tv [untitled] March 24, 2011 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT
mission neighbors, and i'm also a 30-year member and former officer of san francisco tomorrow. i do not own a car. i do travel around the bay area extensively for meetings. bay area rail alliance meats in downtown mountain view. i also go to menlo park once or twice a week. i do not own a car. this is a transit first city. the way i get down there is through caltrain, and i hope you do everything in your power to help caltrain continue financially and otherwise. thank you very much. >> good morning, commissioners. i do not ride caltrain because i do not need to, but i do use public transit exclusively. in fact, i got here by public transit.
on the way over, i noticed a headline that said something about the clean air act was going to be gutted were reduced or something -- gutted or reduce or something, and that is a concern for everybody, i think. if you reduce the ridership on caltrans, you have to consider the cost to our health, to our infrastructure, to our environment. these are all costs we never consider when we talk about cars and what they do to our infrastructure and our environment and our health. those are all costly, so those costs are going to go up. if we have to use cars in lieu of public transit. so i am urging you to please keep in mind these ideas and to support caltrain. thank you. supervisor mar: thank you.
is there anyone else who would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. we have a couple questions from commissioner cohen. supervisor cohen: i would like to address my question is to staff. i just want to talk a little bit more about the specific bayshore closure of that station. i understand it is in san mateo county. i'm curious to know what kind of out -- have done if any at all to engage with the community -- what kind of outreach you have done if any at all to engage with the community. >> all of the outreach would have been done by the caltrain jpd itself, so why don't i let the staff that is your answer that? >> as we mentioned, there have been a series of public meetings
held. we have also had the information posted on our website. we have been receiving e-mail comments. we have collected the information and will present that to the board. one of our criteria was to look at ridership. the ridership in the bay shore station is about 137 people a day, so that was in the lower end. our government stations are in the range of 3000 boardings a day. supervisor cohen: i understand the criteria you use is current ridership. i wondered if you took any consideration into the planning that is going on, the work brisbane is doing in terms of developing an executive part as
well as housing, which actually neighbors the southern border of san francisco. you know the area i am talking about? >> sure. i should clarify what we are recommending is suspension of service. we are not recommending eliminating forever service at these stations. what we see as the package is when a railroad is electrified, we will be able to have a higher level of service, move faster between stations, and stop at every station. that is the goal with an electrified rail road. so there is -- when the railroad is electrified, we would be able to stop at bayshore. supervisor cohen: maybe i missed this in the early presentation. suspension of service -- can you tell me what the timeline is? >> it would be until the electrification of the structure
is completed. supervisor cohen: 5 years? >> that project, the five-year project -- >> the electrification is not going to happen for years. we got our act together and passed some sort of regional gas tax within the next year or two years, that would allow us to -- >> to have a different service model in place. >> commissioner cohen has a question of two. >> the first thing i need to do is agree with the chair of the board, but i also want to point out that the temporary fix that is going to be in place is a two-year fixed. that is an opportunity to study what else to do. i do not think we can assume that bayshore or any other station will stay close or that this fix we are doing for two years will be replicated into the future until electrification
happens. i do want to point out, to your point about the advantages of electrification, that there is a little bit of an internal contradiction. taking money from electrification. we want to make sure that money is there to be leveraged with state and federal money later. i do not want to criticize the solution because we think it is a lifesaver and we are supportive of it, but we want to make sure it is understood that cannibalizing capital private money in order to do operations -- it is a problem. we need to recommit ourselves to finding concrete ways of paying for the electrification process, which should be a high priority regionally. it certainly is a high priority for san francisco.
>> at our last meeting, we had a big file of letters that have come in from various folks, and we did receive a couple of letters from leadership talking about the exact points you are raising, so they are absolutely aware and have communicated that concern to us. supervisor farrell: i think this question goes to you. it strikes me that a lot of this conversation in the budget shortfall is centered around santrans and what is happening there. do we have a future -- an idea of what is happening there? >> yes, i have a perspective. i am also the chief financial officer. it has a structural deficit. what happened is it was a sales tax that was put in place in 1976 to consolidate us companies on the peninsula.
then, samtrans got into other business units. they invested in trains, invested in by and supported the bart extension into san mateo county. when we look at the sum of all that, we are spending more than the revenues were originally intended to support. samtrans is holding a board workshop on thursday to discuss its financial situations and how that has led to the staff recommendation to reduce the contribution to caltrain. the board is not going to take action on thursday, but is going to take comment. will not actually take action on reducing the contribution until the may or june board meeting. >> so a decline in the sales tax revenue has led to -- >> it was more the additional business units.
samtrans was paying to support caltrain. samtrans has $22 million a year in debt service, of which, half of that is for the bart extension into san retail county. about $140 million worth of debt that went to support the expansion. when you add it all together and try to support the bus service, staff is making the recommendation to reduce the contribution to caltrain. supervisor mar: thank you. any other questions? supervisor elsbernd supervisor elsbernd: thank you -- supervisor elsbernd. supervisor elsbernd: thank you. i wanted to thank everyone for their work on this presentation and we appreciate having the opportunity to raise this issue in this building. this is something, as i spend time further down the peninsula,
that has really risen to the forefront on a lot of people's minds, and i did not feel like we have done a good enough job to ensure that this is a very important issue, not just for san franciscans, but for the region. i think this is just the first step and a lot of work for the next couple of years. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. relative to commissioner elsbernd's comments, over the last seven or eight weeks, we have seen a mushrooming of concerning phone calls coming to us. this is one of the reasons why i wanted to sit in on this particular hearing. i believe san franciscans who rely on caltrain on how -- are now becoming much more aware and cognizant of what is potentially on the chopping block, and i think it regionalizes that concern that much more. i have to tell you i am at the time, we are seeing quite a
frequency an increase in the level of concern being articulated, so i'm glad that we are beginning to figure out a way at least what we might be able to do. supervisor mar: thank you. colleagues, this was an informational item. and before the presentations. please call item four. >> state and federal legislative update. this is an informational items. >> i have our state legislative advocate to discuss the legislative matrix for it state with you in a moment, but i wanted to give you a very quick update on the legislative trip we just took last week. there, i joined share -- chair
mirkarimi, commissioner cohen, and commissioner campos. obviously, the commissioners will have their own impressions about those meetings. there was something i brought back from their, the sense that it is a very challenging time, as far as expect a new federal revenues in the next few years. there is an effort under way to try to reauthorize the service transportation act, a six-year bill that provides the majority of transportation money in the country. one of the big stumbling blocks with the bill is the inability so far by congress to identify a new funding source that could help grow the pie, which is the way these six-year bills are usually approved. so that new programs and
programs that have been neglected in the previous bill can be addressed. there appears to be very little willingness in congress or at the administration level to propose a new funding source. there has been discussion about how the federal gas tax is not going to be raised. so there is now a distinct possibility that if a surface transportation act is marked up for consideration by congress, it may be a smaller amount of money than the current six-year bill. i think that the order of the date is, looking at priorities, and then looking at them again, and really thinking about what can be saved, what can be made more efficient, and what can be cut out in order to get to a consensus bill in congress.
i am not terribly optimistic about the possibility of agreement or consensus, given that kind of scenario, but that is what we are looking at now. remarkably, i heard a quotation from senator imhoff, ranking committee member on the senate's committee that is looking at this bill. of course, the committee is chaired by senator boxer, which is a huge benefit for us, but still a huge challenge. this quotation, as a republican senator, is that transportation has been essentially all of the non-road building aspects of the programs. the federal programs currently in place are hitchhikers, to the original intent of the highway trust fund, which is essentially the place where all of the gas tax is kept and distributed to
projects. you can get a sense of how much of an uphill battle is going to be to have a consensus six-year act, and even if we do get that, how much more difficult it is going to be to find the source of priorities that are truly important. we spent an hour earlier this morning with the planning and programs committee talking about pedestrian safety. those have not even been on the radar screen. we had our work cut out for us. but this is not going to be easy as far as money. and relating it to the discussion you just had on caltrain, operating funds are going to be very difficult. although the administration has
a very good focus on the state of repair for all transit properties, i think the name of the game is going to be local and regional leadership. to be more efficient and generate new resources or advocate at the federal level for new resources, whether they are tolls or new forms of revenue generation or user fees that people in places like the bay area might be able to support where other parts of the country do not, so we can give the federal government the support it needs. that is going to be a challenge as well. i explained earlier that the region has not been able to move forward on the regional gas tax increase because polls have never shown enough support in the region to do that. we may get to the point where those are the only solutions that are viable, but i believe in order to get there, we have to show that when we get new money, we are very efficient
with it. efficiency oversight, regulating every gram of capacity out of every dollar is going to be the name of the game. in sacramento, there is a completely different picture, but the flavor is not that different in the in. it is about scared resources -- scarce resources. you have a matrix in front of you. we are at the stage in the legislative session where not a lot of physicians have been taken, but there is an exception to that. a couple of bills we have been tracking that you have already acted upon. i will let marc take over. >> thank you. there have been developments. i just wanted to briefly touch on them before i touch on the matrix. last week, the legislature, as part of its approach to developing a budget resolution, did take up the transportation
trailer bill. we were successful. we had a very nice book by both houses -- we had a very nice bow -- headed their device -- we had a very nice cotevote in both houses. pegs the target at $330 million. it is expected to grow over the coming years. that level of transit operating systems assistance from the state is less than called for probably close to double what we ever reached in any particular year, so it is a very welcome sign that sacramental listens to the transit operating needs across the state. still, it is adequate. the bill is on the governor's desk. we are waiting for him to sign it. the focus this week is on trying to get the last couple of pieces
of the budget resolution, including the tax extension, task shift on national corporate, and last, but not least, the redevelopment agency proposal, which is stuck at - one vote. it will be a very entertaining week. we do not expect anything to happen until closer to friday at this point in time. turning to the matrix, since i was here last, several hundreds of bills were introduced. i worked diligently with your staff, and they were great in combing through the bills, looking at the ones that needed to rise to your attention or at least to the level of watching and monitoring in case there are any changes coming through the year. one we have elected to propose -- support is ab 650, which is found on page four of the matrix. it is intended to set the stage
for the future of transportation funding in california. it would create a task force with very specific types of folks on it. it would be funded in the bill. therefore, if it is approved by the governor, it has a real chance of producing a valuable product. there are a number of high-speed rail bills. we have elected not to recommend supporting yet until we see how they shake out. 953 on page 7 is probably the most damaging of the bills we have seen. it would freeze proposition 1a bond expenditures until there is a new ridership study. i do not see the legislature adopting that bill, but it reflects the republican perspective on the high-speed rail bond now that it has been approved by voters and is going through the implementation
stage. there are a couple of bills that deal with a similar topic. senate approval of high-speed rail authority board members. the high speed rail authority is one of the most uniquely powerful boards. senator steinberg, the pro tem, has sb 439. notably, senator lowenthal is carrying sb 517, found on page 14. it requires authority board members to be subject to senate approval. it also places the high-speed rail authority under the cabinet position of transportation. last, i want to highlight a
couple of bills i think will be emerged as something you will want to recommend supporting in the future as these become more refined. sb 733 and 735 -- dated two different things. they are on page 50 and 60. they require on the one hand that small business element be included in the high-speed rail authority business plan. secondarily, sb 735 requires a local work force initiatives and would establish a preference in contracts of 2.5%. those would be the bills i would like to highlight right now. the one we are calling for action on is ab 650, which is
the blue-ribbon task force. i would be glad to answer questions. i think i understand most of the bills right now. bigger picture, are we going to get the revenues on the ballot? i think we will. just from the dynamic, a lot of public posturing says no way. we are not going to go there. that is not going to happen. uniquely, the republican convention did not come out with any censure approaches for anybody or threaten anybody who did go on -- i think it was implied that folks will have a difficult time in the future, but there is a gang, i think in both caucuses that may be able to get there. >> what are the deadlines? >> it is 80 days l 488 days out,
so i think june 7 is in jeopardy if they do not act soon -- it is 80 days out or 88 days out. >> if they wanted to do june 14, they would have to do it by the end of this week? >> that is what i am led to believe. i have not counted it up, but i'm told. >> but they could push it to june 21? >> correct. i have not thought through what would happen on the 21st. i do not think there is anything uniquely different. >> maybe the idea of the seventh is because you got that congressional election. >> that was the end of this purpose. also, it gives them three weeks to get to july. >> ok. thank you. >> the closer you get to july, the harder it will be. >> when was the last time we got the budget in on time? thank you.
supervisor mar: your action item is recommending support for ab 650. let's open this up for public comment. is there anyone from the public that would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. director, did you have a point? >> i just wanted to report that the other bill where you took a position last month, which is the one that was changed to what the government has been moving through the legislature and that it was heard yesterday at the transportation committee and passed on a 13-0 vote, and the only opposition was from this agency. i do not know if mark wants to report on that. >> it was interesting. mtc is being crafted in how they
are setting this up. the transportation authority had taken a support position, for example, but mtc arranged to have them appear in support of the bill. that brought to coauthors who were on the committee on board and that, i think, led the way. we were the only entity there to express opposition. the principal make up of that committee was for southern california with the exception of the two members from contra costa, so that was the bellwether for that. that bill was the assembly -- the next stage of the bill was the assembly appropriations committee. we will have to take a close look at that. there was a series of
discussions with assembly member ammiano about what we're going to do -- >> did he not introduce a competing bill? >> he did not get. i do not know if that is his strategy. supervisor mar: we open this up for public comment and close. can we support the recommendation without objection? ok, so move. please call the next item. >> 5, introduction of new items. this is an introduction item. supervisor mar: thank you. is there anyone from the public that would like to speak? seeing none, public comment is closed. >> 6, public comment. supervisor mar: anyone that would like to speak? public comment is closed. is there any other item before us? meeting adjourned. thank you, everyone.