Bi-State Coordination Committee
Below is the meeting report for the Bi-State Coordination Committee meeting, held on Thursday, September 29, 2005, from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Metro Regional Center, Council Chamber, 600 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, Oregon. An agenda for this meeting is also available.
The meeting of the Bi-State Coordination Committee was called to order by Chair Rex Burkholder, at 7:36 a.m. in the Metro Council Chambers, 600 NE Grand Avenue, Portland, Oregon. Those in attendance follow:
Committee Members Sam Adams, City of Portland Commissioner
Rex Burkholder, Metro Councilor
Serena Cruz, Multnomah County Commissioner
Doug Ficco, WSDOT Alternate
Matthew Garrett, ODOT Region One Manager
Lynne Griffith, C-TRAN Executive Director / CEO
Fred Hansen, TriMet General Manager
Eric Holmes, City of Battle Ground Manager
Susie Lahsene, Port of Portland Alternate
Larry Paulson, Port of Vancouver Executive Director
Staff Andy Cotugno, Metro
Dean Lookingbill, RTC
Joe Klodzinski, Metro
Interested Guests Edward Barnes, WSDOT
Kate Deane, ODOT
John Gillam, City of Portland
Bob Hart, RTC
John Hoefs, C-TRAN
Jim Howell, AORTA
Addison Jacobs, Port of Vancouver
Jim Leahy, Bechtel
Jay Lyman, David Evans & Associates
Steven Matthews, WSDOT
Sharon Nasset, ETA
Scott Patterson, C-TRAN
Thayer Rorabaugh, City of Vancouver
Lynn Rust, CRC
Karen Schilling, Multnomah County
Kathryn Schutte, Metro
Kris Strickler, CRC
Walter Valenta, CRC
Rex Wong, CRC
Bill Wright, Clark County
The Meeting Report from the June 30, 2005 meeting was APPROVED.
Visions and Values
Ms. Serena Cruz provided an update on the September 12 Task Force meeting. This task force was asked to approve the Vision and Values Statement. The Sept. 12 meeting provided a chance for the task force to make additional changes to it. Most if not all of the input received was incorporated into the draft Vision and Values Statement. Ms. Cruz provided an overview of the changes made to the draft, as follows:
The “Purpose” and “Vision” sections stayed the same.
Under “Values,” the first heading is now “Community Livability”. This heading has been expanded to five bullets, which read:
- Support a healthy community
- Support a healthy and vibrant land use mix of residential, commercial, industrial, recreational, cultural and historic areas
- Support aesthetic quality that achieves a regional landmark
- Recognizing the history of the community surrounding the I-5 bridge influence area, support improved community cohesion and avoid neighborhood disruption
- Preserve parks, historic and cultural resources and green spaces
The heading, “Mobility, Reliability and Accessibility,” was expanded to “Mobility, Reliability, Accessibility, Congestion Reduction and Efficiency” and was expanded to 2 bullets, to wit:
- Provide congestion reduction and mobility, reliability, and accessibility for all users, recognizing the requirements of local, intra-corridor, and interstate movement now and in the future
- Provide an efficient transportation system through transportation system management, transportation demand management, incident management and increased capacity measures.
Under the heading “Modal Choice”, the wording has been changed to:
“Provide modal choice for users of the crossing, including highway, transit, bicycle and pedestrian modes.”
The heading “Freight Mobility” has been expanded to “Regional Economy; Freight Mobility” and has been separated into two bullets, which read:
- Support a sound regional economy and job growth.
- Enhance the I-5 corridor as a global trade gateway by addressing the need to move freight efficiently and reliably through the I-5 Bridge Influence Area and allowing for river navigational needs.
The heading “Natural Resource Stewardship” has been changed to “Stewardship of Natural and Human Resources”. It has been expanded into four bullets, as follows:
- Respect, protect and improve natural resources including fish, wildlife habitat, and water quality.
- Support improved air quality.
- Minimize impacts of noise, light and glare.
- Support energy efficiency through design, construction and use.
The headings “Cost Effectiveness” and “Financial Feasibility” have been consolidated into a single heading, “Cost Effectiveness and Financial Resources”, comprising two bullets, to wit:
- Ensure cost effectiveness in design, construction, maintenance and operation.
- Ensure a reliable funding plan for the project.
Finally, a new value was added, titled “Bi-State Cooperation”, with the following bullets:
- Foster regional cooperation and planning.
- Support existing growth management plans in both states.
- Support balanced job growth.
(The draft Vision and Values Statement reflecting these changes has been included as part of this meeting record.)
Chair Burkholder stated that there would be additional discussion of this draft statement at the next Task Force meeting in October.
Mr. Fred Hansen asked if these edits reflected the public comments that it should be “architecturally exciting”.
Ms. Cruz replied that this is addressed in a separate bullet under Community Livability, which reads, “Support aesthetic quality that achieves a regional landmark.”
Mr. Hansen suggested that under the Modal Choice heading, the term “high capacity transit” be used instead of “transit”; it doesn’t necessarily mean “light rail”, but it should express that the capacity needs are going to be such that high capacity transit will be needed.
Ms. Susie Lahsene asked if the jobs / economy / trade corridor discussion was reflected in these edits. Ms. Cruz stated that they are reflected under the Regional Economy; Freight Mobility heading.
Ms. Lynne Griffith suggested that the language in the Modal Choice heading should reflect both High Capacity Transit and Transit. Since buses will still be operating in the corridor, she does not want it concluded that regular bus service might not continue.
Chair Burkholder remarked that everyone will have an opportunity to add comments to the new draft.
Ms. Cruz raised the issue of the role of the Public Involvement group and the Environmental Justice working group in commenting on this statement before it is voted on at the Task Force meeting, stating that this would make it truer to public involvement and environmental justice values and would allow for more meaningful involvement from these groups.
Mr. Doug Ficco mentioned that public meetings are scheduled for October 22, 25 and 27, and that public comment on the Vision and Values statement would be a part of this.
Ms. Cruz reiterated that she would like those comments to be made before the Task Force votes. Mr. Ficco responded that it would not preclude the Task Force from incorporating changes that come from public input.
Ms. Cruz stated that it may send a negative message to these working groups. This was further debated and it was reiterated that public involvement would play a crucial part in the process.
(Copies of the revised draft with the changes discussed above were then presented to the committee.)
Mr. Fred Hansen asked for a verification that “I-5 Trade and Transportation Partnership” is the governor’s official name for the Columbia River Crossing / Bi-State project. This was confirmed. He then stated that he thought the group would have used different wording in the Vision paragraph where it states “builds upon the dedicated work of…” He suggested the wording “would give substantial deference to…” or “would give substantial weight to the conclusions already reached by…” This was a debate which they had had within the CRC. He asked Ms. Cruz if that issue had been discussed within the sub-group. She stated that it had not.
Chair Burkholder asked if this group felt that this was a key distinction that should be presented to the Task Force.
Ms. Cruz stated that she felt that Fred's language is clearer.
Chair Burkholder asked Mr. Hansen to put his wording on paper, and it would be presented at the next CRC meeting.
Mr. Sam Adams remarked that he would like to see more explicit language to discourage SOV drivers. Ms. Cruz suggested that this is covered in the second point, under transportation demand management.
Chair Burkholder stated that the group would need to do some more thinking about how this could be worded.
Mr. Adams also expressed his view that freight mobility is different than mobility for single occupancy vehicles, though there is a significant group that views them as one and the same. He would hope at some point that there would be further discussion about the issue that many in the freight community believe that their mobility is only as good as the mobility of a single occupancy vehicle driver. He expressed hope that we would provide a better level of mobility for freight than we would for SOV drivers.
Chair Burkholder asked if there is language that needs to be changed. He stated that he thinks it is covered in the language used, and that transportation demand management includes all those techniques of incentives, education, etc.
Mr. Adams stated that he just wanted to make sure the distinction is included.
Chair Burkholder reiterated the issues brought forth in this discussion, and stated that they would be brought up at the next Task Force meeting.
Mr. Doug Ficco commented that the CRC project has deadlines, and that a lot more things need to be discussed at the Task Force meetings. He stated that he did not want to see the Task Force spend too much more time on wordsmithing the Vision and Values statement, since the group needs to get through a locally preferred alternative.
Chair Burkholder stated that his sense from the group is that there are just a few additions to be made, and that it is merely refinement at this point.
Schedule and Project Decision Making
Chair Burkholder referred the committee to the “Process for Major Project Decisions” handout (included as a part of this record).
Mr. Dean Lookingbill stated that this chart is an attempt to represent the process for this project, and that outside the scope of this handout, there are larger public transportation decision-making processes among the MPOs, transit systems, etc. He referred the committee to the green handout (“Columbia River Crossing Roles and Responsibilities,” included as a part of this record), which explains the make-up of the groups mentioned in the “Process for Major Project Decisions” handout. Mr. Lookingbill stated that RTC would ask for a formal Board decision to appoint their member to the Project Sponsors Council, and he reiterated the importance of each agency's role in this council.
Problem Definition / Purpose and Need
Chair Burkholder asked if anyone had any issues or questions about the Problem Definition presentation (a copy of which has been included as part of this record).
Ms. Lynne Griffith stated that C-TRAN has a couple of concerns with the problem statement. Specifically, heading #2 under “Current Problems,” they felt that the description of current transit service is not an effective way to communicate the problem, and they feel it will present problems on their side of the river. She stated that they had additional concerns with some of the information describing commuter service run times on commuter express service vs. local service, that the document mixes AM and PM peak hours, and bridge influence area with trips all the way downtown. They have some proposed wording that they are working on, which she will provide to the committee.
Ms. Susie Lahsene remarked that the role of I-5 as a trade corridor is missing from this statement. She stated that, since I-5 also functions as a gateway for international trade movement, this should be captured in the statement, as it elevates the problem to a national level.
It was remarked that one of the difficulties, and thus an important challenge for this committee, is to coordinate with other groups involved with this project, to ensure that the most current information is available at the time of the meetings. Chair Burkholder agreed that such coordination is a goal and priority of this committee.
Mr. Fred Hansen asked how this committee would be affected, if the ballot measure successfully repeals the gas tax.
Mr. Ficco stated that it is a concern, and if the ballot measure passes, there would be discussion at a higher level as to how to keep the project going.
Mr. Hansen commented that this committee might consider at some point spending time on other Bi-State issues that aren’t getting as much attention, since many of this project’s issues often overlap with what is discussed at the CRC.
Mr. Lookingbill introduced the “Year 2030 Forecasts” memo (included as a part of this record). He stated that the task at hand is to continue coordination of a joint Bi-State forecast for the 2030 forecast year. He referred the committee back to the Project Schedule handout, and stated that the coordination of these figures should be available to be applied to the 2006 Range of Alternatives for Consideration. He stated that, by the end of 2006, there will be a different land use plan, and the long range forecast will need to be adjusted to that. He also stated that Clark County feedback is needed, particularly in terms of how a higher job rate affects Land Use and Urban Growth.
Mr. Andy Cotugno reiterated the need to coordinate these numbers, and to assess the incompatibilities on both sides of the river. He stated that, since there will be only one EIS for this project, there needs to be one set of numbers, and that this committee should decide which numbers, since they impact each other and affect growth related decisions.
Mr. Hansen remarked that we would want the technical people to come up with the best judgment / most likely scenario determination for this number, since it will affect the EIS, among other things.
Chair Burkholder stated that there is a feedback loop involved; the decision will affect how much land will be zoned for employment vs. housing, for example. Different numbers will lead to different decisions.
Ms. Griffith stated that these numbers have the potential to significantly impact transit alternatives. She asked where Clark County weighs in on this issue, and if they have to validate land use assumptions that go into this project.
Mr. Lookingbill answered that Clark County would ultimately make that decision, based on what they feel would be the implications of these numbers.
Chair Burkholder emphasized that this committee cannot have a complete discussion about this subject without Clark County representatives present.
Mr. Cotugno emphasized that the Metro number is based on a preliminary forecast, which is currently under technical review. Metro is in the process of trying to incorporate technical comments from various areas in the region that will likely change Metro and Clark County numbers.
Ms. Kate Deane provided to the committee 3 documents, to wit: “I-5 Delta Park Project: Key Milestones and Public Meetings,” “I-5 Delta Park Community Enhancement Fund, Application Information,” and a color map describing the Community Enhancement Fund Initiative area. These documents have been included as a part of this record.
Ms. Deane highlighted a few key dates regarding the I-5 Delta Park project. She stated that the Environmental Assessment is being finalized, and it will be sent out to the public in mid to late November; there will be a 45-day comment period, and a hearing will be held on this document around the 2nd week of December. There will be a reader-friendly executive summary provided.
Ms. Deane stated that information has been sent out to the public regarding the Community Enhancement fund process. Applications are due on January 13th. They anticipate having their Citizen Advisory Board make their recommendations by March 21st, and in April, they anticipate having the preferred alternative recommendation before city council. In June, they would expect final approval of the revised EA, with construction proposed to begin in 2008. She reiterated that they are on schedule for this project.
Mr. Adams asked if they are moving forward with just widening or both widening and access.
Ms. Deane replied that the 4 alternatives all have widening in common, and that Columbia Blvd. access is different with each alternative. The hearing will involve all 4 alternatives and the no-build. She stated that last June, the Citizens Advisory Committee chose options 2 and 4 as their preferred alternatives, and that this is reflected in the EA document. She stated that the funding is available for widening, but there are not yet funds available for an interchange component. If an access option is approved, additional funding will have to be sought.
Enhancement Fund Advisory Board Update
Ms. Deane provided an overview of the “I-5 Delta Park Community Enhancement Fund, Application Information” handout. She highlighted the following: This is a one-time fund for transportation-related community enhancement. The anticipated amount of the fund is between $500,000 - $1 million, depending on which alternative is selected. Individuals, neighborhood associations and community-based organizations may apply; they are encouraging collaborations. There will be a networking and application workshop on November 3rd; staff from various city agencies will be there, and it will be an opportunity for people in the community to connect with one another. The project selection process will occur in 2 stages: a screening process to determine which of the proposals qualify, to be done by ODOT and FHWA; and a project selection process, in which the advisory committee will recommend projects for funding, utilizing the selection criteria provided on page 2 of this document.
Ms. Deane clarified that the purpose of this project is to provide benefits from the I-5 Delta Park project; it is not a reparations program.
Mr. Cotugno stated that the screening criteria refers to funding eligibility under the state constitution, but that Federal funds do not have as many limitations; he asked why federal funding is not the screening basis. He offered the example that off-road trails usually do not qualify under the state constitution’s limits, but they can qualify for federal funding.
Ms. Deane clarified that the primary screen is the federal screen, and that the state constitution screening criteria is there only to say that if there is a project for which ODOT dollars cannot be used, there needs to be some other leverage source; they need to make sure that whatever money ODOT & FHWA contributes, that it is for projects that are actually feasible.
Chair Burkholder said that he felt this distinction is conveyed in the Project Screening statement, “Projects must be eligible for state or federal transportation funding.”
Chair Burkholder mentioned that there is a possible joint Oregon / Washington gubernatorial forum coming up in the near future, but since Mr. Mark Turpel is not present, there is no new information about this. Chair Burkholder will follow up and provide additional information as it becomes available.
Ms. Griffith provided an update on the recent vote and what it means for the future of C-TRAN. She stated that there was a very high turnout for an off-year primary; the result was a 68% victory for the sales-tax increase. She reiterated that this is a sustaining plan, which will provide for restoration of services that were lost in 2000 when funding was repealed.
She stated that they are currently hiring operators, and that there is a lot of catching up to do, but C-TRAN's priority is to restore service to outlying areas. They will also be restoring WSU service.
C-TRAN and the board are currently trying to figure out where C-TRAN fits within the larger discussion of CRC issues. She stated that they are still in limbo with regards to their 20-year plan, and she would like to see these discussions re-opened.
Ms. Griffith stated that the earliest that they expect to see modifications to service is January, with the rest of the changes hopefully occurring in May.
Chair Burkholder reiterated Mr. Hansen's suggestion that other issues should be discussed at these meetings. Since the committee was out of time, the meeting was adjourned at 9:01 a.m.
Next meeting date: November 3, 2005, at 7:30 a.m.
Location: Clark County Elections Building, 1408 Franklin Street, Vancouver, Washington.
Transportation Director, RTC
Transportation Director, Metro