TIP.


Glenn further noted that TIP Project R265 had double counted some funding requirements and that the new letting target should be changed to $7M with “rail” as the fund source.  Committee members approved the Safety and Rail label change and the change to project R265.


Members were then directed to the information that was previously distributed regarding Editorial Changes to TIP listings (no action required), Minor Changes to Actions Already Taken (action required) and Major Changes to Actions Already Taken (action required).  One additional handout was distributed that noted major changes to existing TIP projects.  With regard to the editorial changes, project SA198 erroneously identifies the construction phase for which funding is to be changed; the phase is ROW; this change moved this project to the list of Minor Changes to Actions Already Taken (action required).  Members reviewed the changes requiring action, including those shown in the handout titled, Additional Changes to the Draft Project Listings and approved all minor and major changes.


Approval of the 2009-10 and 2010-11 Draft FFY 2009-14 TIP Project Listings as Amendments to the 2007-12 TIP


CDTC has made a commitment to completing the 2009-14 update, given that much of the work has already been completed.  Consequently, it was decided that the best approach would be to make changes to the 2009-10 and 2010 -11 TIP Listings by Amendment to reflect the work that has progressed to date.


Steve Iachetta expressed concern about the description of TIP Project A240.  The description states that bridge work on Albany Shaker Road takes priority over the Airport Connector.  NYSDOT responded that several options are being discussed and the timeline has not been set for construction phasing.  It was concluded that this sentence should be removed from the project description.  Members approved the 2009-10 and 2010 -11 listings of the TIP with the description of project A240 changed as discussed above.


CMAQ Funding Status


Members were directed to the summary provided in the previously distributed material that describes the CMAQ Programming issues.  This item is before members as an informational item.  It is feasible that the over-programming of CMAQ will not be an issue if the new federal reauthorization increases the CMAQ allocations.  Members embraced the option of handling CMAQ amendments one at a time and finding offsets on an as needed basis.



Solicitation Letter


Members were directed to the draft TIP project solicitation letter.  Members questioned the need to specify a target funding amount (page 2).  After some discussion, it was suggested that the funding availability be portrayed as an order of magnitude.  It was also recommended to identify the source of the estimate shown in item five.  Members approved the letter as amended.




Tentative Proposed Schedule


Glenn Posca stated that the November 18th date in the schedule was in error and that the date should read November 16th.  Members approved the proposed schedule for CDTC’s 2009-14 TIP Update with this change noted.


Additional Agenda Item—NYSDOT Capital Program Outreach


NYSDOT has asked the MPOs across the state to provide detailed information to representatives from all the towns, counties, villages, and cities about the Capital Program, implications of budget shortfalls and system deterioration.  David Jukins reminded the group that CDTC’s new Visions Plan has already provided this information to the locals.  NYSDOT would like the local governments to send a message to the legislators, reminding them how important it is to keep the transportation system in a state of good repair.  Members suggested drafting a letter to representatives to all 78 municipalities in NYS that outlines the capital needs of the region and identifies the broad based implications of funding shortfalls.  The letter should also serve as an invitation to the September Policy Board meeting where a presentation will be provided by NYSDOT on these issues.





SA220—Stewart Dam Bridge over the Sacandaga


This agenda item was deferred at the July Committee meeting because the cost estimates of replacing the Batchellerville Bridge were being reviewed.  The cost issue related to the Batchellerville Bridge will not be totally addressed for several months.  Consequently, NYSDOT has proposed to delay this project for another few months until cost estimates for the Batchellerville Bridge can be fleshed out.


SA221—Geyser Road Bridge over the D&H RR


This agenda item was deferred at the July Committee meeting because the cost estimates of replacing the Batchellerville Bridge were being reviewed.  NYSDOT has proposed to move project SA220 forward in the meantime.


R279—US 4/Mannix Road Roundabout


NYSDOT would like to advance PE by one year and leave the construction in its current phase.  A roundabout at this location is the preferred alternative, but because of an elevated crash history, intersection work might be done for safety reasons if the roundabout is not in design.  $305,000 in PE and $11,000 Incidentals will be moved to the current year.  Letting targets will be reconciled by NYSDOT.



A479—Western Gateway Speed Table


Members approved the motion to delete this project from the TIP.


A435—ITS Transit Signal Priority


Although no action is necessary, NYSDOT must find an offset unless some of the rules regarding offsets are relaxed.  It is anticipated that FHWA will be revising their guidelines within the next few weeks, which would make this issue disappear.




Discussion Items


NYS MPO Shared Cost Study


David Jukins reviewed the summary of the findings with the group.  The report was generally very positive.  Not surprisingly, some MPO’s have done better than others in certain areas.  CDTC is doing well against all of the criteria listed; CDTC’s Linkage Program was cited as a national example.


NYSERDA/NYSDOT Energy Efficient Transportation System Program


Deborah Stacey quickly reviewed the NYSERDA/NYSDOT Energy Efficient Transportation System Grant Program Opportunity Notice.  This PON seeks proposals that would conduct feasibility studies, demonstrate underutilized strategies and policies or demonstrate underutilized commercial technologies.  TDM, ITS and other strategies are specifically mentioned.  In addition, NYSERDA is particularly interested in proposals that would address anticipated emerging congestion along the I-87 (Northway) corridor.  Proposals are due September 17th.  Deb has been asked to be a part of NYSERDA’s Project Evaluation Team, so additional questions about the PON should be directed to Chris O’Neill (CDTC) or Joe Tario (NYSERDA).


Oberstar Surface Transportation Bill: NYSDOT Preliminary Analysis


Bob Hansen commented on NYSDOT’s preliminary analysis of the Oberstar Transportation bill.  First round figures suggest an increase in funding by as much as 80%.  Several new funding categories are mentioned, more information on the guidelines is needed before the full implications can be identified.


Buckeye Partners Letter to Tim Gilchrist


Representatives from Buckeye Partners attended the meeting to express concern about the Canadian Pacific Railway/Global Partners (CP/Global) project that recently received approval from the Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) for $4.2 million in federal stimulus funding. Buckeye Partners sent a letter to Mr. Gilchrest; members received a copy of the letter in the meeting material.  NYSDOT responded that the Rail Division met with representatives from Buckeye Partners and explained their support for the project since it was included in the NYS Rail Plan.  However, given the priority list and available funds, it is unlikely that their will be sufficient funds available to fund this project.  The representatives of Buckeye were thanked for their comments.


Bids and Lettings


NYSDOT distributed a list of Bids and lettings as a FTYI for members.  The list was not reviewed or discussed.







David Jukins reported that CDTC staff attended the Balltown Road Stakeholder meeting earlier in the week.  Jason Purvis has been working with NYSDOT and NYS Parks on a pedestrian plan for Route 50 near SPAC.  David distributed an outline for CDTC’s Prospectus; John Poorman is working on the update. The process was tested in three locations, the test cases are included in three separate appendices.  The tool was designed for local government.  The developers of the tool would like to know if the tool works and if anything needs to be tweaked.






CDTA’s CFO is retiring.  CDTA has five job openings; descriptions of the jobs are posted on CDTA’s website.  The vanpool pilot, a joint venture between a national vanpool company, VPSI, CDTA, CDTC, and the Downtown Albany Bid is moving along.  The region’s first vanpool has been formed and just began.  The vanpool was formed by a group of Watervliet Arsenal employees who commute from Johnstown to the Arsenal daily.


Thruway Authority


The Thruway just began a night project between Exits 23 and 24.


Albany International Airport


The red checkered water tank at exit 6 is being replaced.  The airport received stimulus funds for this project; only two airports in NYS received stimulus funding, the other being JFK.


City of Watervliet


The city is updating their comprehensive plan.  The new plan is almost half complete and will have a transportation component.




There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 12:35 p.m.  The next Planning Committee meeting is scheduled for October 7th.



Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman