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MINUTES OF THE
MARCH 29, 2006 – 2:30 p.m.
1. Call to Order
Mr. Nothenberg stated that a quorum was present and called the meeting to order at 2:38 p.m.
2. Introduction of Nathaniel Ford, Sr., newly appointed Executive Director, MTA
Mr. Ford thanked Mr. Nothenberg and members of the Board for the opportunity to address them and stated he has been in San Francisco for a little over two months as director of MTA. It has been a great experience. One thing he has noted while talking to various groups is that the Bay Area is a large supporter of mass transit. Having worked in different parts of the country, he has found that’s not always the case. But here you clearly understand that public transit has its benefits not just to those who have no other choice but to those who are choice riders; and, if you have a good, well run transit system it would be the number one mode of choice. Mr. Ford said he is happy about being in that environment. It is a challenging environment.
Over the past 22 years in mass transit, Mr. Ford stated he has worked in New York, at BART and most recently in Atlanta where he served as general manager. In all of his travels he has learned that there are different challenges in different cities; there are no transit systems or cities that are exactly the same. San Francisco has its unique challenges as it relates to transit as well as to traffic and congestion. Fortunately, the decision was made to merge DPT and Muni. This was a great idea and other cities will probably follow suit in years to come. This merger gives you an opportunity. While there are challenges with transit, one of the challenges is obviously automobile traffic and mobility within the city. MTA also has that under its jurisdiction and will have a great opportunity to try and resolve all of those issues.
Mr. Ford said he has learned quite a bit since he’s been in San Francisco and looks forward to learning a great deal from Board members. He has also learned a great deal from MTA staff in terms of our operation. He will use that and his years of experience and apply it to what he learns and looks forward to embarking on a great adventure by taking this system from what is a good system to a great system. He noted that there is one exceptional thing working for MTA: people in San Francisco understand transit and they want more and more of it. They want it in different forms, they want it flexible and they want it reliable; that’s clear.
The challenge is always financial in terms of finding finances to run your operation and more recently in terms of the economic down turn that everybody experienced these last few years. Transit systems have born the brunt of that. We’ve taken a pretty big hit. Muni’s system has reduced service and cut back on services. Fortunately this budget that is being presented to the Board of Supervisors (it has already been approved by the MTA Board) does have some enhancements. We’re putting back additional fare inspectors 1) to make sure we’re getting all the fares that we should be receiving; and 2) to put an additional presence-- more people--in the system. That helps from a security standpoint as well as deters acts of vandalism and things of that nature. We’ve increased our safety personnel to deal more effectively with recent serious accidents involving pedestrians and being able to properly investigate safety incidents and respond to those. Third Street will be opening so more operators have been added to operate that’ we expect to begin running in the winter this year. While MTA is not totally out of the woods, its financial situation is much better than it was in previous years.
During these challenging times, it’s not just about cutting on services. We must look at opportunities to increase revenues. He was pleased to see the Hotel Vitale project, which he understands Board members had a large, instrumental role in developing that property along with MTA and making it a revenue generator for the agency. He actually stayed at the hotel during a visit to San Francisco. There are a lot more opportunities such as this for the MTA, and he would like to continue to partner with the Board on similar projects. His office and the MTA staff are available to work with the Board because we see the Board as a partner.
Mr. Ford then asked MTA staff present to introduce themselves.
Mr. Ludwig said the Board has been in business for a long time but its finances are being depleted at the point. He encouraged MTA and the City to consider another bond issue. Unless another bond is issued, SFMRIC’s function is very limited. He stated that MTA needs the Board and they are ready and willing to support the agency. All efforts should be made to create a new bond issue.
Mr. Ford responded that he is in the process of searching for a new CFO (Chief Financial Officer) for MTA. In addition, Carter Rohan, Director of Construction, has recently been hired. One of the activities he will be pushing for with Mr. Rohan and the new CFO is a thorough examination of MTA’s capital improvement projects. They will be taking a look at all assets and infrastructure to assess its useful life, see what needs to be replaced, rehabilitated and in what time frame. Based on that and MTA’s cash flow, we will have a better idea of what our capital needs are and will be in a better position to talk about a bond issue. He should have this assessment completed within the next few months. Mr. Rohan will attend a future meeting to introduce himself and to let the Board know more about this project.
Mr. Nothenberg stated the Board would need some lead time once decisions are made on the agency’s needs. It will take one to one and a half years for the Board to have enough funds to approve projects.
Mr. Ford stated that Mr. Bill Lieberman, Director of Planning, is working with the Controller’s office on an 18 month transit effectiveness study, which will entail examining the entire Muni system—its bus stops, scheduling, street design as it relates to services and other measures. A consultant has been selected and the project is about to get underway. Mr. Lieberman will also attend a future Board meeting and report on the progress of this study.
3. Public Comment
No public comment was received.
4. Approval of minutes of the Board meeting of July 25, 2005
On motion to approve the minutes of the July 25, 2005 meeting: Unanimously approved. (Escher, Moylan-absent).
5. Election of Officers
On motion by Ms. Lenvin to keep the Board membership unchanged until its next meeting: Unanimously approved. (Escher, Moylan-absent).
6. Discussion and distribution of FY04-05 Audited Financial Statements of SFMRIC
Mr. Wallace Tang, Manager of Financial Planning and Accounting, reviewed the audited and certified financial statement done by KPMG. The auditor sent a letter stating that there were no management recommendations.
Mr. Nothenberg stated that the Board had made some rescissions at its last meeting that do not seem to be reflected in the report. He would like to know whether SFMRIC’s remaining commitments are in balance. Mr. Emblidge asked on behalf of the Board how did SFMRIC get from $4.3 million in the financial statement as of June 30, 2005 to the $3.0 million on the other handout that was provided. And, did we do that in a way to keep that $3.064 million in line with our remaining funds.
Mr. Tang will respond in writing to Mr. Nothenberg with a copy to Board members.
Mr. Nothenberg also asked for confirmation from the trustee of SFMRIC’s balance. Mr. Emblidge with ask the trustee to provide Board members with account balance information.
Mr. Tang then presented Mr. Nothenberg with a check for $197,000 in partial reimbursement of funds the Board allocated toward site preparation at Mission Steuart. This first payment comes due at the end of March. Mr. Nothenberg thanked Mr. Tang on behalf of the Board. The funds will go back into SFMRIC for allocation to a future project.
Mr. Norman Rolfe asked whether the $197,000 was the total payment received by Muni from Hotel Vitale. Ms. Leonardo responded that Hotel Vitale has paid Muni approximately $348,000 to date.
7. Update by MTA staff regarding status of all SFMRIC-funded projects
Mr. Sunshine stated that each project manager would give a brief presentation on SFMRIC-funded projects and review funding balances during their presentation. The current project update format will be used in all future presentations.
Ms. Monique Webster, Manager of Capital Planning, briefly summarized the SFMRIC Project Funding Update, which is a summary of all grant funded projects. She pointed out that Project 41 consisted of funds allocated for a federal grant match for purchase of equipment. All of these funds have been drawn down and expended.
Ms. Lenvin asked that future updates be dated. In addition, she’d like to know how the Board should view balances if they appear different from previous updates and whether or not staff will explain the differences. She also inquired whether the Board should be concerned about draw downs that are not explained. She had thought Project 41 was for trolley coach procurement.
Ms. Webster responded that Project 41’s title was a misnomer because the federal grant and SFMRIC funds were for purchase of equipment.
Islais Creek Project, Project 54
Mr. John Funghi, Construction Project Manager, provided drawings of the Islais Creek project and outlined the different segments. The site is almost eight and one-half acres when it is assembled. It borders property under the I-280 freeway, Indiana Street, Islais Creek and Cesar Chavez. This will be a state-of-the-art rubber tire fleet (40-foot fleet) facility; it will house 165 vehicles and be a full service operations and maintenance facility. So essentially, the vehicles will be housed, dispatched and maintained within its premises. As a condition of the development and because of the property’s relationship to the water, it requires certain land entitlements like BCDC and Art Commission approval. The shoreline improvement work, which will be a Muni public park to be built for approximately $2.5 million, will be created on the north shore of Islais Creek that will be open to the public and Muni staff. He displayed artist renderings of the bus facility as viewed from the south shore of Islais Creek. He noted that Artist Nobi Osawa has been commissioned to build the largest art structure in the history of San Francisco. It is a skeletal structure of the ship, Jeremy O’Brien, and will be a part of the waterfront park. Most of the necessary land has been secured. Extensive site preparation will be necessary due toxics in the soil from its former wartime and industrial uses. The soil must be decontaminated, the land--due to its being low-lying--must be upgraded to withstand flooding, soil subsidence and construction of the shoreline park public improvements. It is estimated that these improvements will be approximately $6.5 million. This project is also part of the Citywide green building effort. These tasks are part of Phase 1 and are scheduled for completion by August 2008. Under Phase 2 construction of the operations and maintenance facility will be done. Work on these features is scheduled to begin in August 2008 and run through August 2010.
Ms. Lenvin asked for clarification of land ownership. She wanted to verify that no one agency owned the land the project will be built on. Mr. Funghi agreed and explained the project will be on land owned by Muni, PUC (a MOU is in place), the Port and CalTrans. Muni has control of all areas except for approximately 2.4 acres that is owned by CalTrans. Staff and the City Attorney are currently working to acquire CalTrans property through a “friendly condemnation” of this property to complete the project. He believes this effort will be successful. The total project contract is approximately $23 million. Because of the site problems, all underground improvements must be done in one project.
Mr. Nothenberg asked if project delays will affect the development of the Kirkland property. Mr. Sunshine stated he did not believe there will be significant delays.
Ms. Lenvin asked if the Board should communicate its concerns regarding Islais Creek delays affecting the Kirkland project to the MTA Board. Mr. Sunshine stated the Board’s concerns would be relayed to the MTA Board and that a letter from SFMRIC to that board would be appropriate.
Mr. Rolfe inquired how the 165 buses to be housed at Islais Creek compare with what is now housed at Kirkland. And, will all Muni vehicles be hybrid in the future.
Mr. Sunshine replied the department is heading in that direction and that bus routes may be reassigned in future. He will schedule a briefing by Mr. Lieberman at a future board meeting to address these issues.
Paratransit Debit Card, Project 56
Mr. Roger Nguyen, Construction Project Manager, explained the department hopes to automate the current manual taxi scrip system. The program will eliminate the manual handling of scrips; therefore, reduce administrative costs and at the same time improve monitoring capabilities. Yellow, Luxor and 750 other cabs will participate in the system. It will make the scrip system easier to use for both patrons and cab companies. The budget is approximately $4.8 million; the project duration is 20 months.
Mr. Nothenberg asked how far along the project is since very little money has been spent. He also inquired whether the equipment used will be off the shelf.
Mr. Nguyen stated the project has been issued notice to proceed and they are currently resolving some issues with some of the cab companies. The companies have issues with the equipment proposed and staff is trying to reach a solution that makes everyone happy. The equipment is all off the shelf. There are no sole source issues to resolve.
Purchase and Rehabilitate Historic Streetcar and Historic PCC Streetcar Rehabilitation
Ms. Kerstin Magary, Senior Project Manager reviewed these projects, numbers 57 and 58. Two of the PCC cars have been rehabilitated. Of the 93 streetcars Muni has, at least one-third operate; two-thirds of the cars need work before being put into service. These cars will be used on both the F and the future E line. Three to four double-ended streetcars will be needed when both lines are operational because there is not turnaround facility on the E line. The funds designated for historic PCC streetcar rehabilitation will be used for this purpose. Specifications are being worked on in-house by engineers and should be out to bid later this year. In addition, there will be another project to rehabilitate the 10 New Jersey Transit PCC cars Muni purchased. Both projects will be combined into one project to make the project attractive to more companies.
MTA purchased Historic Streetcar #913 at its own expense from the Orange Empire Museum for $200,000 in August 2005. Because Streetcar #952, Streetcar Named Desire, must be returned to New Orleans, car 913 is its planned replacement. The SFMRIC Board rescinded $375,000 in proposed funding for the purchase of and CPUC and ADA rehab work on Streetcar named Desire; therefore, MTA will fund Streetcar #913’s rehabilitation.
Ms. Lenvin said she recalled the Board rescinding funds designated for purchase of Historic Streetcar #952 and that those funds be returned to unprogrammed funds. Mr. Emblidge stated this is correct; a resolution had been passed at its previous Board meeting (7/25/05).
Mr. Sunshine stated the department had purchased Historic Streetcar #913 because it was available and the department wanted to replace Historic Streetcar #952. MTA will be financing rehabilitation of this streetcar.
On motion by Ms. Lenvin, the Board voted unanimously to rescind Project 57, Purchase and Rehabilitate Historic Streetcar, and directed that the funds designated for this project be returned to SFMRIC Board undesignated funds. (Absent Escher, Moylan)
Ms. Ha Nguyen reviewed this project, which is for construction of a structure in Geneva Yard to enclose and protect MTA’s historic streetcar fleet. She stated the project will provide 24 spaces for historic streetcar storage as originally planned. Because of the scope of the project, $70,000 in ADA upgrades will be necessary to the building. A calendar item will go to the MTA Board on April 18 for approval of the RFP. The project should be completed by the end of 2007.
Central Control Facility
Ms. Nguyen reported that MTA is awaiting assistance from DTIS with getting the equipment up and running as well as training. A consultant, Alcatel, has been chosen for necessary ATCS work. Staff is working with Alcatel to finalize an agreement. The project should be completed by 2007.
Kertsin Magary briefly described the project, which is to be low/moderate housing, commercial property. Extensive community outreach by MTA staff and consultant has been made to date regarding this project. She stated that meetings have been held with the Mayor’s office, Board of Supervisors, City Planning and other City agencies and community groups to build a consensus of what should be constructed on the site. The RFP/RFQ should be out this year; the EIR will take 18-24 months.
Mr. Douglas Wright, consultant for the project, reported he had hired and met with Mr. John Kriken, architect, to develop schematics for the site that include height, bulk, housing and commercial floor space. They will be meeting with community groups to develop ideas. The consultant contract funds already designated will cover these expenses.
8. Consideration of renewal of contracts for general counsel services and accounting service
Mr. Emblidge stated that SFMRIC’s accountant, Mr. Desmond, was unable to attend today’s meeting. He suggested postponing consideration of accounting services until Mr. Desmond could attend.
On motion by Mr. Ozan, the Board unanimously approved authorizing Scott Emblidge, legal counsel, to work with the Controller to find an accountant with consideration of MBE/WBE status; Mr. Desmond is to be included on eligible candidate list, and report back to the SFMRIC Board on eligible candidates. (Absent - Escher, Moylan).
On motion of Mr. Ludwig, the Board voted unanimously to retain Scott Emblidge as legal counsel. (Absent – Escher, Moylan).
9. Consideration of appointment of R. James Slaughter to the SFMRIC Board of Directors
Mr. Nothenberg stated he would like to postpone this item until Mr. Slaughter could be present.
Mr. Sunshine was asked to discuss with Mr. Ford pre-approving Mr. Slaughter for membership on the SFMRIC Board.
On motion by Ms. Lenvin, the Board voted unanimously to continue the current structure of the SFMRIC Board until its next meeting. (Absent – Escher, Moylan).
10. Such other business as may come before the Board of Directors
No business items were discussed.
11. Setting a date and time for the next Board of Directors meeting
Legal Counsel Scott Emblidge will poll the SFMRIC Board to determine if a quorum is available for Wednesday, June 28, 2006, at 2:00 p.m.
The meeting adjourned at 4:37 p.m.
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Corrected from version originally posted on October 2, 2006.