Board Transportation Committee (BTC) Meeting
Date: June 25, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Rooms 9 & 10, Government Center
- Approval of the Minutes of the May 17, 2013 Meeting
- Dulles Metrorail Silver Line: Phase 1 and 2 Status and Funding Updates - Mark Canale (FCDOT), Len Wales (DMB), and Joe LaHait (DMB)
- Transportation Funding: Implementing HB 2313, Funding Process, Benefit Cost Analysis, Public Outreach - Tom Biesiadny, Noelle Dominguez, and Ken Kanownik (FCDOT)
- I-66 Environmental Impact Study - Tom Biesiadny, Leonard Wolfenstein, and Noelle Dominguez (FCDOT)
- Countywide Transit Network Study - Dan Rathbone, Leonard Wolfenstein, and Tom Burke (FCDOT)
- Next Steps for Urban Street Standards - Eric Teitelman (FCDOT)
- Study of Route 1 Transit Options - Leonard Wolfenstein (FCDOT)
- Scope of Work and Cost Estimates for Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Improvement Study - Dan Rathbone, Leonard Wolfenstein, and Bob Kuhns (FCDOT)
- Agreement with Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) on Snow Removal on County Maintained Roads - James Patteson (DPWES)
- New Business
Members in Attendance
Supervisor Jeff McKay, Chair Chairman Sharon Bulova (via telephone for medical reasons), Supervisor John Cook, Supervisor John Foust, Supervisor Michael Frey, Supervisor Pat Herrity, Supervisor Catherine Hudgins, Supervisor Gerald Hyland
Supervisor Penny Gross
Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) Members in Attendance
Ed Tennyson, Ann Pimley
Edward L. Long Jr.
Call to Order
Supervisor McKay called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m.
Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
Supervisor McKay started the meeting by announcing that, in accordance with Va. Code Section 2.2 - 3708.1, Chairman Bulova notified the Chair of the Transportation Committee that she was unable to attend the Committee meeting due to a temporary medical condition that prevented her from attending and that she would be participating from a remote location, her private residence.
There were no comments on the May 7, 2013, Board Transportation Committee meeting. Supervisor McKay stated that the meeting minutes would be approved later.
Dulles Metrorail Silver Line: Phase 1 and 2 Status and Funding Updates
Tom Biesiadny, Director, Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT); Mark Canale, Dulles Rail Coordinator (FCDOT); and Joe LaHait, County Debt Coordinator, Department of Management and Budget (DMB), briefed the Board on the status of the Dulles Rail project.
Mr. Canale gave an update on Phase 1 and 2. Supervisor McKay asked if all the stations are covered and not enclosed. Mr. Canale answered yes.
Supervisor Hyland asked why construction takes five years, whether it could be done sooner, and the reasons for taking so long to complete the project. Mr. Canale responded that there were significant utility relocations, right-of-way acquisition, roadway maintenance of traffic requirements and construction within the vicinity of an active toll road. Also multiple agencies were working on this project. Supervisor McKay asked about the sponsor for the arts appearing at the Metro stations. Mr. Canale responded that the sponsor is Metro. Todd Wigglesworth, FCDOT, clarified that funding for the "Arts in Transit" is coming out of the project's budget and not from Metro. However, Metro is selecting the specific artwork. Supervisor McKay stated that the County needs to find a way to fund art projects and have an art plan for every Metrorail station in Fairfax County.
Supervisor Hudgins agreed and asked a question about the incentive for the contractor to finish the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) project sooner than expected. Mr. Canale replied that there were incentives in Phase 1 and that has not issued a notice to proceed for Phase 2 yet. The contractor has 120 days to issue a schedule after that notice.
Supervisor Foust asked when the Phase 2 special exceptions were to be filed. Mr. Canale replied that they will be filed next year. Supervisor Foust asked about the status of the applications for Section 15.2-2232 for Phase 2. Mr. Canale responded that they are being prepared, but some elements (i.e. the Innovation Station garage) might be filed as a separate project. Next year, MWAA will file a joint rezoning for the Route 28 Station, the pavilion, and Kiss-and-Ride lots. Supervisor Foust stated that the project team should not wait on these issues and complete applications done sooner.
Supervisor Foust asked about the status of revenue operations date of December 31, 2013, and whether the date is still accurate. Mr. Canale replied that it is the projected date, but Metro has 90 days after notice of completion to set the operation date. Metro has set a budget for December, and they will incur operating costs if they pass the December 31 date. Metro has not officially set the operation date yet. Supervisor Foust asked when Metro will set the date. Mr. Biesiadny stated that substantial completion is scheduled in September, and Metro will not set the date prior to September 9, 2013.
Chairman Bulova asked that if the passenger service start date was delayed for a couple weeks and started in January of 2014 (rather than December 31, 2013), what would be the financial significance of those few weeks to Metro. Mr. Biesiadny replied that Metro's fiscal year starts on July 1, and it is not a big impact to their budget, but Metro does have the incentives to start the service on schedule. Mr. Canale stated that there is no official date yet, but Metro has not wavered from the December 31 date.
Chairman Bulova stated that if the delay is a couple weeks for Metro to ensure safety for passengers, then it is acceptable. Supervisor Hudgins stated that it is important that all standards are met before service starts.
Supervisor Smyth suggested waiting and seeing how the arts will look on the Silver Line before we ask for arts in every station.
Mr. LaHait provided the update on the financial status and stated that Phase 2 Tax District and the Commercial and Industrial (C&I) funds both have received "AA" bond ratings. Staff will be completing the necessary documentation for a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan application.
Transportation Funding: Implementing HB 2313, Funding Process, Benefit Cost Analysis, Public Outreach
On implementing HB 2313, Mr. Biesiadny provided background on the General Assembly, the NVTA, the Board retreat, the funding process, the benefit cost analysis, and working with the Transportation Advisory Commission (TAC) and extended TAC to develop a public outreach strategy.
Noelle Dominguez, FCDOT, gave the update on HB 2313, including the statewide and regional provisions. The Board suggested staff provide funding of the previous two years (FY2012 and FY2013) and the annual revenue projections (on page 10 of the PowerPoint presentation) for comparison before the HB2313 bill.
Mr. Biesiadny continued with the history of the NVTA. Ray Johnson, FCDOT, updated the Board on the funding allocation policy. Supervisor Hyland noted that the graphic on the overview of the revenue allocation slide illustrates equal revenue. Mr. Biesiadny replied that it was only for demonstration purpose.
Ken Kanownik, FCDOT, continued with the Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) preliminary results.
Chairman Bulova congratulated staff on the work well done and announced an NVTA public open house meeting on June 26. She mentioned that the public dialogue last year prepared the County well for the General Assembly. Chairman Bulova cautioned that the County needs to be careful not to confuse the public, and discussed the need to coordinate to keep things in context about the new funding for NVTA. She complimented the BCA process and stated it is something to discuss with the public.
Supervisor Hyland raised a question about the benefit/cost of the benefit cost analysis. He believed that staff has the capability to do all of the work and asked for a reason to bring in the consultant. Mr. Biesiadny responded that a consultant is needed to develop the County's own model based on different sources nationwide. Mr. Kanownik also responded that additional staff was needed to meet the tight deadline.
Supervisor Hyland asked about the affect of the BCA results on project prioritization decisions and the comparison between large and small projects. Mr. Biesiadny responded that there are many external factors that cannot be assessed through the BCA model, and this does not negate discussions that the Board will have. He also stated that if the citizens do not show support for a project, then it should not move forward. Supervisor McKay added that the BCA is just a tool and information, and did not want the public to get lost on the details and lose focus on the overall view. He raised a concern about the BCA model which may have added costs to the projects and the amount of time that staff needs to update the model. Mr. Biesiadny said that updating the BCA model is a straight forward process; the cost estimates and traffic counts are needed for other projects. He did not envision that the BCA model needs to be updated very often.
Supervisor Smyth was concerned with widening projects like Route 29, Route 50, and I-66 going through her district and the disruptions on people's homes and lives; how the pedestrian and biking projects coordinate with the widening of Route 50; and the unfunded projects. Mr. Biesiadny responded that there are a lot of external factors, and staff is not recommending that the Board fund these projects right now.
Supervisor Hudgins asked about the factors of transit projects. Mr. Biesiadny responded that the model considered travel time saving, congestion mitigation, and air quality. Supervisor Hudgins stated that the County needs to have more aggressive outreach efforts, and need to encourage input from people.
Supervisor Foust stated that he was concerned by some of the high BCA ratios while many other factors are not included in the BCA model. He asked why the Route 7 bridge was a study only. Mr. Biesiadny responded that VDOT is looking at options on how to move the project forward, and it is not funded yet. Supervisor Foust asked questions about projects in his district like Route 7, Route 123 at Great Falls Road, and Lewinsville Road, and stated that they are very important and must be funded.
Supervisor Cook stated that the State bill does have some restrictions and asked staff to keep the Board informed about following State rules. He suggested coordinating with citizens' interest groups for their expertise (i.e. Bob Chase's group). The Board needs to develop an annual process before the Chairman goes to the NVTA to vote on funding. Supervisor McKay agreed that the County plan needs to be consistent with the NVTA plan.
Supervisor Frey cautioned that showing a project like Stringfellow Road, which does not have a better BCA ratio, and people who lost their homes due to this project, will be upset and use this model to make their case. He stated that the smaller projects do not fare well, compared to the bigger projects.
Supervisor McKay concurred and stated that staff needs to be careful about how to communicate to the public, because the public could use the model against the County.
Supervisor Herrity stated that the BCA is only one factor, but it is a very critical tool. He cited the benefits of the BCA model. Supervisor McKay concurred and added that the problems are with the criteria put in the model and how to use the analysis to get projects done. Supervisor Herrity stated that the model's name should be Cost Benefit Analysis. Supervisor Herrity stated that the County has to use its transportation dollars responsible. He wanted to add the words "economic development" on page 50, and "parallel facilities" on page 54 of the PowerPoint presentation.
Supervisor Hyland asked about the cost for the consultant; the cost of the model of other jurisdictions, and how they use the model and the results; and any additional factors that they included in their model. He asked how the County is going to tell the public about the other factors that will be used in the model and how to communicate that to them. He stated that transit on Route 1 is not even mentioned in the project list.
I-66 Environmental Impact Study (EIS)
Mr. Biesiadny stated that previously, the Board had reviewed and approved comments on the Tier I EIS study for I-66 corridor and sent comments to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). The CTB reviewed the comments and included most of the proposed solutions in the Tier II analysis. However, none of the alternatives include rail options. Staff has drafted a letter for the Board to send to the Commonwealth Transportation Secretary to reconsider the rail options in the Tier II analysis.
Leonard Wolfenstein, FDOT, provided the details of the letter asking the CTB to rescind the resolution and reopen the Tier I EIS process. He stated that the County has not received any responses from VDOT/DRPT on it Tier I EIS comments.
Ms. Dominguez stated that the NVTA approved a similar letter last week. Fairfax and Prince William Counties are directly impacted by this process.
Supervisor Smyth stated the Request for Information (RFI) would maintain right-of-way (ROW). Andy Beacher, VDOT, informed that the RFI will be released today to solicit input from private sources, and look for ways to ensure that Metro would not be precluded.
Supervisor Hudgins asked about the role that Fairfax County can take after the CTB action. Mr. Wolfenstein responded that it is not clear on how that process works. Mr. Biesiadny stated that we are not clear why rail options were removed from the Tier II study.
Chairman Bulova stated that she strongly endorsed sending this letter to the CTB to ask them to put the rail options on the table.
Supervisory Frey stated that he did not want to see Route 28/I-66 Interchange get bogged down because it was seen as an extension of Metrorail and years of EIS study and money wasted as part of a Tier II EIS. He wanted to move forward with Tier II. He stated that the County has not figured out how the County will pay for the Metrorail by December.
Supervisor McKay stated that the letter mentioned the options like Metro, VRE or BRT. Mr. Biesiadny replied that VRE analysis is not included, but the ROW is there. The VRE option is a straight forward project, and it will pave the way for Metrorail later. He questioned the CTB removal of the rail options in the RFI. Supervisor McKay asked staff to re-craft the letter to separate and categorize the information into shorter and longer term options.
Supervisory Frey stated that the Comprehensive Plan called for Metrorail extension. Supervisor Herrity stated that he did not see this as precluding rail in the corridor; just advances alternatives in Tier II. Mr. Biesiadny responded that if the EIS does do not include rail options in Tier II, then it will be necessary to go back and do an EIS again. Supervisor Herrity stated that he did not see the density for rail in Centreville and did not want to support a letter to extend Tier 1 when Metrorail is so far in the future. Supervisor Cook stated that VRE will be pushing for it in five years.
Supervisor McKay asked staff to rework the letter to integrate short and long term options and bring it back in two weeks.
Chairman Bulova was supportive of pointing out that the extension of Metrorail is a longer term approach, and that the shorter term is the extension of VRE is more likely. Those rail options should not be removed from further consideration, and needed to rework the letter quickly. She also cited the NVTA letter. Mr. Biesiadny stated that staff will rework the letter to include those items discussed and will distribute it via e-mail this week for the Board's review and consideration.
Supervisor Herrity asked for the density required for rail and whether the VRE extension would require an EIS study. Chairman Bulova asked Mr. Biesiadny to look into the environmental requirements for the previous extension of VRE. Mr. Biesiadny replied that with Federal funding, it is required to have a Federal environment document, and he will look into this issue.
Due to the lack of time, Supervisor McKay asked the Board members to provide feedback to staff on items 5, 6, 7, and 8: the presentations (handouts) of the Countywide Transit Network Study, Next Steps for Urban Street Standards, Route 1 Transit Study, and Scope of Work and Cost Estimates for Fairfax County Parkway Corridor Improvement Study.
Supervisor Cook asked for the Fairfax County Parkway Study to be on the regional funding list. Supervisor McKay asked to have the review of scope of work at the beginning of the next board meeting. Mr. Biesiadny stated that staff will bring it back to the Board at the July 30 meeting. Supervisor McKay asked staff to provide the status of the State's funding for this project.
Supervisor Smyth asked about the street width on the Urban Street Standards. Eric Teitelman, FCDOT, replied that the presentation included an example, but the study is not down to detailed level yet. Mr. Biesiadny stated that another update will be presented again in the fall.
Agreement with VDOT on Snow Removal on County Maintained Roads
James Patteson, Director, DPWES, provided the update on snow removal on county maintained roadways. The County has been discussing three options with VDOT: 1) contract with VDOT for $260,000; 2) contract with private contractors for $500,000; and 3) to swap roads with VDOT for maintenance. He provided the details of why those options do not work. He stated that the County's 11 length miles of roads are not equivalent to VDOT's, and the County will still have to contract it out. Last year, we had less snow and spent less money on snow removal. The County can plow snow less than four inches, any above four inches will be on a contract. At the end, the County was not able to work out an arrangement with VDOT. He recommended keeping the County's current system and continuing to work with VDOT.
Supervisory McKay asked Mr. Patteson to summarize the information into a Board item and explain what has been done.
Supervisor Foust stated that VDOT provides a better service than the County does, and that the Board asked staff to come up with a solution and staff did not have one. Mr. Patteson replied that with a funding of $200,000 to $300,000, there is a solution. Supervisor McKay asked for a formal Board item and discussion at that time.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:16 p.m.