Below are the approved minutes for the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors Meeting, held on Wednesday, September 6, 2000, at 4:00 p.m. at the Marshall House, 1301 Officers' Row, Vancouver, Washington. The agenda for this meeting is also available.
I. Call to Order and Roll Call of Members
The Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council Board of Directors Meeting was called to order by Chair Royce Pollard on Wednesday, September 6, 2000, at 5:05 p.m., at the Marshall House, 1301 Officers' Row, Vancouver, Washington. Those in attendance follow.
Board Members Judy Carter, Skamania County Commissioner
Charles Crumpacker, City of Washougal Mayor
Kate Deane, ODOT Alternate
Bill Ganley, City of Battle Ground Mayor
Pat McDonnell, City of Vancouver Manager
Arch Miller, Port of Vancouver Commissioner
Betty Sue Morris, Clark County Commissioner
Royce Pollard, City of Vancouver Mayor
Judie Stanton, Clark County Commissioner
Don Wagner, WSDOT SW Regional Administrator
Deb Wallace, C-TRAN Alternate
Ed Barnes, Washington Transportation Commissioner
Mark Brown, City of Vancouver
Mary Legry, WSDOT
Thayer Rorabaugh, City of Vancouver
Bob Hart, Transportation Section Supervisor
Dean Lookingbill, Transportation Director
Dale Robins, Senior Transportation Planner
Diane Workman, Administrative Assistant
II. Approval of August 1, 2000, Minutes
CHARLES CRUMPACKER MOVED FOR APPROVAL OF THE AUGUST 1, 2000 MEETING MINUTES. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY BETTY SUE MORRIS AND UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
It was noted that the name of Jon Creedon was correctly spelled in the final copy of the August Meeting Minutes.
III. Citizen Communications
There were no citizens wishing to address the RTC Board.
IV. Consent Agenda
- September Claims
- WSDOT Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program Amendment, Resolution 09-00-20
CHARLES CRUMPACKER MOVED FOR APPROVAL OF THE CONSENT AGENDA. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY ARCH MILLER AND UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
Arch Miller commented on Resolution 09-00-20. He said he noticed that a lot of the money being spent in the amendment is really in conjunction with the Mill Plain Extension and being used to provide more pavement to the road for the higher volume of truck traffic. Mr. Miller asked why these expenses were not included in the overall project of the Mill Plain extension and asked why we were coming back asking for more money.
Mr. Lookingbill said the funding being requested now is for preservation on the existing portion of Mill Plain. The earlier funding was for the new construction of Mill Plain. Don Wagner added that this project was not in WSDOT's budget for another three years, but when they turn traffic over onto Mill Plain, they do not really want the rutted roadway that is there now. It is a timing issue more than a design issue. Don Wagner said that Fourth Plain is being turned back over to the City of Vancouver and Mill Plain becomes WSDOT state highway.
V. 2001-2003 Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program Project Evaluation and Prioritization
Dale Robins distributed copies of the CMAQ 2001-2003 TIP Evaluation ranking list. Mr. Robins said the Metropolitan Transportation Improvement Program (MTIP) identifies and prioritizes federally funded and regionally significant projects across all travel modes and jurisdiction for the next three years and a financial plan that demonstrates how it can be implemented. Federally funded projects must be listed in the MTIP in order to receive federal funds. The MTIP project selection process includes a three-step process:
- project screening,
- evaluation and ranking by needs criteria, and
- project selection and programming.
The request before the Board is to endorse the evaluation and ranking of the projects. At the October RTC Board meeting, the final step of programming projects will take place by adopting the full MTIP.
Mr. Robins referred to the 2001-2003 TIP Evaluation list of projects included in the meeting packet. Today's handout is a subset of the list, and it shows only the CMAQ projects. The projects are ranked from 1 to 33 based on the evaluation against the needs criteria. The CMAQ projects are ranked 1 to 13. CMAQ funds are for congestion management and air quality improvement projects only. The same criteria is used for the overall program, except for the CMAQ projects, air quality points are multiplied by two, giving a total of 115 points rather than 100 points. RTAC met on August 18 and has recommended the list of ranking of projects for RTC Board consideration. RTC staff in cooperation with RTAC members has completed the ranking of the projects. Each project has had a project application completed and evaluated per the following six regional criteria: Congestion Management, Safety, Multimodal, Economic Development, Financial/Implementation, and Air Quality. Mr. Robins used an over head display map of the county showing the type of project and its location. Next Mr. Robins showed subarea maps for the Orchards and Cascade Park areas, and highlighted some of the top ranked projects.
Mr. Lookingbill highlighted the 15th ranked project on the list, the VAST II, (Vancouver Area Smart Trek), a CMAQ project. This is the initiation of the deployment of the intelligent transportation technology. This project also has a role for RTC. Much of what we do in our Regional Transportation Plan is about capacity improvement. This project will bring the RTC Board and RTC staff in a role of coordination. This is an opportunity to take CMAQ money and deploy this new technology.
Don Wagner asked what the total amount of federal dollars that is available to our region. The list of 33 projects shows a request of $36 million over a three-year period. Dale Robins said there is approximately $14 million of federal funds available to this region for the next three years. This could possibly fund the first 10 listed projects. Betty Sue Morris asked if this was only available to cities inside the urban growth boundary because there were no small cities listed in the requests. Mr. Lookingbill said the money was available countywide. Mr. Robins noted that there is another fund source entitled Rural STP and is available to cities with population under 5000. Ms. Morris asked why Battle Ground had no projects listed. Mr. Robins said that Battle Ground has a project carried over from last year. The projects listed are additional projects. Bill Ganley noted that Battle Ground traffic is backed up for almost a half mile when school is let out at 2 p.m. It was noted that the Main Street project will address this problem, but that is two years out. Mr. Lookingbill said Battle Ground is currently working on their Transportation System Plan that will identify a full system of improvements needed for Battle Ground.
Deb Wallace said in reference to what Mr. Lookingbill said regarding RTC taking a lead role in the VAST program. This is a critical step in our future in looking at the intelligent transportation systems. The coordination that RTC provides is critical particularly with that project. It will bump up the visibility of the project for all of us. The coordination is so valuable. Don Wagner agreed, saying that the Portland area has this type of system and this would allow our buses and system to work on the same level. This project would also set up fiberoptic connections to ODOT's center.
ARCH MILLER MOVED FOR APPROVAL OF THE RANKING OF PROJECTS TO BE USED AS THE BASIS FOR THE SELECTION AND PROGRAMMING OF PROJECTS IN THE 2001-2003 MTIP. THE MOTION WAS SECONDED BY CHARLES CRUMPACKER.
Mary Legry asked if this is endorsing this list of projects for funding as prioritized in the list. Mr. Lookingbill said that it is the guide for the next step of programming projects. The programming process takes this ranking along with factors such as the phase of the project, when it will be ready to go to construction, etc. If there is a change in the ranking, such as one that is ranked lower gets funded before a higher ranked project, it could be due to a timing issue such as the other project is not ready to go. The final programming of projects will go before RTAC at their September meeting and a recommendation will come back to the RTC Board at their October meeting. Don Wagner clarified that the third ranked project is WSDOT's Thurston Way design build project. It is fully funded with the assumption that there is $1.6 million in local funding. If this is pulled out, the state-local partnership is gone. If the local money goes away, the project does not go away, but this was put into the system as a partnership project between local community and the State. If the local money now goes away, what does this say about future partnership projects, where commitments were made to help fund a project and then it is not there. Mr. Lookingbill said this initial discussion has taken place at RTAC. So far they have only recommended the ranking that is before the Board. RTAC will again have discussions on the projects and their programming prior to sending a recommendation to the RTC Board. Betty Sue Morris asked who was on the RTAC Committee and discussion followed as to the representation.
THE MOTION WAS UNANIMOUSLY APPROVED.
VI. Metropolitan Transportation Plan Policy and Prioritization: I-5/I-205 North Study and I-205 Strategic Corridor Study
Dean Lookingbill said the MTP is a long-range plan, 20 years. The RTC Board adopted the prioritization of Metropolitan Transportation Plan (MTP) projects in October 1998. Since that time, the MTP was amended in April 1999 to include an I-5/219th Street interchange as a conceptual transportation improvement. However, because the study process to identify the definitive project was just underway, no priority was set at that time. The I-5/I-205 North and the I-205 Corridor Studies are both moving toward preliminary recommendations. The question before the RTC Board is when and how to reconsider the prioritization of MTP projects, particularly with regard to the recommendations which will emerge from the two corridor studies. While the corridor studies address different issues, they both must address key Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) access issues. Any new Interstate freeway access, this includes a new interchange or modification of existing interchange on/off ramps, requires approval of the FHWA. FHWA bases its decision to grant additional access on information provided in an Interstate Access Point Decision Report. The report is used in the decision-making process to document the planning, evaluation, design and coordination that support and justify the request. The underlying FHWA goal is to maintain and protect the freeways to provide the highest practical level of service in terms of safety and mobility.
Betty Sue Morris addressed Mary Legry saying she wanted to be informed when the I-5 corridor study meetings took place. Mary Legry said only one meeting has taken place at this point and she would see that Ms. Morris be included on the meeting notice list. Mary Legry said between now and December they will be out to the public with each of the interchange sites, with a decision by December. Once this decision is made, that is what will go into the access report study. Mary Legry said the three alternatives could be presented to the RTC Board. Royce Pollard said there are some critical times that we should be aware of. Once there are results from the public involvement process, that would be a time to bring to the Board. Mr. Lookingbill confirmed that once the studies have gone through the technical and citizen and policy groups, present this to the Board. Betty Sue Morris said she would like to see a presentation on the alternatives on I-5 North. Deb Wallace said that another aspect to look at for all the interchanges is in relation to transit service. As 99th Street is being developed and C-TRAN is looking at acquiring property, and it is almost too late. When we look at future options there is opportunity and C-TRAN needs more park and ride spaces in the corridor. Royce Pollard said it would be helpful to have a status report on the priorities and a list of key trigger points or key decision points that require a report back to the RTC Board.
There was discussion by Board members of the prioritization process. Don Wagner said there has been discussion with the City of Vancouver about work at 6th Street and discussion of the crossing of the Columbia River. None of this is reflected in the list of projects and we may find we want to add to this list more of our needs. Another question to look at is how much of the funding is state money that we bring in from another part of the state, and how much of that is local money that would take away from some other project that we would do here. An example is the Thurston project at $22 million, $1.6 million is local and the other $20 million is from another part of the state.
Mr. Lookingbill will put together a status report and key decision points for the MTP's list of priority projects. Mary Legry asked when a full MTP update would be done. Mr. Lookingbill said a full update would be done in conjunction with the redevelopment of the GMA Plan. That will be a year from now. Betty Sue Morris said she felt at this point 179th could come off the list because a lot of work has already been done at that interchange. Mary Legry reminded members that the I-5 North Study is a 20-year plan and some time in the next 20 years is when the capacity at 179th would need to be improved by a proposed interchange.
Chair Pollard encouraged members to do their homework on projects in their jurisdiction to prepare for further discussions of the prioritization process.
VII. Other Business
From the Board
Chair Pollard said that RTC has had its annual audit for 1999 stating the audit report was glowing as it has been for the last several years. RTC staff along with Clark County accounting support has received nothing but praise from the state audit. There was a thorough inspection and investigation ending with a very high rating. Chair Pollard said we should be proud of that. ARCH MILLER PROPOSED A RESOLUTION TO THANK DEAN FOR HIS LEADERSHIP AND THE STAFF FOR THE EXCELLENT RESULTS OF THE AUDIT.
Mayor Pollard distributed a letter he sent to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation with the City of Vancouver's comments on the Commission's report. Mark Brown will attend a meeting the following day in Bellevue to present the comments. There will also be another public comment meeting the following Thursday in Yakima.
Don Wagner said that in an article in today's newspaper, Thayer Rorabaugh commented on some of the work the city of Vancouver is proposing to move forward with on Mill Plain to try and ease the congestion. This is the sort of thing that will help us advance with our study on the 18th and Burton split diamond interchange. These are the types of things the Feds look for when we do the Eight Point Access Report: Are the local communities trying to address these congestion issues themselves? If the answer is yes, they are trying to and they still cannot attain the level of service that is necessary, they will be inclined to say, you have done what you can, it is time to break a freeway access. He said it is a good thing that the City is working with the neighborhoods to try and get something going out there. He said WSDOT hopes to be able to help some of the off system improvements also to help move forward in a positive action.
Arch Miller said also in today's paper was an article stating the Coast Guard is going to rebuild the Railroad Bridge from Washington over to the island. He said, as you know the Port of Portland is in the process of developing the west end of Hayden Island. The Port of Portland is going to build a bridge from Terminal Six over to the west end of Hayden Island. That is in their Master Plan. The Port of Vancouver has had preliminary discussions with some talk of building a bridge from the Port of Vancouver to the west end of Hayden Island. If the Coast Guard is going to rebuild that bridge, now is the time to get on the bandwagon and make sure the new bridge can accommodate vehicles as well as trains, because that need is going to be there and we can circumvent the need for trucks going all the way through Vancouver and over the I-5 bridge to the other side.
Royce Pollard introduced Kate Deane, ODOT, the lead for I-5 Trade Corridor Governor's Task Force. The first meeting of the Governor's Task Force had just concluded prior to the RTC Board meeting. Chair Pollard highlighted some of the key officials and business representatives on the committee.
Kate Deane noted that on September 19, 2000 the Oregon Transportation Commission would be coming to Portland to tour the area of upcoming projects. They will be crossing to the Washington side to the Vancouver Landing to look at the bridge and to raise the issue of the I-5 Trade Corridor. Mayor Pollard, Commissioner Pridemore, and Mary Legry have been asked to participate and begin to demonstrate to the Oregon Commission the bi-state cooperation that is taking place.
Arch Miller noted the Governor's Task Force representation asking why there was representation for Tri-Met by their Executive Director and not for C-TRAN. Kate Deane said the process for selection involved all local governments. There are Board Members from C-TRAN on the committee to address the transit issues. There was discussion of the representation on the committee and the fair distribution of members.
From the Transportation Director
Mr. Lookingbill said that the Bi-State Transportation Committee meets on Thursday, September 7, 2000 at the Port of Vancouver at 7:30 a.m. JPACT meets on September 14, 2000 and the next RTC Board meeting is on Tuesday, October 3, 2000.
Mr. Lookingbill noted that at the table for members was a letter from John Spence for public record. Also was a joint letter from Mayor Pollard, RTC Chair, and Metro Councilor Jon Kvistad, JPACT Chair, requesting support for federal funding for the Delta Park to Lombard project. The third letter was from the Washington Transportation Commission to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Transportation with their comments on the Draft Accords and Options.
Royce Pollard, Rod Monroe, Don Wagner, Thayer Rorabaugh, and Mr. Lookingbill presented our region's HOV issues to the Washington Transportation Commission on August 16, 2000. The Commission was impressed with the bi-state cooperation and work on this project. It was impressive to have an Oregon elected official attend and testify before them on the HOV issue. The Commission supported HOV for the Vancouver area and requested a resolution in support of the project be passed at their September meeting. Mr. Lookingbill said that Representative Mielke was also at the Commission meeting but did not speak. Mr. Lookingbill said a letter was to be sent to the RTC Board Members from Representative Mielke with his concerns of HOV.
Chair Pollard said the Commission would have signed a resolution that day if we had had one ready in hand. It was very positive. Don Wagner said at this point, the resolution would probably be on the consent agenda for September. He said the Washington Commission now understands that part time HOV is for our area which is part of the commute shed of Portland and not from Seattle. Mr. Wagner said the HOV project is moving along quite well. The termination point will be at Mill Plain, and it will not be carried across the Mill Plain structure. Mr. Wagner said the e-mail letter from Representative Mielke was going to the 17th, 18th, and 49th Districts' delegation stating his plans to go to the Transportation Committees of the Legislature not the Commission with his non support of HOV on the I-5 corridor. RTC Board members requested copies of the letter to be sent to them. Arch Miller said it would also be helpful to have along with the copy of the letter a list of the positive points of HOV for our area. Mr. Lookingbill would send copies of the letter and a list of highlights of the proposed southbound HOV to Board members.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:20 p.m.
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