GTC Planning Committee - Minutes

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Henrietta Town Hall

March 6, 2003


James Brady, Wayne County Highway Department

Kevin Crerand, Monroe County At Large

Joan Dupont, NYSDOT Region 4

Stephen Ferranti, Monroe County At Large

Steve Hendershott, Monroe County Supervisors Association

Timothy Hens, Genesee County Highway Department

Paul Johnson, Monroe County Planning Department

Charles Nesbitt, Jr., Empire State Development Corporation

George Stam, City of Rochester

Larry Stid, City of Rochester

William Sullivan, Rochester City Council

David Woods, Livingston County Planning Department

David Zorn, G/FLRPC

Wayne Zyra, Monroe County Legislator


Mark Anduze, representing Richard Garrabrant, NYS Thruway Authority

David Cook, representing Don Riley, RGRTA

Angelis Ellis, representing Kristen Mark Hughes, Ontario County Planning Department

Timothy Frelier, representing Terrence J. Rice, Monroe County DOT


Tony DImperio, Clarion News Staff

Deborah Elliott, GTC Staff

Erik Frisch, GTC Staff

Steve Gleason, GTC Staff

Charles Guidice, Livingston County News

Marvin Kleinberg, NYSDOT Region 4

Scott Leathersich, Monroe County

Jeff Lurie, Monroe County Legislature

Larissa Masny, Monroe County Legislature

Louise Michaud, Mount Morris

James V. Murray, Mayor, Village of Mount Morris

Rob Slaver, NYSDOT Region 4

Jim Olverd, Mount Morris Town Supervisor

James Stack, GTC Staff

John Thomas, City of Rochester


S. William Baker, US EPA

Philip Brito, FAA

Donald Cooley, Orleans County Highway Department

John T. Hicks, NYS Dept of Environmental Conservation

Jonathan McDade, FHWA

Mark A. Sawyer, Seneca County Planning Department

Thomas Skoglund, Wyoming County Planning Department

Clara Wallace-Douglas, FTA

1. Call to Order

David Woods called the meeting to order at 9:03 a.m.

2.                 Public Forum

No public comment was offered.

3.                 Planning Committee Action Items

a. Approval of DRAFT 2003-2008 Transportation Improvement Program Project Lists for Public Review

Steve Gleason noted that the GTC Planning Committee deferred action on the TIP project list for public review at its February 20th meeting to enable the TIP Development Committee (TDC) to revisit funding for the Rochester Central Station (RCS) project and the issue of cost increases on existing TIP projects.

The TDC met on March 3rd to discuss these issues and unanimously recommended a revised TIP project list for Planning Committee consideration. Steve Gleason reviewed the components of the changes to the TIP list recommended by the TDC.

RGRTA, Monroe County, NYSDOT, and the City of Rochester all agreed to put some of their TIP projects on the table in order to generate $30 million of funding for the RCS project.

George Stam noted that at the March 3rd TDC meeting, RGRTA committed to not seek any more funding out of the TIP beyond what was agreed to that day, and to adhere to the $58.5 million project budget. If additional TIP funds become available, then the highway projects that were deferred should be given priority for these funds.

Joan Dupont noted that the original RCS funding request fell within the first three years of the TIP update, but drawing all the funding from the first three years would involve deferring existing TIP projects. David Woods asked if this solution requires a five-year TIP versus the three-year TIP proposed by NYSDOT. Joan said that this is not necessarily the case, and NYSDOT is looking at possible ways to address this within a three-year TIP.

Steve Gleason noted that at this point, conceptual agreement on the list of TIP projects for public review is being sought, and the funding allocation by year will be determined later.

Scott Leathersich stated that if funding does not come for the Monroe County and City of Rochester highway projects before the next TIP cycle, then they should be funded in the next TIP, like the existing projects were treated this cycle.

Paul Johnson asked about the source and timing of the funds for RCS. David Cook responded that RGRTA would work with the congressional delegation to secure the additional $16.5 million needed through the reauthorization of TEA-21. And, since some of the TIP funds are in the last two years of the TIP, they may require some advanced funding techniques to make the funds available earlier.

Larry Stid asked about the status and feasibility of the RCS project, particularly since a development partner has yet to be identified. He also expressed concern about the on-going maintenance of the project.

David Cook responded that RGRTA is wrapping up the Preliminary Engineering, has developed a firm cost estimate, and EIS documents are currently under FTA review. RGRTA is working with potential developers on a partnership.

Steve Hendershott noted that the only changes to the TIP project list from that reviewed by the Planning Committee on February 20th were the changes related to adding the RCS project. He still has concerns about the impact of cost increases on existing projects in the new TIP.

Steve Hendershott is concerned that funding significant increases on existing projects and takes away from the intent of the TIP, which is to fund new projects. For this reason, he objects to the process and believes that deferring action until the next TIP cycle is not acceptable.

Bill Sullivan noted that the Rochester City Council is supportive of the transit center concept. However, he expressed concern about diverting funding from existing projects when previous representations to the City indicated that the RCS project would be funded with entirely new funds to the region.

David Cook explained that RGRTA did not originally anticipate needing to seek additional funds through the TIP. However, because the new funds that they anticipated did not materialize and the current state of the economy, they needed to rethink their approach starting with their own resources.

Bill Sullivan responded that the City could not support this approach until some clarification is provided regarding the new funding strategy.

George Stam expressed his continued concern about deferring current RGRTA TIP projects with the hopes that $16.5 million will become available. These are projects that RGRTA needs and were already programmed in the TIP. He added that it is not a good approach for a project that has very speculative and tentative aspects to it, especially since no developer has been named yet.

George Stam moved to approve the DRAFT 2003-2008 Transportation Improvement Program Update project lists for Public Review presented at the February 20, 2003 Planning Committee meeting. Bill Sullivan seconded.

David Woods called for discussion.

Kevin Crerand noted that the RCS project has been moving forward. Monroe County supports it, the City supports it, and it has the potential to benefit downtown and the community as a whole. He stated that some risk needs to be taken. If we can approve the List of projects presented on the Agenda today, it sends a strong message to our congressional delegation, increasing the likelihood of receiving the additional federal funding support.

Larry Stid reiterated the need to answer the questions raised about the project instead of disrupting the TIP. Bill Sullivan reiterated that the Citys concerns do not represent withdrawal of support for the project, but he stated that this is a major change in the funding plan and he has not had time to review it with his principals.

Scott Leathersich recalled that the TDC discussed that if the remaining $16.5 million is not secured, the funds allocated through the TIP to RCS could be reprogrammed.

Paul Johnson asked whether a time limit could be put on how long the funds can be tied up for the project.

There was a general discussion about the timing of reauthorization and the likelihood that additional funds can be secured. No conclusion was reached.

David Woods called for a vote on the motion. There were 4 in favor, 11 opposed, and 2 abstentions.

David Woods then asked if there was an alternate motion.

Kevin Crerand moved to approve the DRAFT 2003-2008 Transportation Improvement Program Update project lists for Public Review that was distributed at the meeting. David Cook seconded.

Steve Hendershott moved to amend this motion by removing project proposal numbers 02-56, 126, 129, and 130 (totaling $28.4 million in federal funds) and adding project proposal numbers 02- 06, 09, 12, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, 49, 77, and 78 (totaling $28.1 million in federal funds), with the balance of $340,680 in federal funds allocated to the RCS project. Wayne Zyra seconded for discussion purposes.

David Woods called for discussion.

Steve Hendershott noted that his amendment removes the cost increases on existing projects and reallocates the funds to new projects.

There was a general discussion about the projects that would be impacted by this amendment. Joan Dupont noted that the funds on some of the projects he proposes to remove are restricted in their use and cannot necessarily be applied to the new projects he suggests. George Stam noted that the amendment also negates several months of work by the TDC.

David Woods called for a vote on the motion made by Steve Hendershott. There was 1 in favor, 11 opposed, and 5 abstentions.

David Woods returned the discussion to the original motion.

George Stam requested that some of the conditions identified at the beginning of the meeting concerning TIP funding for the RCS project be formalized and reflected in the minutes. The Committee reviewed these conditions and agreed that the following should be included in the minutes:

        RGRTA will not seek additional funding for RCS through the TIP beyond what is included in the draft TIP project list presented at the meeting

        If funding does not come for the highway projects offered up by Monroe County and the City of Rochester before the next TIP cycle, then they should be funded in the next TIP Update like existing projects were treated this cycle

        The recommendation as currently structured requires a five-year TIP, not a three-year TIP

        RGRTA commits to build the RCS project within the $58.5 million cost estimate

Joan Dupont questioned whether a five-year TIP is necessary to achieve this, and suggested that that it may be achievable with a three-year TIP.

David Cook acknowledged that RGRTA is committed to delivering the RCS project for $58.5 million; however, there is always the possibility that unanticipated issues may arise. He reiterated that RGRTA will not come back to the TIP for additional funding and they do intend to build the project for $58.5 million.

A general discussion ensued and it was agreed that the project funds could be held until TEA-21 reauthorization occurs or the next TIP update beginning in 18 months, whichever occurs first.

David Woods called for a vote on the motion made by Kevin Crerand. There were 12 in favor and 5 opposed.

Steve Gleason reviewed the TIP Development Schedule.

Scott Leathersich asked for clarification whether the Planning Committee has taken a position on a three-year versus five-year TIP. Steve responded that the TDC voted to continue developing a five-year TIP at its February 6th meeting and the Planning Committee concurred at its February 20th meeting. Joan Dupont stated that NYSDOT does not plan to ask the GTC Board to vote on the NYSDOT request to program a three-year TIP at the March 13th meeting.

b.     Discussion of the impact of cost increases on existing projects on the TIP

Steve Gleason mentioned that there was extensive discussion at the TDC on the impact of cost increases on existing TIP projects in the context of the discussion about funding the RCS project. He noted that no conclusion was reached, however, the TDC requested that GTC staff develop a brief proposal for how cost increases and schedule changes on existing TIP projects could be better managed in the future.

He then distributed and reviewed a one-page proposal for Committee consideration.

John Thomas noted the need to conduct a historical review of TIP amendments to determine their cause. Wayne Zyra noted the magnitude of some cost increase suggests that perhaps a cost-benefit analysis may be warranted before approving amendments.

Joan Dupont distributed and reviewed a recap of NYSDOT amendment requests and their causes, noting that very few of them are cost overruns.

David Woods and Scott Leathersich noted that it is important to define the terms used for the various phases of project development.

David Woods asked about next steps and costs.

Steve Gleason said that the proposal first needs to be fully developed based on feedback from the Committee. Staff is recommending that an independent professional entity be brought on board to perform the work in order to bring new perspectives and ensure objectivity. Staff expects this could cost $75,000 to $100,000 to do properly, and identified a number of potential funding sources.

David Woods suggested staff bring a full proposal to the Planning Committee in April. Board action to amend the UPWP could occur in June.

4.                 Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 10:33.