EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STEVE HEMINGER’S REPORT TO
OF APRIL 24, 2013
SUMMARY OF EVENTS:
BATA Strategic Planning Workshop
San Francisco, April 3
Senior staff from the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) met with our banking and legal teams to map out some of the future challenges that will face the Authority as the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program is nearing completion. Some of the topics we discussed include maintaining a state of good repair on the region’s toll bridges and their approaches, BATA’s role in delivery of the proposed express lane network, and near-term financing opportunities to reduce our overall cost of debt. These issues will be making their way to your BATA meetings in the months and years ahead.
Mayor’s Transportation Task Force
San Francisco, April 9
Mayor Ed Lee has invited me to serve on a broad-based task force that will explore and make recommendations on the many infrastructure issues confronting the City and County of San Francisco. Commissioner Wiener also is participating in the meetings.
CTIP Working Group
Sacramento, April 9
On the same day, I attended the first meeting of another task force convened by Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly to advise him and Governor Brown on California Transportation Infrastructure Priorities (CTIP). Secretary Kelly hopes to develop four work products for the Governor’s consideration by the Fall of 2013: (1) Prioritized transportation infrastructure needs across all modes, (2) Funding options to address those needs, (3) Appropriate level of government to deliver the improvements, and (4) Performance measures to evaluate potential projects and gauge results.
Late Obama Budget Released
Washington DC, April 10
President Obama released his FY 2014 budget proposal two months late to some fanfare due to his inclusion of potential reductions in entitlement spending as an opening gambit to entice congressional Republicans to the table for another try at a “Grand Bargain” to reduce the nation’s structural fiscal deficits. On the transportation front, the Administration’s budget proposal hews closely to the authorized funding levels in MAP 21 with the principal exception of the President’s fourth request for a one-time $50 billion infusion of General Fund infrastructure spending. Most observers expect the fourth request to meet the same fate as the earlier three.
High Speed Rail Bid Results
Sacramento, April 12
The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has identified the joint venture of Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons as the best scoring team for the design-build contract to construct the first segment of the statewide system from Madera to Fresno in the Central Valley. The Tutor bid was $985 million, which fell below the Authority’s estimated cost range of $1.2 - $1.8 billion. The CHSRA also has settled four CEQA lawsuits in recent months as it edges closer to commencing construction on the ambitious project later this year.
NACTO Policy Briefing
Via conference call, April 19
I briefed a meeting of the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) on our proposal to swap the federal fuel excise tax for a sales tax on fuel as a way of growing the funding stream for the federal surface transportation program.
TIGER Program (Round 5)
Washington DC, April 22
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the availability of $474 million for a fifth round of the competitive multi-modal federal grant program known as TIGER. Applications are due on June 3rd, so we will bring an item to the Legislation Committee next month including any projects that MTC might wish to sponsor.
Plan Bay Area Meetings
Various times and locations
As of this writing, I have made presentations on Plan Bay Area before six of the nine boards of the region’s congestion management agencies. MTC and ABAG board members and staff also have hosted five public hearings on the draft plan as well as all three public hearings on the draft Environmental Impact Report. Following today’s commission meeting, we have four more public hearings on the draft plan to go: two on April 29 in Marin and San Mateo counties and two more on May 1 in Alameda and Santa Clara counties. So far, this round of outreach has been much more productive and much less inflammatory than past efforts to discuss the first-ever Sustainable Communities Strategy for the Bay Area. [More info]
MTC Operational Statistics
The monthly report on the performance of MTC’s operating
April 29 — AMPO Meeting, Washington, DC
May 6 — Bay Area Partnership, Oakland
May 9 — Bike to Work Day
May 20-24— Transportation for America Workshop, Bellagio
Executive Director's Previous Reports