CENTRE AREA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY
BOARD WORK SESSION
March 18, 2008
CATA BOARD ROOM
2081 W. Whitehall Road, State College, PA 16801
BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: John Spychalski, Chairman
Joe Davidson, Vice-Chairman
Richard Kipp, Treasurer
STAFF PRESENT: Hugh Mose, General Manager
Judith Minor, Director of Administration
Joe Gilbert, Director of Transportation
Sherry Snyder, Assistant Director of Transportation
Eric Bernier, Service Development Manager
Jackie Sheader, Marketing Manager
Dina Ruggiero, Executive Assistant
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Spychalski called the meeting to order at 4:18 PM noting that Ms. Bittner would be arriving late.
There were no public comments.
FY 2008/2009 PRELIMINARY DRAFT BUDGET
Hugh Mose began the meeting by indicating that he had prepared a memo to the Board outlining the preliminary draft Budget items for FY 2008/2009. In addition, staff had prepared information regarding several “policy issues” that the Board will need to discuss. Additionally, he noted that Judi Minor had prepared the preliminary five page budget and a cover memo identifying line items with significant changes from the current year.
Fares - Hugh Mose reconfirmed with the Board that fares for FY 2008/2009 will remain the same, as decided at the January Work Session.
Penn State - Eric Bernier provided an overview of the service changes being discussed with Penn State regarding the extension of LINK service to the new Law School and other destinations north of Park Avenue. The many options on how to develop the new service were discussed. There was also discussion regarding an inflationary increase in the Penn State hourly rate.
Apartment Contracts - Eric Bernier, Judi Minor and Hugh Mose provided information to the Board pertaining to how the apartment contracts are negotiated and how ridership is reported to those complexes, and explained that the program continues to be highly productive.
Exterior Bus Advertising – It had been decided at the January Work Session to maintain the status quo of only selling interior bus advertising. Hugh Mose explained that College Township has a very strong interest in exterior bus advertising and that the topic should be discussed further. Jackie Sheader provided a report on the general issues that are to be considered when discussing the issue of exterior advertising, which included: community philosophy, aesthetics, other municipal and Penn State support, content approval, maintenance and safety concerns. There is also an agreement with Penn State that states that we are required to have the University’s approval of any exterior advertising assigned to buses that run on campus. The agreement also states that the University will be provided an opportunity to negotiate a percentage of any such revenue. Hugh Mose explained how the agreement came about and Judi Minor explained that the provision is part of a three year contract, noting that several aspects of the contract are negotiated on a yearly basis. Richard Kipp offered the suggestion of researching the benefits of increased billboard advertising on main thoroughfares. Jackie explained that after further research, the revenue estimate given at the January Work session proved to be extremely liberal based on comparable transit systems. The pros and cons of advertising in the bus shelters were also discussed, as was the issue of advertising content. It was the Board’s consensus to continue the status quo at this time, noting that substantial work and research had been put into the decision. Formal action will be taken at the next regular Board meeting.
Local Share – Hugh Mose gave a brief explanation of local shares. Hugh reiterated that the Board had decided at the January Work Session to not request an increase. Hugh noted that College Township apparently feels CATA was “irresponsible” for not requesting an increase. Hugh explained that CATA is planning this year to ask for $60,000 for the capital fund, which is the same amount as last year, noting that there is a significant change in the way future capital local shares will be calculated. The formula capital component of Act 44 does not have a local share requirement. This means that CATA will not need a local share component for purchases made with those dollars.
Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap – Hugh Mose explained that Bellefonte Borough has decided this year to increase their local share by 5%. The Board discussed the pros and cons of restoring the old midday route versus adding one or more additional trips. There was brief discussion regarding the difficulties imposed by using the Miller Formula, and it was suggested that in the future, the COG Formula might be a preferable approach.
Act 44 – Hugh Mose gave an overview on how Act 44 has increased CATA’s state operating assistance. Hugh also noted that due to the uncertainties of the underlying funding of Act 44, CATA’s approach on both the budget and in service development needs to be conservative.
FTA Section 5307 Formula Funding – Hugh Mose explained that at the end of the Fiscal Year 2007/2008, CATA will carry-forward approximately $1.4 million, and based on the amount of new funds anticipated in FY 2008/2009, CATA should have around $3.0 million available for the upcoming year. Staff recommends that the Board designate $500,000 for program expansion and set the rest aside for an operating reserve and future capital. Hugh presented a brief summary to the Board with details pertaining to the way the money could be allocated. The Board was in consensus with staff’s recommendation.
Congestion Management Air Quality (CMAQ) – Hugh Mose conveyed that CATA anticipates receiving a share of the CMAQ funds for Fiscal Year 2008/2009. However, instead of soliciting project applications, a set aside approach is being considered by the CCMPO.
New Federal Programs – Hugh Mose explained that there are several new federal programs that CATA may be eligible to receive funds from. However, none of these have been accounted for in the budget.
Hugh Mose gave a brief description to the Board on each of the new programs being considered for Fiscal Year 2008/2009: transportation coordination study, regional commuter bus service, local “buy-down” of transit fares, maintenance facility expansion, same day ADA paratransit service, North Atherton corridor evaluation, the re-branding project and the possible acquisition of used buses from LYNX in Orlando.
CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM
Hugh Mose gave a brief recap of current capital projects for Fiscal Year 2008/2009: replacement buses, bus refurbishment, paratransit vans, vanpool vans, service vehicles, CNG compressor upgrade/replacement, shelters and other stop improvements, bus washer rebuilding, Schlow Library office streetscape, Cato Park facility upgrades, fuel systems upgrades, APTS system (Phase I), APTS system (Phase II) and office, shop and maintenance equipment.
SERVICE CHANGE CONCEPTS FOR FY 2008/2009
Eric Bernier presented the Board with new service change concepts for Fiscal Year 2008/2009 along with a breakdown of how the service will be implemented. Formal action for the service concepts will be asked for at the regular scheduled Board meeting in April.
PRELIMINARY DRAFT BUDGET
Judi Minor provided a memo to the Board with line items with significant changes from the current budget. Judi went through the memo and gave a brief explanation of each item. Judi noted that the budget will be revised based on the expansion of service and the addition of staff positions. Formal action to adopt the preliminary draft budget will be asked for at the next regular Board meeting.
With no further discussion, Chairman Spychalski adjourned the meeting at 8:05 PM.
The Board reconvened for an Executive Session to discuss staffing issues and labor negotiations.