June Commonwealth Transportation Board Workshop and Action Meeting
The Workshop Meeting of the Commonwealth Transportation Board convened at the Central Office Auditorium of the Virginia Department of Transportation Building in Richmond, Virginia on June 13, 2016. The agenda for the Workshop portion of the meeting can be found here. Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Layne, called the meeting to order and said that Governor Terry McAuliffe would be addressing the Board.
- I. CTB Workshop
- Remarks by Governor MCauliffe: Governor McAuliffe was greeted with a standing ovation and began by thanking all of the VDOT staff members who have taken part in the House Bill 2 process. He took a quick picture with staff members before continuing to address the Board about House Bill 2 and their upcoming vote to decide which transportation projects the Commonwealth would be moving forward.
Governor McAuliffe began by talking about the transportation work that had been done throughout his administration. He thanked Secretary Layne and his staff for all of their hard work and commitment to transportation in the Commonwealth. Governor McAuliffe stated that the House Bill 2 process has successfully taken politics out of transportation decisions. He said that House Bill 2 is a data driven process where major transportation decisions are made using metrics rather than politics.
Governor McAuliffe referenced both I-66 Inside and Outside the Beltway stating that there was progress being made with these projects. He also mentioned that there is continued work to be done on fixing issues with the metro and addressing safety concerns. Governor McAuliffe mentioned all of the work that has been done with transportation in the Northern Virginia Corridor and said that his administration has fulfilled its promises to that area of Virginia. He also explained that the Hampton Roads area has the potential to be a very dynamic region, but it is currently being crippled by all the tunnels and congestion. Governor McAuliffe also pointed out that many communities are beginning to gain access to rail transportation and that the Commonwealth needed to continue to expand its rail capacity.
Governor McAuliffe highlighted the importance of the Atlantic Gateway Project. He said that receiving funding from the grant we applied for through the federal government would be a huge opportunity for the Commonwealth.
Governor McAuliffe stressed that transportation is a crucial element in building the New Virginia Economy. He said that Virginia must be a navigable state if we want businesses and people to come visit and move to the Commonwealth. He concluded by thanking the CTB for all of their hard work and dedication and urged them to keep moving forward because there are a lot of opportunities out there.
In response to a question from CTB member Marty Williams the Governor said that we had wasted a year on Metro and that we can’t have a project like that linger. He noted that Virginia needed to continue to fix its existing infrastructure, particularly in the wake of a tough winter. He said we need to prepare for hurricanes and the models are showing it could be one of the worst hurricane seasons in years. He mentioned that VDOT had held a lot of meetings on I-66 and got shouted at a lot. He said VDOT felt more like he does for a day. CTB member Shannon Valentine asked the Governor how we can do a better job letting the people in the rest of the Commonwealth know how important metro is to the state. The Governor replied that 40% of the state’s revenues come from Northern Virginia and these revenues help southside and southwest Virginia.
CTB member William Fralin said the openess that this Administration had brought to transportation governmental decisions is unprecedented. He said all the reviews are positive and that the federal government and other states could learn from the Virginia example. He also noted that the P3 process had been revamped and that it was now a very open process with a revised manual. The Governor said they have been working on the P3 process and made it run like a business. He noted he had selected a bipartisan cabinet including Republicans, such as Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne. He said he was pleased with the information given to legislators last session including the binder that included the HB 2 scoring for all projects, which was unprecedented.
CTB member Court Rosen asked the Governor about autonomous vehicles. The Governor replied that they had passed legislation to allow them to get license plates and to allow them to use the bigger screens when they are operating in autonomous mode. The Governor said he wants Virgiina to be thought of as the place in America for not only autonomous vehicles but also for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s). He noted he had recently driven a Tesla and was amazed by the speed of the car. He closed by saying the CTB now has money to spend and metrics by which it can makes its decisions.
- Update on VDOT Budget: John Lawson, VDOT CFO, next gave an Update on the Fiscal Year 2017 VDOT Annual Budget. He noted the change in the maintenance figure that includes the $30 million increase approved at last month’s CTB meeting. He point out that the operating budget for VDOT in FY 17 was about $4.9 billion, excluding the regional revenues generated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Secretary Layne highlighted that funds for State of Good Repair, High Priority Projects and District Grants would increase as the years pass and the old CTB formula is phased out in 2020 and the new program is fully implemented in 2021. He also noted the CPR bond authority is ending. Lawson concluded by reminding the CTB they would be voting on this budget at the action meeting the next day.
- DRPT Budget and Six-Year Program: Steve Pittard, CFO of DRPT, next presented a DRPT SYIP and Budget Update. He began by noting there was a $9 million increase in the final over the draft FY 17-22 SYIP for DRPT. He said $1 million was recommended as an additional project to be used for a Safe Track TDM grant (slide 3). He said that Secretary Layne and the Governor had issued a directive to the agency on Safe Track that would be discussed further later in themeeting. He reviewed the gap in revenues that would remain when the CPR bonds expire in 2021 (slide 4) and briefed the CTB on the Transit Capital Study that was authorized by the 2016 GeneralAssembly (slide 5).
Secretary Layne commented that without additional revenues or bond capacity in 2021 they would either be forced to cut all state funding for transit capital other than WMATA or to cut funding for WMATA. He said they will be making the case either for new bond capacity or new dedicated revenues for transit. Layne said while a lot has been said about metro being the only heavy rail system in the country without a dedicated revenue source, it is important to note that those other jurisdictions voted in their revenue sources. He said legislators will need to be convinced even though many don’t directly benefit from transit programs. Fralin said this problem, if undressed, will get in everyone’s pockets. He said if money isn’t found the funds could come from those intended for other parts of the state. Secretary Layne said they need to make the case for this investment. CTB member Gary Garczynski said they can’t leave the federal government out of the equation.
- Proposed Final FY 2017-2022 SYIP. John Lawson next provided a review of the proposed final FY 17-22 VDOT and DRPT SYIP. His presentation began with highlights of the program, including $1.7 billion for HB 2 projects via the District Grant Program and High Priority Projects Program, funding for widening I-66 insidethe beltway (Slide 2), $150 million for revenue sharing in FYT 2017 and $100 million in the remaining five years of the SYIP and full implementation of the new construction formula by FY 2021 that includes 45% for State of Good Repair (SGR), 25% for High-Priority Projects and 27.5% for the District Grants Program (slide 3). William Fralin noted that specific projects were identified under the SGR program at the start of the SYIP but not in the back end of the program. Commissioner Kilpatrick said they had identified projects in years one and two for the SGR program but in the out years only included total dollars per district based upon the percentages previously announced. He said the projects will be brought back to the CTB for approval for the out years in which specific projects have not yet been identified. Court Rosen asked if VDOT had determined the percentages of SGR funds for each District and Secretary Layne responded that VDOT set the percentages working within the parameters established by the General Assembly that set a minimum and maximum percentage of the SGR funds that could go to any single District.
Commissioner Kilpatrick said the CTB would approve tomorrow specific projects for year one of the SGR program and that the dollar allocations for the future years of the program are projections. He said because projects are selected based upon the condition of the asset, if the percentage of funds allocated in a District is reduced in one year, it does not mean that an SGR project selected for funding won’t get done, only that it might be pushed off a year. Kilpatrick continued by saying he didn’t expect wild swings in the percentages but there will be some changes. He also said the SGR list of bridges provided the CTB is complete but the list on pavements was too long to provide and shows only pavement projects slated for repair in year one. Secretary Layne said the percentages for each District will change from time to time.
Fralin said he wants to make sure that when they allocate funds for a specific SGR project it will get completed. Kilpatrick said it would and that it is an asset management, not can HB 2 process. Once a project is funded it will be completed and there will not be restoring. He said if there are insufficient dollars in one year to do an SGR project slated to go it will be funded the next year based on the internal scoring system used by VDOT. Fralin expressed concern on how SGR funds will be allocated and Commissioner Kilpatrick explained there is a difference between maintenance and SGR projects. He said SGR funds were for more significant repairs than, for example, milling. He said there was no hard and fast rule for the use of maintenance funds versus SGR funds and that some projects may have a combination of both funding sources with the simple goal being improving the whole existing system. Fralin said he was fine with that but they need to watch the fact there is not objective criteria for utilizing maintenance versus SGR funds and that when funds get tight SGR funds could be moved to maintenance for normal paving work. Secretary Layne acknowledged this process was more subjective than the HB 2 process.
Lawson reviewed the SGR funding distribution (slide 9). Gary Garczynski pointed out that Northern Virginia bridges were in good shape and that other areas of the state should be pleased these dollars are going elsewhere than Northern Virginia. CTB member Alison Detunoq asked for clarification on the type of bridge work included in SGR. Secretary Layne explained it was for repairs and not new capacity which was addressed through HB 2 funding. Garrett Moore, VDOT Chief Engineer, explained that two funding sources could be used on a bridge if the project included both repairs and new capacity. The discussion concluded with Secretary Layne saying the Governor spoke at the meeting this morning because of the historic nature of the vote on the new SYIP tomorrow.
- Local Programs Update: Julie Brown next gave an update on FY 2017 Local Programs. Her presentation covered two subjects, urban maintenance payments to cities and towns and the maintenance payments made to Arlington County and Henrico County (the only two counties in the state that maintain their own roads). She noted that the total budget for urban maintenance payments to cities and towns was $371 million and included $20,717 per lane mile for principal and minor arterial roads and $12,161 per lane miles for collector roads and local streets. (slide 5). Brown noted that Arlington and Henrico will receive a combined $66 million for FY 2017, that Arlington received a flat $18,807 per lane mile and Henrico a flat $13,685 per lane mile (slide 7). Marty Williams asked how the payments to Henrico and Arlington compared to the Urban Maintenance Payments and Brown said they would report back on that at a future meeting.
- I-66 Outside the Beltway: Susan Shaw, VDOT Megaprojects Director, gave the CTB an Update on the Procurement and HOV-2 to HOV-3 to HOT-3 Conversionfor I-66 outside the beltway. Shaw advised the Board that while they would vote on the HOT-3 conversion at this meeting, it would not go into effect until the new Express Lanes open to traffic in 2020. Layne explained that they CTB was being asked to approve the HOT-3 conversion now because they need this approval as part of their negotiations with prospective private partner teams. Shaw reviewed the roles and responsibilities of the state and its private partners for the project (slide 3) and reviewed the key features of the procurement and the risks retained by the private partner (slide 4). She noted while VDOT has been leading on public communications during the procurement the private partner would take the lead as operations begin on the road. Shaw concluded discussion of the procurement by reviewing the next steps including issuing a final RFP on June 24 through financial close in April 2017 (slide 6).
William Fralin asked if there are backups from a fiasco inside the beltway that result in spill over of traffic onto outside the beltway, who will assume the risk? Layne said the concessionaire would assume such risk but the early models show inside the beltway helps outside the beltway. Layne also said they had worked with the teams on Alternative Technical Concepts (ATCs) and while they can’t reveal them, they are very encouraged by them and have reached out to the impacted localities using confidentiality agreements to discuss some aspects of the ATCs.
Secretary Layne said VDOT had done a good job of handling the negotiations to where we are today. He said in the past the pressure at this point in the negotiations has been to close the deal. He said last week he and Commissioner Kilpatrick had met with the two concessionaires. He said they are at the point where the rubber meets the road and the state would not be a slave to get this done. He said they will have some meetings to look hard at this and their objective will be to get the best deal and if they have to adjust the negotiating schedule some to get that, they will. He said a lot of ideas have been put out there and they want to get the best value. He said some are non-starters and some are not.
Layne continued by saying they are marching to get the best value for taxpayers and that having a public contribution of less than $600 million is a key desire but not the only desire. He said they may put up a little to get the best value. He said VDOT and its team have done a great job and they are now focusing on getting the best value.
Gary Garczynski said he and Scott Kasprowicz want to make it clear we still have public financing in our pocket. Layne said we are going forward with the project no matter what and they may or may not have a private partner. He said they are dealing from a position of strength. He said the private parties have been fantastic and it appears they are on the right path.
William Fralin said he wants to make sure they are actively moving forward with their own proposal. Layne said they are not only looking at what they think but also hearing from some of the best minds in the world. He said a private partner might say an idea is worth $50 million but they will determine independently if it is worth that. He said he believes the project is in the best position possible. Fralin said he wants to make sure they have an executable project no matter what happens with the P3 procurement. Layne said they would but they would need to issue the bonds which would amount to about six additional months on the timeline. He concluded this discussion by saying the project is in the best position to move forward, that it looks like and he hopes they will have a private partner and that they are headed in the right direction.
Shaw next presented on the HOT-3 conversion on I-66 outside the beltway (slides 8-12) noting the degradation of speeds and increased congestion on the HOV lanes eastbound. She reviewed 2014 travel speeds on the general purpose and HOV lanes and showed how those speeds would decrease by 2020 with no express lanes down to below 20 miles per hour eastbound in the mornings (slide 10) and how conversion to HOV-3 and elimination of hybrid vehicles for free on the HOV lanes would increase morning travel times eastbound speeds on those lanes to 45 mph in 2020. She further noted how with the opening of the Express Lanes travel speeds in those lanes would increase to well above 60 mph and in the general purpose lanes to nearly 45 mph by 2025 (slide 10). Secretary Layne said they will keep the CTB informed of the schedule for the procurement and the next big step will be issuance of the final RFP.
- I-66 Multimodal Project Inside the Beltway: Tim Roseboom of DRPT presented on the NVTC recommendations for grant awards for I-66 inside the beltway multimodal projects. His presentation can be found hereand the CTB is scheduled to vote on the recommendations in July. William Fralin questioned the wisdom of some of the proposals and Layne said he had distributed a letter from Jim LeMunyon that expressed reservations about some of the projects, including a bike share proposal in Falls Church. Fralin said some of the projects may not produce less car trips but could just switch people from using one mode of transit to another. Secretary Layne emphasized that all of these projects would come from tolls collected from the inside the beltway project and that these funds could only be used for multimodal projects. CTB member Shannon Valentine agreed on the importance of evaluating the effectiveness of these programs and whether they actually get cars off the highways. Layne concluded this discussion by saying the CTB members should get their questions on these projects to Jenifer Mitchell, DRPT Director, and that once he sees the questions and answers they will make a final determination on whether to vote on the projects at the July CTB meeting.
The CTB then adjourned the workshop portion of the meeting to be continued in the morning.
The CTB reconvened on the morning of Tuesday, June 14 to finish its workshop and hold its action meeting.
- Safe Track Update: Time Roseboom next gave an update on the WMATA Safe Trackprogram. He noted three years of maintenance work is being accelerated into about one year. He reviewed the schedule of work and surges (slide 2 through 5). Jennifer Mitchell pointed out that Virginia has most of the surges in the program scheduled for the first part of the program. This was done she said to avoid surges in Virginia during the construction of major projects like I-66 and to do this work in the summer when traffic is lighter. Secretary Layne said they would be monitoring this initiative carefully and that it was not tied to more funding. He said it was critical to get this right if they are going to have future discussions of new revenues.
- VTRANS: Deputy Secretary of Transportation Nick Donahue next gave a VTRANS Update. He began by saying the presentation was just a brief overview and that they would be sitting down with each CTB member individually to brief them further and get input on their region. He said staff has been working on this project since early 2014 and that it was about developing the future pipeline of projects. They will be trying to reach consensus on the needs and problems to be addressed in the future and then will look at the best ways to solve them. Secretary Layne said VTRANS is becoming an important process that was taking on a lot more importance and will guide a lot of what they do in the future. Secretary Layne concluded the VTRANS discussion by saying the projects considered under HB 2 were significantly impacted by the fact we don’t have enough money and this has forced us to make choices based on the revenues we have. He said the next round of HB 2 will have less than half the funding we had for the first round and that is why this process is only being done once every two years.
- Commissioner’s Items: Commissioner Kilpatrick spoke on two items. First, he discussed the revenue sharing program. He said questions had been raised about initially providing a pro-rata portion of funds and the fairness of that allowance which guarantees the remainder of the project will be funded in the future. He said a variety of policy issues and potential legislative changes had arisen and they will be bringing back to the CTB in late summer or early fall recommendations on the program. Secretary Layne said they had heard a lot about the program and that it comes back to the level of funding available. It was noted that the HB 2 program was now named the SMART SCALE program which is an acronym comprised of various elements of the HB 2 program. William Fralin echoed concerns about initially partially funding revenue sharing projects and that it may be a way to game the system.
Second, Commissioner Kilpatrick reported that they were folding the Virginia P3 office back into VDOT and that it would report to him effective immediately. Secretary Layne said putting the office back in VDOT puts its focus on transportation. He said they were not de-emphasizing P3’s with this move but were just putting the office in the right place. Secretary Layne mentioned the recent JLARC report on state contracting that included discussion that state agencies did not always appropriately analyze risks when entering into contracts, one example being the failed Route 460 P3 project. He said putting the P3 office within VDOT can help VDOT with its assessment of risk. Fralin said any JLARC criticisms of the Route 460 contract missed the fact that such concerns at VDOT had been addressed with the new P3 guidelines. Kilpatrick reported the JLARC report focused on broad state procurement policies and not only made reference to Route 460 but also said good things about VDOT, such as the success of its Dashboard as well as how it worked well with the Attorney General’s Office in its contracting activities. Secretary Layne said because of attorney client privilege there are some things the public won’t know that were done with previous contracts. He said the JLARC report may prompt the General Assembly to take action to use what has been done at VDOT as a model for other areas. He said the Virginia Information Technology Agency contract was a big issue. He concluded by saying the P3 procurement process was not meant to be a default process but instead was to be a way to look to see where the private sector can do better and, if so, those capabilities can be harvested.
- Director’s Items: Jennifer mitchell reported on the status of proposed legislation to create the Metro Safety Commission that will need to be passed by Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia in identical form to become effective. She also reported that the Greater Washington Board of Trade had recently met on metro funding. She said Secretary Layne had made good points on what is needed to get additional funding for metro. She said safety remains the priority. She also mentioned the new funding advisory board that had been created regarding long-term funding for transit. She said it will also be looking at a new prioritization framework (similar to SMART SCALE) as well as something like State of Good Repair / asset management funding for transit.
12: Secretary’s Items: Secretary Layne advised the CTB that the Virginia Port Authority had reached agreement on the major business terms regarding its lease of the Virginia International Gateway facility in Portsmouth. He further reported a new spaceflight from Wallops Island was expected soon. Finally, he said in response to a question from William Fralin that the Atlantic Gateway grant application contained a number of projects. He said that while they are currently planning to extend the 95 Express Lanes 2 miles south, if they get the grant they may go further.
The workshop portion of the meeting was then adjourned and the action meeting was convened.
- CTB Action Meeting
The agenda for the Action Meeting can be found here.
- Public Comment: The only speaker during the public comment period was Stewart Schwartz of the Smart Growth Coalition who spoke in support of metro, smart growth and the need for transit.
- Action Items: The CTB approved all of the items presented at the Action Meeting that began with approval of the State of Good Repair prioritization process and the percentage fund distributions for the program. All five actions proposed by the Local Assistance Division were approved including the revenue sharing allocations and the proposed FY 2017 urban maintenance payments. Julie Brown restated they would brief the Board in the future on the maintenance payments to Arlington County and Henrico County. The CTB unanimously approved the FY 2017-2022 SYIP. Secretary Layne said this was a historic vote given the use of the SMART SCALE selection process. The 2017 Annual Budgets for VDOT and DRPT were approved without discussion. The CTB approved the HOV-2 to HOV-3 to HOT-3 conversion for I-66 outside the beltway. Secretary Layne noted again that this approval allows the procurement of a P3 to go forward.
Next, the CTB approved the award of the contract to operate the Express Lanes inside the beltway to Transcorp. Amanda Baxter said the award was for almost $18 million plus five years of maintenance for an additional $10 million. She said the contract had an option for a five year extension of the maintenance contract. Finally, the CTB approved the bid of Fort Myer Construction for inside the beltway toll gantries and signs. Court Rosen asked why the winning bid was nearly twice the VDOT estimate. Layne responded they basically “blew the estimate”. Kilpatrick said it was a highly accelerated schedule with disincentives for late performance. He said they don’t do a lot of these all electronic toll gantry projects and nationwide this work is usually included in much larger projects. Fralin said this result is a warning that when VDOT does projects on its own it can’t afford to have bids come in at two times the estimate. Layne said outside the beltway bidders would have preferred to have this work but they chose a different path in the best interest of taxpayers.
The meeting concluded with Secretary Layne thanking the board for its work over the last two years. He said over time the public will appreciate the benefits of SMART SCALE. He noted a new member will be at the July meeting who will replace CTB member John Matney who had asked not to be reappointed. Marty Williams praised Matney for his advocacy for Southwest Virginia. Layne said the July CTB meeting would include a presentation on Hampton Roads, there would be no meeting in August, the September meeting would be in Fredericksburg and the Governor’s Transportation Conference would be held in October in Northern Virginia.
Officers/Board of Directors
Vice President: S.D. Cagle
Secretary/Treasurer: George League
Immediate Past President: Chris Blevins
Full list here