Meeting Minutes

November 5, 2008




Melissa Ashline-Heil, City of Cohoes

Bradley Birge, City of Saratoga Springs

Peter Comenzo, Town of Rotterdam

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

Steve Feeney, Schenectady County

Michael Franchini, Albany County (Chairman)

Robert Hansen, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Bruce Hidley, City of Watervliet

Fred Howard, Rensselaer County

Steve Iachetta, Albany County Airport Authority

Barbara McHugh, Town of Clifton Park

Marybeth Pettit, City of Rensselaer

John Poorman, Capital District Transportation Committee (Secretary)

Tom Richardson, City of Mechanicville

Bill Roehr, City of Troy

Dede Rudolph, City of Albany

Bernie Sisson, City of Schenectady

Mike Valentine, Saratoga County

Steve Watts, Town of Halfmoon

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




Anne Benware, Capital District Transportation Committee

Kathleen Bronson, City of Albany

Jennifer Ceponis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Rob Cherry, NYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Jim Digioia, NYS Office of General Services

Shelly Johnston, Creighton Manning

David Jukins, Capital District Transportation Committee

George Leveille, Town of Bethlehem

Fred Mastroianni, Foit Albert Associates

Cynthia McGrath, NYS Thruway Authority

Chris O’Neill, Capital District Transportation Committee

Glenn Posca, Capital District Transportation Committee

Jason Purvis, Capital District Transportation Committee

Chuck Rapazzo, MYS Department of Transportation Region 1

Paul Reuss, Village of Menands

Deborah Stacey, Capital District Transportation Committee

Mila Vega, Capital District Transportation Authority





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


Action Items




Approval of the October 1, 2008 Meeting Minutes


The meeting notes from the October 1st meeting were approved with one minor correction.  The discussion on page 4 under “Safe Routes to School” indicated that “10% of the safe routes to school projects must be infrastructure projects”.  The wording should have read …”non-infrastructure projects”. Members approved the minutes noting this change.





Spot Improvement Program


CDTC staff presented a ranked evaluation of the Spot Improvement Project proposals.  The evaluation team put forth two evaluation options because the evaluation team had some concerns about several projects.  Option 1’s ranked evaluation considers the review criteria and addresses the concerns that the committee had regarding the eligibility/feasibility of the projects proposed by the Village of Altamont, City of Saratoga Springs, Town of Malta and Town of Niskayuna.  Option 2 shows the proposal rankings that resulted from strict adherence to the evaluation criteria.


Members reviewed the concerns that the evaluation committee identified for four of the projects and determined that the Village of Altamont’s project is the only project that should drop off the list.  This determination was made because there is public opposition to the project and the Village indicated that they would not go forth with that specific project if funding were received.  Consequently, members suggested that the Option 2 evaluation rankings be used, and that the Altamont project be replaced by the next highest ranked proposal.


Two projects next on the list were virtually tied in rank—the city of Schenectady’s  Seneca Street project and the Nott Street project.  For jurisdictional balance, the Committee members proposed funding the Seneca Street project.  Members formally put forth option 3 as a motion—to fund the top five projects shown in the Option 2 evaluation and to replace the Altamont project with the Seneca Street project.  Members approved the motion with Mike Valentine abstaining.


Saratoga Bus Garage Feasibility Study


CDTA received an earmark ($245,000) to undertake a feasibility study for the construction of a CDTA bus garage in Saratoga County. CDTA will provide the 20% match for the project, bringing the total project cost to $306,250.  CDTA would like to move the project forward, but it must appear in the TIP and STIP before they can do so.  Members approved this addition to the TIP.


Project A479 Western Gateway Speed Table


Project A479 on the TIP is a City of Cohoes project that was programmed to install a speed table between Cohoes High School Alleyway and a bus stop on the south side of Columbia Street.  The purpose of the speed table is to reduce traffic speeds, reduce conflict and provide a safer crosswalk for students.  The city’s traffic commission chairman has reviewed the project and has concluded that a speed table would not be the best alternative for the city at this time, and that a stamped crosswalk would more than meet the goals of the original project while addressing emergency vehicle issues introduced by the installation of a speed table.  The city would like to change the treatment of TIP project A479 to construct a stamped crosswalk rather than a speed table.  Members questioned the city on the merits of both the speed table and stamped crosswalk and did not agree that a stamped crosswalk would have the same benefits of a speed table.  Members took no action on this request.



Discussion Items




Chris O’Neill attended the “Beyond the Gas Tax—Funding Future Transportation Needs” Symposium.  Chris reported that this symposium clearly outlined the looming funding crisis due to the inadequacy of the gas tax to fund much need transportation infrastructure projects. Several speakers at the symposium mentioned the option of charging a mileage fee which could be collected as part of the vehicle registration process.  Other speakers mentioned the attractiveness of congestion pricing and toll structures that increase tolls during peak periods.  HOT lanes (High-Occupancy Toll lanes) were mentioned by a number of speakers as being successful and well accepted by the public.  While congestion pricing and HOT lanes are meritorious, they are not considered to be appropriate for generating the magnitude of funding needed for highway infrastructure.  (Although not mentioned at the conference, congestion pricing could be considered for providing transit funding.)  One presenter suggested that the public would be more supportive of “green” taxes than traditional taxes, where registration fees were decreased for vehicles with good fuel economy. 




Mila Vega from CDTA provided a brief overview of the Transportation Demand Management Initiatives (TDM) that have been undertaken by CDTA and CDTC staff over the past several years.  These include pilot transit subsidy programs, occasional use parking, homeownership initiatives and marketing to make transit more attractive.  CDTA and CDTC staffs have recently worked on converting the Commuter Register website to a GIS based, instant matching site, powered by GreenRide.  The new site, called iPool2, is very robust and offers many features that have not been offered in the past, including and employer module. CDTA and CDTC staff will continue their TDM efforts over the next year, which might include a pilot vanpool program if CDTA is awarded funding through NYSERDA.




2009-14 Program Update


NYSDOT Region 1 has proposed using the statewide formulas at the Regional level to provide funding estimates for the CDTC, AGFTC and rural areas.  Allocations based on this approach are summarized in the table that was included in members’ mailout material.


John Poorman reviewed the table enclosed in the mailout. Monies were taken off the top of the NHS funding allocation for projects of statewide significance (there are no projects of statewide significance in the CDTC region). The various columns in the table represent different ways of calculating CDTC’s portion of the 8 county Region 1 allocations.  As reflected in the table, there could be a big increase in HBRR for the CDTC region and a big decrease in Surface Transportation Program funds. STP is the fund source that is most flexible for programming at the CDTC table.


No matter how project costs are accounted for in the committed period, under “new” fiscal constraint requirements if a project rolls into the new period “offsets” need to be found once the obligation ceiling is reached.  Mr. Poorman indicated that this makes it difficult to keep the program whole.  It will be difficult to try to fund new projects while at the same time deleting existing projects because of the fiscal constraint approach described above.  Project schedules, cost increases, etc. need to be scrutinized to sort out what monies will be actually become available to entertain new projects, if any. 


In light of this discussion, a December 2008 Planning Committee meeting was scheduled for December 3rd.


Kristina Younger pointed out the NYSDOT guidance for the TIP did not include any information on transit funding. Chuck Rappazzo pointed out that they will find out within the next week or so if there will be funding available.


Bids and Lettings


There have been no lettings since August 14, 2008. A list of upcoming lettings was distributed with the largest of these being the Batchellerville Bridge followed by the Route 4 bridge over the

D & H Railroad in the Town of Halfmoon. 


Bob Hansen reported that the Governor sent a letter to NYSDOT stating that any projects with 100% state funding or less than 75% federal funding cannot be bid/let without prior approval from the NYS Division of Budget.


Rail Projects Listing


CDTC staff reviewed the listing of Proposed 2008 Rail Projects, as shown in the table distributed at the meeting.  Dave Jukins asked members to review the listing and provide feedback to CDTC staff Comments will be summarized and forwarded to Rob Cherry at NYSDOT Region 1 Planning.  As shown in the table, there is more demand for projects than funding available. Planning Committee action is not required.  The Schenectady Intermodal Station is one important regional project on the list; CDTA submitted a proposal jointly with the Metroplex Authority to fill a funding gap. 


John Poorman suggested that CDTC as a group should convey any concerns regarding incompatibility of listed projects with local or regional plans, including New Visions.  Steve Feeney pointed out that the Scotia project listed may be in an aquifer recharge area and depending on the details may present an opportunity to complete the Scrafford’s crossing for the Mohawk Hudson Bike Hike Trail.  Rob Cherry responded that it is currently unknown whether or not there are additional monies to provide more holistic projects such as the one Steve referenced.







Todd Fabozzi reported that interviews with local planning board chair people and professional planning staffs have been completed. The Sustainable Development Guides report will highlight projects from around the region that have aspects of smart growth.  An initial list is being compiled. Todd requested that members forward information on projects that they would like to see highlighted in the “Sustainable Development Guides” report.





Kristina Younger reported that the CDTA Board is currently looking at ways to reduce the deficit projected for the next fiscal year.  The Board will be going to the public regarding fare increases, which have not been raised since 1995.  The base fare of $1 is proposed to be increased to $1.50 with corresponding increases in all other fare products.  This would also include increases for parking fees at the Rensselaer Rail Station and an across the board 50% increase in Northway Express fares.  Public hearings on this issue will be held December 1st in Saratoga, December 2nd in Rensselaer/Troy, December 4th in Albany and December 8th in Schenectady. 


CDTA is simultaneously faced with the need to trim existing services, with the goal of reducing 35,000 vehicle hours of service to trim costs. 




Bob Hansen reported that there will be a need for over $10 million for the Marchiselli program between now and March 2010. Without it there could be a shortfall in the program.


The roundabout project proposed for Niskayuna Rd/Old Wolf Rd is running into some archeological issues that need to be resolved.




Steve Iachetta announced the roll out of Southwest Airlines “50 Ways to Leave Your Weather” advertising campaign.  He stated that the number of passengers using the Airport has been quite steady.  A pilot project between NYSERDA, CDTA and the Airport will commence shortly.  The AIA and CDTA will both receive hydrogen vehicles to test; the fueling infrastructure will be housed on Airport grounds.





NYSDOT and CDTC’s Transportation Enhancement Program evaluations were submitted separately to the statewide review committee for their consideration.  In comparing the rankings from DOT and the CDTC, there is quite a bit of variation. The two lists should not have much divergence as both evaluations were based on sets of criteria are basically the same.  Marybeth Petit noted that the City of Rensselaer is very concerned about their project’s low ranking on the DOT list and wants to be assured that the information provided regarding the ROW was considered by DOT in evaluating the proposal.  Bob Hansen and John Poorman agreed that the discrepancy in the evaluation process needs to be fixed, but that discussions have to include the NYSDOT Main Office.  Committee members requested a copy of the list that NYSDOT submitted to the statewide review committee.



The December Policy Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday December 4th at 3:00 pm.  Mike Fleischer, the NYSTA executive Director, will give a presentation on the Thruway’s modernization plans.


There being no other business, the meeting was adjourned at 11:40 a.m. 


Respectfully submitted,





John P. Poorman