Page Options
Up Arrow

Texas Department of Transportation Commission Meeting


Ric Williamson Hearing Room
Dewitt Greer Building
1125 East 11th Street
Austin, Texas

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


COMMISSION MEMBERS:

Deirdre Delisi, Chair
Ted Houghton, Jr.
Ned S. Holmes
Fred Underwood
William Meadows

STAFF:

Amadeo Saenz, Executive Director
Steve Simmons, Deputy Executive Director
Bob Jackson, General Counsel
Roger Polson, Executive Assistant to the
Deputy Executive Director

PROCEEDINGS

MS. DELISI: Good afternoon. It is 1:32 p.m. and I call this meeting of the Texas Transportation Commission to order. Note for the record that public notice of this meeting, containing all items on the agenda, was filed with the Office of the Secretary of State at 3:18 p.m. on June 15, 2010.

Before we begin, please take a moment to place your cell phones and other electronic devices either on off or on the silent mode, please.

Today's meeting will involve a series of discussions on various topics currently before the department and the commission. We will accept public comment that is relevant to the posted agenda items but we will not have a open comment period. To comment on an agenda item, please complete a yellow speaker's card and identify the agenda item on which you'd like to speak. You can find these cards at the registration table in the lobby. Please try and limit your comments to three minutes.

Before we begin with the agenda for today, commissioners, does anyone have anything you want to say? Always have something to say. Go ahead.

MR. HOUGHTON: Welcome to Judge Horn from Denton County.

MS. DELISI: Okay. So with that, Amadeo, I'm going to turn it over to you.

MR. SAENZ: Thank you, Madame Chair. The first item on today's discussion agenda is a presentation by Steve Simmons, deputy executive director, concerning our Sunset implementation plans.

MR. SIMMONS: Good afternoon, Madame Chair, commissioners. For the record, I'm Steve Simmons, deputy executive director at TxDOT.

I'm here to offer you an update on the department's implementation of the Sunset Advisory Commission's recommendations. When the Sunset Commission's recommendation came out in 2008, at the recommendation of the Sunset Commission, the department began working to implement the recommendations that did not require changes in statute, and this is an update to those items.

Issue 2 of the Sunset Commission's report deals with the transportation planning and development process. Specifically, they recommended several things: that TxDOT redevelop and regularly update a long-range statewide transportation plan; that TxDOT develop a system to measure and report transportation goals and milestones; and that the department establish a well-defined system of project programming.

In implementing these recommendations, the department has several plans and programs that are linked and working together to reach these recommendations. The Statewide Long-Range Transportation plan, the Strategic Plan and the Unified Transportation Program are all instrumental in achieving the recommendations in Issue 2. The department held its first series of public forums to receive comments on the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan and will hold another series this summer before compiling a draft plan to present to the commission later this year.

The 2011-2015 Strategic Plan is important in working toward the recommendations of Issue 2 because the Strategic Plan guides department policies and processes by setting forth specific goals, action steps and performance measures for the department to achieve. The draft Strategic Plan has received public comment and is set for final adoption by the commission on tomorrow's agenda.

Because the Unified Transportation Program guides project development, it is also an important component in achieving Issue 2. The UTP working group, along with the Transportation Planning and Project Development Rulemaking Advisory Committee, proposed new programming and planning draft rules which were proposed to the commission last month. Those draft rules are available for comment until July 12 and those comments will be reviewed and the rules will be ready for final commission adoption in August.

For Issue 2, on average we are about 79 percent complete with the most work still to be completed on the Statewide Long-Range Transportation Plan.

Issue 3 centered on the department's public involvement efforts, customer relationships and information sharing. The Sunset Commission recommended that the department develop standards for public involvement efforts, complaint tracking and sharing best practices. They also recommended centralizing marketing campaigns and making TxDot.gov, our website, more user-friendly.

An internal department work group established best practices being used in other states for public involvement. The work group also recommended an evaluation on the department's current public involvement strategy, and currently Texas Southern University is studying these efforts and activities and will make recommendations based on their findings to the work group later this summer. Once those findings are studied, staff will develop and draft a public involvement policy for the commission's review later this year.

We are currently testing a new, more dynamic complaint data tracking system. The department began a pilot project complaint business process system in 2008 based on conversations with Sunset staff that the department's complaint tracking system needed improvement. The complaint process was implemented statewide in 2009 using TxDOCS which is our file management system and TxDOCS had limitations, so the new tracking system called Customer Relationship and Feedback Training, or CRAFT, is currently being tested and will be operational statewide in the fall.

More formal efficient processes for sharing best practices have been created within the department. The online learning center, commonly known as I-WAY, can be accessed internally through Crossroads and now contains Team Rooms, and Team Rooms are online centers that allow users to post best practices and other relevant documents, create calendars and have threaded discussions. Also available on Crossroads is Share Point which offers an opportunity for staff to upload best practice documents on various subjects which can then be accessed by employees around the state.

An internal working group which I have been chairing has been working to develop a plan on centralizing the department's marketing campaigns. The work group has recommended establishing an internal -- and we're plagiarizing a little bit -- Ad Council which will meet quarterly and be responsible for activities that include developing an agency-wide plan to coordinate marketing events and establishing standards for campaigns and media events.

The Ad Council will meet this summer to develop strategies and plans to establish a pool of vendors for campaigns by the beginning of the year. We are also in discussions with the University of Texas Communications College to develop processes to gauge the recommended media programs as well as their effectiveness after they have been implemented.

A more streamlined TxDOT.gov was launched in December 2008. Since then, interactive databases such as Project Tracker and TxDOT Tracker have been added. These tools provide a way for Texans to find information about the department's projects, goals and milestones. A usability study is currently being done on the website to find opportunities for improvement in content delivery, and this study will conclude in the fall and any additional improvements to the website will begin.

The items in Issue 3 still have work to do and across all issue items of Item 3, the average completion is 65 percent with all items scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

Issue 4's recommendations focused on professional services contracts such as the communication policy for soliciting contracts, setting time frames and providing information on overhead rates to the districts for contracts. To address the communication policy issue, the Contract Management Manual was revised so now every contract must include a communications management plan before execution. This communication plan establishes stakeholders in the projects such as project and contract managers and team members and it outlines roles and responsibilities in the communication process throughout the contract.

The plan creates defined roles for TxDOT staff that communicates with external contractors and eliminates any confusion or inconsistencies that may occur when communicating with too many parties. A new contract management administration training course that covers contract negotiations and establishing overhead rates is now required for staff involved with contract negotiations. The process of providing overhead rate data to district negotiators in pre-negotiation parts has been revised and improved.

TxDOT staff is also receiving training in contract administration. Professional services contract administrators who now receive a mandatory two-part training. They receive a one-day initial training over video conference or employees can now access this on Crossroads. A more comprehensive four-day training taught by attorneys and engineers that know the department's contractor policies and needs make up the second half of the training.

The time frames for professional services contracts have also seen revision. In September 2008, specific time frames for the contracting process were established and incorporated into TxDOT policy. More recently, regional staff has developed standard operating procedures to reach contract execution within 100 days of receiving letters of interest.

To ensure oversight and accountability of contracts in district offices, regional directors and project development staff have developed detailed business plans which provide guidance and quality in the professional services contract program. To ensure consistency, regional staff monitors district project managers in certain tasks. Professional contract managers at the regional level also lead contract negotiations and maintain contract oversight throughout the project.

Issue 4 is approximately 98.6 percent complete, and because many of these items deal with standard operating procedures, training curriculum and other matters that will need to be updated, the issues are initially completed but will continue to be updated and improved as new rates and new information becomes the standard.

I hope this provides you with a good understanding of where the department is in implementing the Sunset Commission's recommendations. Across all items, the average completion is 82.9 percent. We continue to work to establish a long-range transportation plan and a public involvement policy for the commission's review. The department's complaint data system continues to be improved, our professional services contract area has undergone many improvements and updates to ensure our employees are more adequately able to communicate, negotiate and manage such contracts. Several of these items will also be re-evaluated and modified based on the recommendations in the Grant Thornton report.

The department will have its public hearing for our Sunset review in December, with our decision hearing in January which will lead to our recommendations to the 2011 Legislature. We look forward to receiving the Sunset Commission's comments and recommendations as we continue to improve this agency. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

MR. SAENZ: Thank you, Steve.

Commission, the next item, John Barton will present an update to you on the development of three major projects that we have been working on, one being 35 East in Dallas and Denton counties, the second project is the I-35W/820 interchange in Tarrant County, and of course, US 77 down in the Rio Grande Valley from 37 south. So John.

MR. BARTON: Thank you, Director Saenz. Good afternoon, Chair and commission members. For the record, my name is John Barton and I do, as I always say, have the distinct privilege and honor of working for you and the citizens of Texas as your assistant executive director for Engineering Operations.

As Director Saenz shared with you, we've been presenting to the commission information on three major projects of statewide significance and keep you abreast of our activities to develop and move those projects forward, and so today we're here again to share with you a brief update of where we stand on these projects. We'll start with the Interstate 35E project which is a project in our Dallas and Denton counties in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, and we have with us today Bob Brown from our Comprehensive Development Office there in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Mr. Bill Hale, our district engineer from Dallas, and I believe that we also have Judge Horn with us as well, if it's appropriate for her or anyone else from the Metroplex to offer comments.

But I would like to turn it over at this time to Bill and Bob to kind of give you some information on where we stand on the I-35E project, and then we'll move on, after you have that information and ask any questions, to the next project.

MR. HALE: Good afternoon. I'm Bill Hale with TxDOT in Dallas, and I'm here to talk about the I-35E/635 to US 380 in Dallas and Denton counties. On this I'm going to make a brief presentation and then there's folks from Dallas, there's actually two groups, Jayne Peters with the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition and Mary Horn will have discussions about that, and then we have the rest of the information will be provided by Bob and Mr. Barton

What I'll be showing on this is an overview of the corridor, the project status, the total project cost and the options for financing and delivery. The first slide you'll see right there shows the three segments on I-35E that will be taken into account from 635 up to 380. In this, the south section is from IH 635 to President George Bush Turnpike, roughly 5.5 miles; Segment 2 is the middle section, it's roughly 12.1 miles, it's from President George Bush Turnpike to FM 2181; and then the third section is the north section from 2181 to US 380, a 10.5 mile section, and this is key for University of North Texas in Denton.

It must be pointed out that all the cities along this corridor agree to re-designate SH 121 as a tolled corridor provided any received payment would be put in place for this corridor. This was part of a memorandum of understanding back in 2004 or '05, whenever 121 was being worked on, to put money in this project and the middle section has about $535 million placed on that for that purpose, and that was to allow for a toll road on 121.

As such, the middle section is the initial priority. The proposed typical sections for the entire length of the corridor, with the exception of the configuration modifications in the approach to 35W, are provided for. They provide for four general purpose freeway lanes with two concurrent managed lanes and two to three frontage roads across here. Right now there's no frontage roads across the lake, that provides that, which means that if you have a wreck out there you can actually go around it at that point. Right now if there's a breakdown, you're stuck in traffic. The proposed typical right of way width is 440 feet, a typical right of way expansion of about 140 feet, it was 300 when it was put in there.

Our most recent cost estimates for this 28-mile corridor, including all design, right of way, utility relocations, construction and oversight, amount to over $4.4 billion. The options that we're proposing on this would be for a project this size, similar to the LBJ Freeway project that we have right now, a project so large that we're looking at some way with either public-private help or with pass-through financing or some other source. that's the method that we're looking at today with this.

MR. HOUGHTON: Bill, out of the $4.4-, how much would be leveraged?

MR. HALE: It looks like right now we're looking at trying to see how far we can go, but it will be mostly leveraged. We have $500 million right now that will be put in there, $535 million.

MR. HOUGHTON: $500 million of tax dollars, gas tax dollars?

MR. HALE: It's the RTR dollars that are coming in on there, and right now there's no state or federal money being put on this.

MR. HOUGHTON: Well, you've got $4.4-. You've got $500 million, you're a little short.

MR. HALE: That's correct.

MR. HOUGHTON: So my point is how much would be leveraged as toll or what are you looking at out of a public-private partnership?

MR. HALE: On the private partnership would be the remainder from the $535 million.

MR. HOUGHTON: Fully finance the rest of it, you think?

MR. HALE: As much as possible.

MR. HOLMES: Also, I thought you said the $535 million was coming out of the 121 money.

MR. HALE: That's correct.

MR. HOLMES: Okay.

MR. BROWN: Just real quick, for the record, my name is Bob Brown, and I manage the CDA program in the DFW area.

One key aspect as far as how far we could leverage that $500 million will be based on the decision of which delivery model we use. If we use a public-private partnership or a concession CDA, we could probably achieve maybe a three-to-one or maybe a four-to-one leveraging of that $500 million. If we use that pass-through finance concept, it may only be a one-to-one or two-to-one leveraging.

MR. HOUGHTON: Do we have the authority to do such on this road?

MR. BROWN: We do not have CDA authority at this time.

MR. HOUGHTON: So it's a moot point right now.

MR. BROWN: And this may bring us to maybe asking our guests to speak.

MR. HALE: I guess that's the point we're coming to. There has been a point where an unsolicited proposal was provided to us. We have no ability to do CDAs at this point, all we have is the thought of maybe doing a pass-through toll, and we've been looking at that. It requires rule changes to take care of that. Outside of that, we have no opportunity right now except for the $535 million that's available to use. We've been requested by our local partners to discuss this, so we're going to discuss this as an opportunity. All we're saying is what it costs, what the project limits are, what we have and what we can do at this particular time ourselves.

MR. BARTON: And Commissioner Houghton, and again, for the record, John Barton, we just recently received a traffic and revenue study. I think as we continue to look at it and the project scope, we may be able to better answer the question you asked about how much leveraging may be possible under the various delivery models that may be available to us, and I think as Mr. Hale just mentioned, we do have the ability to move forward with the pass-through toll approach, it will require rule revisions, and I believe that you have asked us to bring those rules back for your consideration this summer after we had an opportunity to work with the legislature to discuss those further.

We obviously don't have the legal authority to move forward with a comprehensive development agreement at this time, and I think that the people that are here with us today from the Metroplex wanted to talk a little bit about that to the commission in their comments.

MR. HOLMES: Did I understand you say that even with a public-private partnership and CDA authority, the leverage would be in the three-to-one, four-to-one kind of range?

MR. BROWN: Just some early financial modeling based on our Level 2 traffic and revenue showed we could build or finance roughly in the neighborhood of $2 billion worth of work.

MR. HOLMES: $2- out of $4.4-.

MR. BROWN: Correct, so it's still a tremendous funding gap and there would need to be a large amount of public funds added, at last to build those northern sections. As you move through the corridor, the traffic numbers tend to drop as you get north; however, that north portion of the corridor is just as important as the southern portion as well.

MR. BARTON: And Commissioner Holmes, I think as we shared in our previous presentations, one of the things that would have to be done is cooperatively looking at the project with the public and the local elected officials and communities to determine if we could develop a phased approach, perhaps scale back the original construction to be replacement of the existing general purpose lanes and adding of the managed lanes rather than the expansion of some of the general purpose lanes that were envisioned in this $4.4 billion figure. So I wanted just to point out that it's possible to develop a project that addresses most of the need and the issues that are out there today that would be smaller than the $4.4 billion number that we've talked about this afternoon.

MR. HOLMES: And John, that's through changing the scope of the project. As we know, construction costs have been coming down pretty significantly, as we've recently visited about. When is the last time the $4.4- was looked at?

MR. BARTON: Bob, do you know when we've done our last project estimate?

MR. HOLMES: Is that a recent estimate or is that from two or three years ago?

MR. BROWN: It's a recent estimate.

MR. HOLMES: I see some nodding and shaking behind you.

MR. BROWN: That's still a current estimate.

MR. HALE: And at this time, I guess I'll ask the local officials here to make a discussion on this. Both of them are from the Dallas area, Judge Horn from Denton County, she's also part of the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, as well as Jayne Peters who is the chairman of it.

JUDGE HORN: Thank you. For the record, my name is Mary Horn and I am Denton County judge. Chairman Delisi and other members of the Texas Transportation Commission, I want to thank you for the opportunity to update you on what we and the North Texas region are doing on I-35.

North Texas is home to four different innovatively financed projects critical to our mobility. These projects are State Highway 121 toll road in Denton, Dallas and Collin counties, North Tarrant Express in Tarrant and Dallas counties, 635 or LBJ Freeway in Dallas County, and DFW Connector in Tarrant and Dallas counties. The last three projects are comprehensive development agreements with managed lane components. As you can see, the DFW Metroplex is very familiar with both the CDA process and the inclusion of managed lanes as part of our mobility plan.

The local elected officials of North Texas continue to support the inclusion of managed lanes in their most congested corridors for several reasons: first, managed lanes provide a means of collecting revenue to finance the entire corridor; this alternative allows the project to be constructed years in advance of the availability of gas tax supported improvements; and it improves the operational characteristics of the facility by reducing congestion on the general purpose lanes and by segregating long trips from inner city trips.

There are no issues associated with non-compete clauses in managed lane CDAs since the developer would be required to build the free-flowing lanes directly adjacent to the managed lanes as part of the project. Motorists can elect to use the managed lanes or the general purpose lanes.

Significant public involvement has occurred in the development of the I-35E corridor. Over the past two years, TxDOT and Denton County have worked with each community along the corridor to ensure that each community's needs were met by the ultimate improvements along I-35E. This process also included more than a dozen public meetings with residents along the corridor. Stakeholder meetings are regularly held with both the local governments and the citizens along the 28-mile corridor.

All the communities along the corridor have been involved with the development of I-35E and are in support of the proposed schematic which includes managed lanes and the use of public-private partnerships to deliver the project. The most common comment we get from our residents is: How long is it going to take to get it started and when will it be done?

The I-35E communities include Denton County, of course, the cities of Denton, Corinth, Lake Dallas, Hickory Creek, Highland Village, Lewisville, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Dallas, and of course, Dallas County. I-35E is truly a regional project that affects the mobility of the entire region, as well as the goods and services that traverse the NAFTA Corridor. The most congested segments of I-35E corridor average between 175,000 and 200,000 vehicles per day. Projected volumes for I-35E for its design year exceed 330,000 vehicles per day in the most congested areas.

Denton County and the Regional Transportation Council currently have, and excuse me, Bill, but I think we're leaving out some Denton County bonded debt funds in your $535-, I was told we're like at $590- with the bond funds available for the I-35E corridor. The inclusion of toll managed lanes in the corridor has already been approved by the Federal Highway Administration, the controlled schematic has been approved by TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, and public hearings are scheduled for Fall of 2010 with an environmental clearance expected by the first quarter of 2011.

The North Texas region understands that if we're going to deliver I-35E in a timely manner, we all have to do our part. To that end, Denton County has worked in partnership with TxDOT, North Central Texas Council of Governments, the Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition and local jurisdictions to create the I-35E Delivery Team. The Delivery Team's mission is to assist the state at every level of government involvement, to provide any resources necessary to expedite the development of the planning components of I-35E, to marshal local support behind the proposed plans for the delivery and construction in a timely manner.

To assist us in this effort, the Delivery Team has enlisted the help of Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition, and Coppell Mayor Jayne Peters, the current co-chair of DRMC, is here to discuss their efforts to assist the region with critical projects like I-35E, and I'll turn this over to Mayor Peters.

MAYOR PETER: Thank you, Judge Horn. I also want to thank you, Chair Delisi and members of the commission, for allowing us this opportunity to talk about this critical project.

The Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition is a transportation advocacy organization. Its membership includes elected officials from five counties and 28 cities, as well as appointed officials from our five agency partners in the Dallas TxDOT District. One of DRMC's primary roles is to provide support for projects of regional significance. In that role, working with elected officials and businesses along the I-35E corridor, as Judge Horn pointed out, the DRMC has worked to form the I-35E Stakeholders Coalition to assist with the timely delivery of this critical project.

The Stakeholders Coalition will work with each of the communities along the corridor to pass resolutions of support for the I-35E proposed managed toll lanes facility. Additionally, we'll work to inform key decision-makers about the critical role public-private partnerships play in the ultimate success of large-scale projects like this.

To that end, members of the Stakeholders Coalition will propose that the legislature develop legislation that would indeed renew TxDOT's CDA authority, giving the agency the ability to develop specific projects outlined in that legislation, and advocating that the 28-mile section of I-35 from 635 to 380 be included in said legislation. This approach would allow the projects that can only be developed in the foreseeable future through CDA financing to move forward, while at the same time providing the legislature with the ability to be involved to the extent that they deem necessary.

Some members of the Stakeholders Coalition, Judge Horn for one, have already met with key legislative leaders to discuss the viability of this approach. We will continue to meet and work with the legislature to develop the necessary tools to continue to provide transportation infrastructure solutions. I guess I also want to point out that the members of the Stakeholders Coalition understand that without this tolled component, the project will continue to be delayed and we can't afford that.

On a lighter side, one recommendation that I intend to propose to our coalition is that we steal a page from our good friend, Tarrant County Judge Whitley's play book, and give this 28-mile project a proper name. Given the recent success of the North Tarrant Express and the DFW Connector, a moniker for the I-35 project could help clarify and clearly delineate the definition of this project. Sorry to my friends over here, no offense intended to the folks in the TxDOT Dallas District, but it needs a catchier name than the New LBJ Project that you guys came up with on that one.

So I do have a recommendation, I thought I'd test it out on you. Those of you who know Judge Horn know her to be a principled, centered leader who is purpose-driven and results-oriented, and given the fact that this project was originally supposed to be under construction in 2009, I want to propose that we christen this project the I-35E Judge Mary Horn Git-R-Done Project. To that extent, Judge Horn and I are available for questions if you have any.

JUDGE HORN: I did not know she was going to do that.

(General laughter.)

MR. HOUGHTON: I have a question for John, Bob or Bill. If we don't have the CDA authority to do this, who does?

MR. BARTON: It may be best for either Director Saenz or Bob Jackson to answer that.

MR. HOUGHTON: Well, let me have Bob Jackson answer that question.

MR. JACKSON: Bob Jackson, general counsel.

MR. HOUGHTON: Do you want me to repeat the question?

MR. JACKSON: I got it. Regional tollway authorities and county toll authorities.

MR. HOUGHTON: So in other words, we don't have to wait for legislation. Either the NTTA or the County of Denton could establish a toll road authority and build this.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, sir.

MR. HOUGHTON: Thank you.

MR. HOLMES: How much of this road is in Denton County, is all of it?

MR. BARTON: No, sir. I think if you'd direct your attention back to the initial slide, it showed the 28-mile corridor and everything north of the President George Bush Turnpike, approximately, is in Denton County, it's about 23 of the 28 miles.

MR. HOLMES: Thanks.

MR. HOUGHTON: Judge Horn, the ball is in your court.

MR. BARTON: We do just have a little bit more information we'd like to share with you.

MR. HOUGHTON: I understand and I'm not being facetious about it, but the CDA authority is there, either for the NTTA to do it, and understand the CDA authority, Judge Horn and Mayor Peters, is a transfer of the risk, you're not assuming that risk, you're transferring it to a private developer to take on that risk instead of the County of Denton or the city taking on that risk, or us taking on the risk, and NTTA has that same authority, they can transfer that risk if they so choose to do it, or in conjunction with the county of Denton, NTTA could work in conjunction with doing something like that. So you could get to it quicker than waiting for the legislature to get to it. That's just my thoughts.

MR. BROWN: Again, my name is Bob Brown.

JUDGE HORN: Excuse me, I'm sorry to interrupt, but I'm thinking that Denton County Transportation Authority has authority to do that but we're going to have to check into that. So the choice is NTTA or DCTA.

MR. HOUGHTON: Bob, did you hear the statement? They have a transportation authority.

MR. JACKSON: Mr. Scott can address that more specifically, but that's not what we're talking about as far as a county toll road authority under Chapter 284 of the Transportation Code that has the authority to do a CDA.

MR. HOUGHTON: And does their current authority have that same?

MR. JACKSON: Not as I understand it. I think Mr. Scott would know more specifically, but I think the Denton County Transportation Authority is really a transit agency, I'm not aware that they have CDA authority.

MR. HOLMES: It was created under 284?

MR. JACKSON: Correct.

MR. SCOTT: Rider Scott, Dallas Regional Mobility Coalition.

The Denton County Transportation Authority was created under Chapter 460 of the Transportation Code; it is not a 284 county creation. It has very broad contracting authority and it's that broad contracting authority that has been viewed as a possibility of CDA authority, it is not specific CDA authority. Denton County has not created a county toll authority; the toll authorities in the North Texas region are the Collin County Toll Authority and most recently the Dallas County Toll Authority.

MR. BROWN: Proceeding with the remainder of the presentation, earlier in December 2009, staff did suggest proposed rule provisions to allow this type of project to be financed and delivered through what we call a private sector pass-through. Those rules were proposed in December of 2009 and due to public comment and concerns, the rule amendments were withdrawn in April of 2010.

Staff and advisors have worked on some other concepts we wanted to share with, and we're by no means expressing that this is a direction we want to proceed but just wanted to share some ideas on a possible concept, still using the pass-through finance concept. And again, if we went this direction, we would hold a solicited competitive procurement with the private sector, and in this case we would actually give the bidding teams a base case traffic and revenue line that the bidders would use in their financial modeling. Then the bidders would bid the term or the number of years that the developer would need to obtain the revenue to finance the project and receive a return on their investment.

So in the case on this concept, if there's any upside or if the traffic and revenue exceeds the base case traffic and revenue in the contract, any of the upside would go completely to TxDOT. Then if there's a downside, or in other words, if on an annual basis the project does not produce the annual revenue in the CDA, Fund 6 would be protected and the developer would receive an extension of term. And that would work very, very similar to the way our public sector pass-through finance agreements work to where TxDOT guarantees a minimum or maximum payment based on the amount of traffic that uses the road and then there's a minimum or maximum term to where that public entity receives that return on their investment. So this is one concept we've developed that could be used. We're by no means suggesting this is the best method, and again, we think this would constrain the size of the project

Again, I believe Judge Horn covered some of these, but some of the milestones that we have achieved: again, NTTA waived primacy back in September 2008, the NTTA believes the managed lane is not their primary core business so they had no interest in delivering this type of project; also in September 2009 TxDOT received tolling authority through the express lane demonstration program from the FHWA; and again, we've recently a draft investment grade traffic and revenue study. Staff is reviewing that now and depending on the delivery direction and scoping decisions, that investment grade traffic and revenue would be finalized. And then our next steps, again, is to obtain environmental approvals as quick as possible, late this year or early next year.

Now, as far as a public-private partnership, regardless of whether it's a pass-through or whether it's a CDA and regardless of any agency that does a procurement, it looks like all the tasks required would take about 12 months to achieve until we end up with an executed contract. Again, we go through requests for qualifications, short list and industry review, then issuing a request for proposals, review and selection, negotiation, and then the approval of legal sufficiency by the Attorney General and LBB. All of that takes a minimum of about 12 months, and then thereafter, about another 16 to achieve financial close on the part of the best value developer, so that would be about 18 months after the decision is made to proceed.

While that may take a lot of time, in order to accelerate the schedule, during that 18-month time frame, TxDOT can begin the right of way acquisition phase immediately after the environmental approval, and so our staff is working towards that direction and would like to begin that phase as soon as we get the environmental approval at the end of this year.

MR. HALE: I'd like to say something on that part. Those two elements are key in this whole thing, the environmental, and we expect, like I said, by the end of this year to have the environmental clearance. We're having a public hearing, we expect, in September or October. And with that in mind, what's happening, a lot of the people out there with the right of way issues, they can't do anything with the right of way because they know there's a project coming down through here and they've had difficulties in this time frame with selling their property or not selling their property, and we've had some hardship negotiations and during this we've gone out and purchased some property out there in a hardship situation to go ahead and make sure that those properties go ahead and move on off. So that's been a big issue because of the corridor there.

MR. BARTON: With that, commissioners, I believe that we would be happy to entertain any questions you might have, and if not, then we can move on to the next project.

MR. HOLMES: John, if I understood it correctly, if we went through and utilized a pass-through type program, it would be possibly one-to-one leverage, so you end up with about 25 percent of the funds necessary, and so how do you pick what section you would spend that on? You've already determined that you have a very high traffic count. Right? Did I hear 380,000 cars, was that the number? That's a huge traffic count. Right?

MR. BARTON: Yes, sir. I think that the approach would be that we would identify what we thought was a reasonable amount of leveraging that would be delivered on the project, working with the local communities, identify where we would get the maximum value out of the improvements, and then take an approach similar to what we did on the North Tarrant Express project which would be define that as the base delivery and ask the potential developers to tell us what they could do in addition to that for the revenues available through the tolling that we projected.

MR. HOLMES: It seems to me that the region has set a very high standard in creativity and being aggressive, and my sense is you're going to be better off with a CDA type formula than a pass-through.

MR. BARTON: I think that that's certainly the consensus of the region and the elected leadership, as well as technical staff that has worked with us on this so far, and I believe that the legislature in the past understood the value of that tool and made it available to us, and it would be hard to argue that it's not perhaps the best approach to take. But again, we don't have that legal authority today.

MR. HOLMES: In talking about whether there is legal authority for Denton County, I'm not sure I really understood the answer to that. Mr. Scott, you suggested that it was not a 284 county entity, and that maybe through creative legal interpretation there might be authority? Is that basically what I heard?

Bob, are you going to opine on that?

MR. HOUGHTON: Because it's on the state highway system. Correct?

MR. JACKSON: First I just want to make sure there's no confusion. Denton County is eligible to be a 284 county; they can create a county toll authority under 284. The Judge mentioned the Denton County Transportation Authority which is a transit agency has a whole separate law, and Mr. Scott was talking about the contract authority of that entity.

MR. HOLMES: And so the point you were making is that they do not have the authority currently but they could if they created a toll authority.

MR. JACKSON: Yes, sir.

MR. HOLMES: And if I understood, Judge Horn, you were asking for TxDOT to work through that process, assuming legislative change. Is that what I heard you say?

JUDGE HORN: Yes.

MR. HOUGHTON: Let me understand the timeline, Bill. Where are you today? You're going to look at environmental clearance by the end of the year?

MR. HALE: Right, environmental assessment, then right of way acquisition, and then we do all this. Like I said, we've had some hardship right of way acquisitions, but the environmental expects to be cleared, I would say, by December of this year.

MR. HOUGHTON: Well, that coincides with the legislative session in January, and maybe a double-pronged approach is continuing down the path of hopefully the legislature will renew the CDA authority and at the same time give Denton County and opportunity to look at 284 toll road authority. If in fact, we don't get that authority back, they'll have that authority and they can proceed with this project next year sometime.

MR. HALE: Yes, sir, that's right.

MR. HOUGHTON: Judge?

JUDGE HORN: I just want to qualify that, it's basically limited CDA authority with certain projects identified, with I-35 being one of them.

MR. HOUGHTON: They're not limited.

MR. BARTON: I think the Judge was suggesting that the local communities are working to promote the concept that the legislature consider giving limited authority for comprehensive development agreements on specific projects during the next session.

MR. HOUGHTON: Right, but continuing down that dual path that you don't put all your eggs in one basket.

MR. BARTON: As staff has understood the commission's direction, you would like for us to get this project to a point where it could be implemented if appropriate tools were made available to us, so getting the environmental clearance, understanding the toll revenue aspects of it, and looking at what opportunities might be available through whatever tools are made available to us or the region at the time.

MR. HOUGHTON: And the current tools available and move down that path. I'm not telling the county what to do, obviously, but we'll be glad to assist, Judge Horn. You've got the bright people right here on the front row.

MR. BARTON: Does the commission have any other questions on this particular project?

MR. HOUGHTON: It seems like a great project.

MR. BARTON: We will continue to keep you posted and we do appreciate the support and partnership of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, specifically Denton and Dallas counties, and Judge Horn is certainly a very integral part of that and her support of the technical staff and the partnerships that we've formed has been very beneficial in making sure this project moves forward.

So as we transition from the JMH Git-R-Done corridor over to the North Tarrant Express project, we also wanted to brief the commission today on the status of the North Tarrant Express master development agreement and our plans for Segments 2 and 4, and I would like to ask Mr. Brown if he would share with us some information regarding that particular project.

MR. BROWN: Thank you. And again for the record, my name is Bob Brown, and again just real brief, on the exhibit the portions in gray are the currently financed CDA for the North Tarrant Express. The next priority for the region is the Interstate 35 West corridor from downtown Fort Worth up to US 287, referred to as Segments 3A and 3B.

Last month, the developer, North Tarrant Express Mobility Partners, submitted a ready for development notice indicating Segments 3A and 3B are ready for development. They provided a development submission that indicated those projects could be delivered with the intent to minimize the use of public funds. So just a little bit about that process, TxDOT responded positively that we agree the project is ready for development primarily due to the fact that environmental clearance should be approved early in 2011, and it did look like the developer's plan minimized the public funds in the range that staff felt like could be affordable.

So the next steps on this process would be for TxDOT and the developer to enter into a facility implementation plan and that basically outlines the steps TxDOT and the developer would need to do to achieve another concession agreement as well as financing for the project. We hope to have that complete within about the next six weeks. The next step then would be for TxDOT and the developer to finalize the concession agreement and we hope to have that done actually early this Fall to where if we have a successful agreement that we can send that to the Attorney General and Legislative Budget Board for approvals.

So just a little bit about the submission. Again, it includes Segments 3A and 3B for about a ten-mile project, and again, the proposal would be to reconstruct the majority of the infrastructure and add two managed lanes in each direction through this corridor, and in places some of the existing infrastructure would be used. For instance, at the State Highway 121 interchange downtown, that work would be deferred because that helps to lower the capital cost. Another aspect would be to defer some of the ultimate interchange at Interstate 820 and Interstate I-35 West.

MR. HOUGHTON: Bob, remind me again of the minimum/maximum we're talking about as a contribution by the state and what that gets you on the other side.

MR. BROWN: The developer's minimum public subsidy would be on the low side $173.8 million to a maximum of $287.5 million, and what that does is leverages a total value of $1.2 billion capital cost, and then it also includes operations and maintenance for the full corridor from right of way to right of way for the full term of this which would be a 52-year term, so that's a tremendous amount of leveraging.

MR. HOUGHTON: And what pot, John, are we taking that 173 and 287 from, or proposed?

MR. BARTON: The current available sources of funding for that would most likely be the remaining Proposition 14 Bond proceeds.

MR. HOUGHTON: All of it?

MR. BARTON: Yes, sir, the majority of it, at least. That would be available due to underruns on other projects that were funded from Prop 14.

MR. HOUGHTON: How much is that

MR. BARTON: I believe right now we have a little bit in excess of $200 million. I could get the exact number for you, but I don't recall right off the top of my head.

MR. BROWN: And one other bit of information, for the interchange proposed at Interstate 35 West at Interstate 820, this diagram shows the full complete ultimate interchange and what will probably have to happen in order to minimize the amount of public funds that go into the project is to defer some of the major direct connectors at this interchange. The primary goal here would be to connect the north and south managed lanes through this interchange in order to make the Segment 3A and 3B financially feasible in order to have the managed lanes connect and have that revenue there to finance the capital cost of this work.

So while this ultimate interchange has twelve direct connectors, and that includes eight general purpose direct connectors and four managed lane direct connectors, to minimize the amount of public funds, the idea would be to only build four of the managed direct connectors and two to four of the general purpose direct connectors. If we did that, it looks like we could get the public funds subsidy minimized into the range that staff believes we can afford.

MR. BARTON: Thank you, Bob. If you have any questions, we'd certainly be happy to try to answer them or any comments you'd like to share with us. I would like to point out I've been asked by Maribel Chavez, our district engineer in Fort Worth who is not with us this afternoon, to point out that if this interchange at I-35W and 820 were completely constructed, as Bob pointed out, as twelve connectors and it would be much more grand and robust than the Dallas High Five and perhaps would be called the Super Six, I'm not sure.

MR. HALE: How about the High Five Junior.

MR. BARTON: It's about a six-level interchange, but just a little fun there for Bill Hale to be teased about.

(General laughter.)

MR. HOLMES: Did I understand, Bob, you to say that the $1.2 billion was capital cost or it also included maintenance, because I thought I heard it both ways.

MR. BROWN: The maintenance cost is about another $500 million on top of the $1.2 billion capital.

MR. HOLMES: On top of the $1.2-.

MR. BROWN: So this is roughly a $1.7 billion value submittal in today's dollars.

MR. HOLMES: And if you reduce it to the four direct connects, that's the $173.8 million?

MR. BROWN: The developer's submittal for the $173.8- actually contemplated that TxDOT would be responsible to build additional general purpose components which we think we can't afford, so both TxDOT and the developer are developing a partial interchange concept in order to where the primary goal is to connect the managed lanes through the interchange, and to do that, instead of building all twelve direct connects, we need at a minimum to have six of the twelve built, and if we have enough public funds, perhaps we can add in two additional direct connects.

MR. HOLMES: I didn't understand the answer. The specific question is is the $173 million the estimate to cover the four direct connects?

MR. BROWN: The $173- builds what you see in red on this exhibit, and for that to be feasible, TxDOT would have to build a couple additional direct connects which add cost too that we'd have to cover, so we're coming up with an alternative and partial interchange scope, and we're still very early in this process.

MR. HOLMES: So the $173- actually is not a hard number of what the cost would be for the minimum design. Is that right?

MR. BARTON: Let me just expand on what Bob shared with you. The $173- in the submission would be what we would need to pay the developer for them to build the four direct connects to the managed lanes that are shown on that slide. In addition to that, they would need the department to spend other funds to build other connections on the general purpose lanes to make the interchange work correctly, and the estimated cost of that is something that we're working on.

But I think it's important for us to point out that both the $173 million number in the submission and the $287.3-, I believe is the correct number, in their submission are like sticker prices, if you will, on a car as you walk into an automobile dealership to buy a vehicle. We need to evaluate, as we work with the developer over the next several months, we have issued a notice to proceed to develop the financial implementation plan, and from that information we'll be able to work with them to better define the scope of work that's necessary to make this work and what other options and alternatives are available, and I'm confident, based on staff's input from our Texas Turnpike Authority Division as well as Bob and his staff at the region and CDA level, that those numbers will not be the numbers that are ultimately brought forward, they could be significantly less than that.

So we're still a way off from knowing exactly what type of additional public investment is necessary in order to make this concept that they've submitted an offer on doable and workable, and we will continue to keep you abreast of those developments over the next several months, but I believe that it won't be the $173- or the $287-, it will be a different number that will work for developing the project, and it could be substantially less.

If there are no other questions or comments that you'd like to share with us on the NTE project, I appreciate Mr. Hale and Mr. Brown sharing with us that information

Sitting next to them is a young lady, Julie Brown, who is our interim district engineer for the Corpus Christi District, has been doing a great job for us since that position was vacated by Russel Lenz as he became our division director for our Construction Division, and she's here with us this afternoon to briefly discuss the US 77 corridor between I-37 and US 83 running from Corpus Christi down to Brownsville area. And so I'd like to ask Julie if she can just give us a very brief update on where we are on this corridor development. As you know, it's part of the I-69 study area and once she's shared with you some project-specific information, I'll wrap it up with some discussion about the I-69 comprehensive development agreement.

MS. BROWN: Thanks, John, and for the record, my name is Julie Brown.

Just real quickly, I think this was actually presented several months ago so this is just an update; none of this information is probably new to you. From the location map, this shows the entire corridor of 77 that's under study right now, and it meanders through basically five counties: Nueces, Kleberg, Kenedy, Willacy and Cameron. Red areas, black areas are for the most part completed; most of the remaining parts to be done are the blue and the green areas.

For the existing facility, US 77, it's a four-lane facility, divided by a grassy median with at-grade crossovers, and most of the intersection crossings are at-grade, there has been some construction done recently in the areas of Robstown, Bishop, Kingsville and Raymondville where some overpasses have been constructed. For the most part, on the proposed facility, when everything is said and done, this will be a controlled access freeway that meets interstate standards.

Currently we are in the environmental process. As you can see, we're about where the red arrow is. We've done several rounds of public meetings. Jacobs Consulting Company has actually taken the lead on the environmental document under the direction of TTA. Right now they're putting together the draft environmental assessment, hoping to go to public hearing sometime this Fall and anticipating a record of decision either late 2010 or maybe the first part of 2011.

There's been really four candidate projects that have been identified based on some of the more immediate priorities along the corridor. Just to go through them quickly: there's an overpass at Spur 56 with some of the construction of the mainlanes down in Willacy County near Raymondville; there is an overpass at Sarita School, this is an elementary school, with the associated mainlane construction with that overpass in Kenedy County; there's a section in Nueces County around the area of Robstown, basically there's an overpass being built at FM 892 right now, so this is a little gap section that would build the mainlanes from that overpass being constructed right now at 892 up to State Highway 44, a short section there; and then the last one mentioned is an overpass at Caesar Avenue in Kleberg County, and this is where the entrance to the Kingsville Naval Station is.

These four projects, I mentioned earlier the environmental process is under way, we anticipate a record of decision maybe January 2011. This just gives you a snapshot view of where we are in the project development. Most of the plans are in progress as we speak, and so the ready to let dates are in various months in 2011.

The cost of the four different projects: $27; in Willacy down in Raymondville; Kenedy County, $8 million; Nueces around State Highway 44 is $45 million, that does include connectors at that particular location which is why the price is a little bit higher; and then in Kleberg is $12 million, so a total cost of $92 million. And then I'll turn it back over to John.

MR. HOUGHTON: Let me ask a question.

MS. BROWN: Sure.

MR. HOUGHTON: You said ready to let dates November '11, May '11, April '11, June '11. Are they funded?

MS. BROWN: No. We're just getting them ready to let.

MR. HOUGHTON: They'll be in starting gate. Right?

MS. BROWN: They will be in the starting gate, yes, sir.

MR. HOUGHTON: And the other issue, controlled access, I have not, unfortunately, been on 77 so if there's a tee-in to the current 77, does that get cut, is there right of way issues there, do they have access rights?

MS. BROWN: Yes, most parts of 77 currently have access rights, so you can do controlled access different ways, you can either buy the controlled access if we're going maybe on a relief route around one of the areas where the Business 77 would remain through town, or you can add frontage roads and build the mainlanes with overpasses at various cross streets so you can maintain the access through the use of frontage roads.

MR. HOUGHTON: So when Commissioner Holmes goes down there to his hunting lease and has a gate off of 77, how does he get to it if you take away his access?

MS. BROWN: Well, the way I understand it, in some of the areas where you've got the large ranches and you've got a gate every so often that there would be an interchange or an access point at that gate location, so he could get to the lease he was destined for, hopefully.

MR. HOUGHTON: Okay, I just want to make sure.

MR. BARTON: We would also probably install some parking facilities along the route and he could hike on down.

(General laughter.)

MR. HOLMES: I doubt that it would be at every gate.

MS. BROWN: Maybe not every gate, but we would work it out with them.

MR. HOLMES: Well, two-way access roads might help too.

Now, clearly, for somebody that doesn't live off of 77, I'm on it fairly frequently, 50 or 60 times a year maybe, and as I tell people, I have never one time had to go slower than the speed limit, and so this is not an issue that Judge Horn and Mayor Peters deal with where you have stop-and-go traffic on major highways, it's an issue of providing an interstate access to the Valley. Right?

MS. BROWN: Correct.

MR. HOLMES: And so quite a lot of that has been done from near Harlingen, south of Harlingen and a bit north, and so it looks to me like some of these overpasses will be of great benefit in accomplishing a portion of that. Full limited access is going to be significantly more expensive, and I think the point is not just the hunting lease that I go to but there are quite a lot of ranchers, farmers, business owners, et cetera that we need to be sensitive to.

MS. BROWN: Right. And I think that's why we've looked at it as a phased project. There will be some more immediate priorities like you mentioned with some of these overpass locations. Some of the ones mentioned here: the one down near Raymondville is really, I guess, more or less the last overpass there to complete that whole section down to Harlingen; the one at the school, there's an elementary school in Sarita; of course the one in Kingsville is access to the Naval Base, it's an overpass at that location. So there are so more immediate needs, but like you said, they can be phased over time.

MR. HOUGHTON: And the question is, with all kidding aside, though, do we know the value, have we put a price tag on full limited access, to be able to place an interstate logo up on that asset, do we know the price?

MR. BARTON: Well, there have been some estimates done, and if you built it out as a full freeway facility --

MR. HOUGHTON: Or you could actually put the designation I-69.

MR. BARTON: Correct. If you built it just like Interstate 10 across Texas east of perhaps San Antonio, then that type of price tag is close to a billion dollars from Corpus Christi down to Brownsville. We've also looked at perhaps working with our federal partners to do what's been done in some other states and actually on I-10 in the western part of Texas, and that is to allow these limited access that are maybe field entrances and that sort of thing where we don't have to build as many overpasses, don't have to buy the right to the right to deny access, and those figures range down towards the $350- to $400 million range.

MR. HOUGHTON: So you can do that kind of access and have a designation of an interstate on that road.

MR. BARTON: We believe it's an alternative we could get the Federal Highway Administration to consider, but they would have to agree to that, yes, sir.

MR. HOLMES: John, when you said build it to the standards of I-10 east of San Antonio -- I recall a project that was 20 miles and $2.7 billion, and so my sense is what we're really talking about is what are the minimum requirements to achieve an interstate plaque on 77.

MR. BARTON: That's correct.

MR. HOLMES: Because this is a perception issue, it's not a traffic issue. It's not a traffic issue that is faced in North Texas or in Austin or San Antonio or Houston; it's the perception issue of interstate access to the Valley.

MR. BARTON: Interstate access and commerce, an -- aas you mentioned, the traffic volumes do not create congestion levels. We consider it's appropriate to consider the trade movements and make sure we have an appropriate design and standard highway for that. And for the people in the Valley, I don't want to speak for them, but my understanding of what they've shared with me personally is that it is the opportunity to have a designation of an interstate facility serving that international trade corridor and that crossing.

MR. HOLMES: Well, we've heard that from this podium.

MR. BARTON: I believe you have.

MR. HOLMES: Well, I would like for us to continue this process of overpasses, it always is a sensitive note if it's an overpass for an elementary school or Naval Air Station, those type things, and I think we're kind of creeping up on this, this process has been going on for 10-12 years. Right?

MR. BARTON: It has been underway for many years and we are getting close to an environmental decision, and we think it will be a favorable one, later this year or early next year, and we've been working with the communities along the route, we've identified these four ready to implement projects, if you will, that are of highest priority not only to the department and the state but to the communities involved, and we certainly appreciate their partnership and taking the direction from the commission to get these projects ready to go so that when that time comes, funding opportunities to build those projects could be considered by the commission.

MR. HOLMES: Do you have any safety data on the stretch from Harlingen to Corpus that you can share with us? I have not really witnessed a high degree of traffic issues and safety issues. I'm sure there are some, but I haven't witnessed that.

MR. BARTON: We did do a safety analysis of the four projects we mentioned and along the corridor, and I believe that there is a concern for safety at the Sarita overpass because of the elementary school, although there's not evidence of those problems yet, it's just problems in waiting. The Robstown interchange I believe has had some accident history but not of the magnitude that it's been eligible for safety funding. And then the Raymondville and Kingsville projects, again we did a safety analysis, and as I recall -- and Julie, if you know specifically, you can correct me -- but I don't believe that any of them were so significant that they would qualify under our normal safety program in terms of competing with other safety projects around the state.

But there are noted safety-related issues with each of these interchange type projects and we believe that they would make those facilities safer, and these particular four locations are where we feel like we have our greatest risk exposure on the corridor right now.

MS. BROWN: I would agree with that, yes.

MR. HOUGHTON: I know it's a ballpark number -- the minimum controlled access, the perception, the plaque of I-69. You have a total of $92 million, would $92 million be included in that roughly $300 million number?

MR. BARTON: It would, and that number could even be smaller. I think one of our next steps, that we would hopefully report back to you on in the not too distant future, is sitting down with the Federal Highway Administration and talking through exactly what the minimum standard would be and could be so we can get a better estimate of that total cost. And there's a whole lot of difference, as you know, between a billion dollars and $300 million, and so part of that is the development of this I-69 comprehensive development agreement as well, and I won't spend much time on it, but I just wanted to share with you we are continuing to work with the Attorney General's Office to evaluate that I-69 comprehensive development agreement and are awaiting further discussions with them that our general counsel has planned in the next couple of weeks to continue that discussion, but we do not have a decision on that agreement yet.

MR. HOLMES: Just to put this traffic volumes in context, tell me what the traffic volumes at Sarita are relative to what we just heard from Judge Horn.

MR. BARTON: I don't know if you have them, Julie, or Director Saenz may know that better than I.

MR. SAENZ: I think the traffic volumes on 77 at Sarita are probably maybe between 12- and 15,000 vehicles a day.

MR. HOLMES: In Kenedy County.

MR. SAENZ: In Kenedy County.

MR. HOLMES: And you're counting quickly or by tens?

(General laughter.)

MR. BARTON: And then, of course, you heard the numbers from Judge Horn, so whether it's 15,000 or 5,000, it's a dramatic difference. We do try to take advantage of all modes of transportation when we do those counts.

MR. HOLMES: I think the projects are important projects, but I think we do need to recognize where real congestion is affecting thousands and thousands of people every day, and so I've kind of belabored the point, and if there are 10- or 15,000 vehicles a day in Kenedy County, then that's more than I would have thought, although there is a relatively steady stream going about 75 miles an hour.

MR. BARTON: There is, and as you noted, the traffic volumes are much lighter than what you experience in your normal traffic in Houston, but I don't drive it 50 to 60 times a year but I do drive it more than once per year, and there is a significant amount of, I believe, trade-related traffic moving from the international crossing and the port in Brownsville up toward the Corpus Christi area. So I would agree with Mr. Saenz that I think that number is probably in the 10- to 15,000 vehicles per day range.

MR. HOLMES: On a four-lane divided highway.

MR. BARTON: Yes, sir.

If you don't have any other questions for us, Director Saenz, I believe that's the end of the information we have to share with the commission today, and I appreciate district staff joining us.

MR. HOUGHTON: John, have you been down to US 59 lately in Fort Bend County?

MR. BARTON: US 59 in Fort Bend County, yes, sir.

MR. HOUGHTON: Is that plaque still up there that says future Interstate Highway 69?

MR. BARTON: We still have future I-69 signs on various roads in Texas.

MR. SAENZ: There's also some on 77.

MR. BARTON: We have some on 77, some on 59.

MR. HOLMES: Put some more up on 77.

MR. BARTON: And a few more up north of Houston in some areas as well.

MR. HOUGHTON: I want to, at this time, take the opportunity to thank Judge Horn and Mayor Peters, and I would expect that shortly or soon that we would see an application for a county toll road authority, and assistance in getting CDA authority extended for the department. Thank you very much.

MR. BARTON: Thank you, commissioners.

MR. SAENZ: Thank you, John, Bob, Bill and Julie. And Julie, thank you for helping us in Corpus during this interim, you're doing a great job. San Antonio misses you and I guess they want you back, but a little bit longer until we get our DE located.

Agenda item number 3, commissioners, we have a discussion that's going to be led by Carol Rawson, our director of our Traffic Operations Division, and she's going to talk to us about the 2010 Federal Census and the possible impacts that the census will have on our transportation programs. So Carol, we'll turn the program over to you.

MS. RAWSON: Good afternoon, commissioners and Mr. Saenz. I'm Carol Rawson, the director of the Traffic Operations Division.

The 2010 Federal Census will be released in April of next year and it is expected to confirm a longstanding trend of rapid population growth in Texas. Traditionally, the release of the census data has had a significant impact on the nation as a whole and for transportation. Today we would like to provide you with an overview of the census process, anticipated results, and how the new population figures will impact the operations of the department. As part of this effort, we polled our divisions and offices and their input and those responses were included in the report that we provided you.

In addition, Linda Cherrington from the Texas Transportation Institute, will provide an overview of the census process and a detailed look at the potential results. Linda has been the lead researcher on a current research project of the Public Transportation Division regarding the potential census impacts on the Texas transit industry. We will also hear short presentations from Eric Gleason, the director of the Public Transportation Division, Brian Ragland, the director of the Finance Division, and Wayne Dennis, the deputy director of the Transportation Planning and Programming Division.

Census data impacts aspects of our business such as the number and the structure of the metropolitan planning organizations, our Federal Highway funds, the responsibility for traffic signals on state highways in cities with populations of less than 50,000, and the distribution of state and federal transit funds.

The department wants to be proactive in dealing with the impacts of the 2010 Census. For example, since state transit funding is a set amount, when the new population numbers were released in 2000, some transit operators received more funding while others received less. Eric Gleason with the Public Transportation Division is here today to talk about the efforts to ensure that we are ahead of the curve on this issue. From our perspective in the Traffic Operations Division, we know that some cities whose population increased to over 50,000 or more were unprepared after the 2000 Census to take over the operations of the traffic signals. We have been actively working with our partners in the district to coordinate with each impacted city.

I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank TTI, the Public Transportation Division, and the Research and Technology Implementation Office for the assistance during the development of the report. So I'm going to let Linda give us a Census 101 right here.

MS. CHERRINGTON: Thank you very much, Carol.

I wanted to mention that the data that we'll be reviewing today was developed with the Institute for Demographic and Socioeconomic Research at University of Texas at San Antonio and State Data Center, in cooperation with TTI in the research project.

I want to go over just a little bit about the use of terms, the census process and the current schedule, and then give a little preview of the projections for the 2010 Census as we best know them today.

A bit about the use of terms. When the census uses the definition of urban area, they're referring to any densely settled area of 2,500 or more, and they classify these as urban clusters between 2,500 and 49,999, and there are a lot of urban clusters in Texas. Wimberley, for example, is an urban cluster. And urbanized areas are those over 50,000 and there are only a limited number of urbanized areas, those extra letters in that syllable means a lot, and I'm going to be reviewing those with you today. Rural areas, under the definition of the census, are only those low-density areas less than 2,500

I want to compare that to the use of terms in the Department of Transportation from federal funding use of terms and how we often refer to them. The urbanized area, urban areas with a population over 50,000, are similar to the census. In the use of the term we often referenced size, a small urban area is 50,000 to 200,000 a large urban area over 200,000, and a very large urban area over a million. For the U.S. Department of Transportation the other side, or the non-urbanized areas are any areas less than 50,000 so that includes urban clusters, and we commonly refer to this non-urbanized area as rural although it does include urban clusters.

We talk a lot about this definition of urbanized areas and how it's determined. The census determines urbanized areas. It's a process that goes on in a very analytical, procedural way using published criteria. It's based on the definition of each census block, block group and census tract on whether it meets the criteria for urban area and then how closely contiguous areas come together and they're defined as urbanized in this process that goes on in an iterative way, repetitive way. Now, the Census Bureau emphasizes that it's objective and it's not subject to local influence, and this goes on without any definition or any relationship to incorporated status, either as city boundary, as county boundary or a transit authority.

And this process is defined under this schedule that we go over now. Of course, we're near the end of the census schedule February to July. In fact, I saw some press information just this morning starting to announce some of the census results, still not quite through the process but we're beginning to get numbers. We think that the U.S. Census will publish the urban criteria in the Federal Register in August of this year. There will be a 60-day comment period and that will be the chance that you can comment on how this urban area definition will be applied.

We should see apportionment data by the end of the year and it's data that's looking at large areas like the state, perhaps metropolitan statistical areas, and as you are probably very well aware, April 1, 2011 is a legislatively defined deadline to get block level data that's applied and used for definitions and the allocation of seats on the U.S. House of Representatives and other redistricting classification. Right now there's an expectation that Texas may receive three to four additional seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as a function of the data that we'll see on April 1, the population growth.

The final step in the process is the definition of urbanized areas and we expect they'll be reported in 2012.

Well, that's enough of the process and the definitions and I'll share with you some actual statistics. Going back to 2000 and getting our bearings, the population in Texas at the time was 20.9 million, representing about 7.3 percent of the U.S. population. The urbanized area in Texas was about 7.5 percent of the U.S. population, and the non-urbanized area about 6.8. In 2000 there were three urban areas over one million, urbanized areas.

The newest urbanized area over 200,000 is Denton-Lewisville which actually were two that came together in 2000, and Lubbock that was just barely over 200,000. There were 25 urbanized areas 50,000 to 200,000, and Carol already mentioned there were three new urbanized areas in 2000. Not all were anticipated. Lake Jackson-Angleton and The Woodlands in southeast Texas and McKinney just northeast of the Dallas area.

Now, what do we expect in 2010? The projections, based upon the research that we've highlighted, we expect in 2010 the population of the state might be about 25.4 million. That's a growth of almost 22 percent over 2000. In the Texas urbanized areas, expect the population to have grown to about 26 percent, and in the non-urbanized or what we commonly refer to as the rural areas of the state, about 11.5 percent. You'll also notice that each of these is larger percent share of the U.S. population. Now, what that means is that Texas is growing faster than the U.S. as a whole, it's growing faster in urban areas and it's growing faster in the non-urban or rural areas

Taking a look at this map and looking at a county level, this is showing absolute change in population that's projected for 2010. The light blue areas is a population change of 10,000 or more addition, and the darkest blue areas is 100,000 or more. You see that the largest growth, the most people will be in the major metropolitan areas and along the Texas-Mexico border.

This map shows the percent change in population, the growth rate. Again, in this area any blue area is growing faster than the state average and so the light blue area is growing faster than 22 percent and the darkest blue areas is a percentage rate growth more than 50 percent. And the fastest growing metropolitan areas are the metropolitan counties just adjacent to the major centers, the major cities.

This chart just gives a subject matter of interest, looking at what the growth has been in the largest urbanized areas, the ones over 200,000 since 2000. In this chart the cities are listed by the largest population in 2010. The absolute growth is greatest in the Houston urbanized area, it's over one million. The fastest percent growth area in the state is Denton-Lewisville at 44 percent, followed by the McAllen-Hidalgo County area at 41 percent, and Austin at 31 percent. So very rapid growth in our largest urban areas.

Now, what might we see in 2010. The projections are that Austin will become a very large urban area, over a million population, and that there will be four possible new urbanized areas over 200,000, including Amarillo, Brownsville, Killeen and Laredo. And there's also the possibility of five new urbanized area. They include New Braunfels, San Marcos and Georgetown, and depending on how those urban criteria in the end come out, possibly Cleburne and Conroe.

I also want to mention that we're not certain of the status for Galveston due the impact of Hurricane Ike. The latest projections are the population of Galveston might be 48,000, so under that urbanized mark of 50,000.

MR. HOUGHTON: Let me ask you a question. On the Houston area, I see Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington, Houston does not have Galveston in there. Correct?

MS. CHERRINGTON: That's correct. The official definition of the urbanized area, Galveston is a separate urbanized area, as is Texas City.

MR. HOUGHTON: How about The Woodlands?

MS. CHERRINGTON: The Woodlands is a separate urbanized area.

MR. HOUGHTON: So Houston -- that is just Houston by itself.

MS. CHERRINGTON: That's the Houston urbanized area which takes in a very large geographic area and it takes in, for example, Sugar Land, Missouri City and Pearland. Those are all part of the Houston urbanized area.

MR. HOUGHTON: Galveston is not closer than Sugar Land, is it?

MS. CHERRINGTON: No. Galveston is about 50 miles southeast of Houston, and the definitions of these urban areas, there are areas of less than 2,500 population and large enough separation that Texas City is separated from Houston and Galveston is separated from Texas City, and by the same token, The Woodlands is separated from Houston, and it's because of the areas that are not developed, but I'm going to speak to what may happen in 2010.

So I might advance a slide because you've just brought up exactly the point of perhaps the greatest interest in watching this census, and that is that under the criteria, if two urbanized areas become contiguous, that they actually have grown together through connected urban areas --

MR. HOUGHTON: Basically you don't know where one starts and one ends.

MS. CHERRINGTON: Exactly, and if they're in the same metropolitan statistical area, then the census will declare them as one large mega urbanized area. The census has already announced the 52 areas in the country that they're going to be watching for this to happen, and two of them are in Texas. The first is the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington urbanized area. There is an expectation that McKinney will be a part of the DFWA urbanized area. McKinney and Collin County have grown very close together already.

There's also the possibility that Denton-Lewisville will be joined with that area because what separated them in 2000 included some undeveloped area and some commercial area that may fit under new urban area criteria. We won't know until these results are announced in 2012 and we can watch for it under the new urban criteria that we publish in August, but there's a possibility that those, they call these agglomerations, it's possible that these agglomerations will actually create one mega urbanized area.

By the same token, in Houston it's possible the Houston urbanized area could be connected with The Woodlands, if the criteria exempts the Spring Creek wetlands area, it's possible those could be merged, and the commercial area along I-45 is included. And on the other side of Houston it's possible that Texas City, in fact, you expect Dickinson almost surely will be joining Houston, it's possible that, therefore, so could Santa Fe, so could La Marque, so could Texas City.

And here's the really interesting factor, if the census declares that the wetlands are exempt area, it's possible that Texas City could be connected to Galveston because the area between them, the bay and the wetlands, could be exempt. If that happens, it's possible that the urban parts of Galveston could be a part of Texas City, even though Galveston on its own may not meet the 50,000 mark again, and Texas City could be with Houston.

So these agglomerations are going to be the most interesting areas to analyze as we watch the urban criteria when they're published and then as we see the results that actually come out in 2012.

MR. HOLMES: I assume you're going to help us understand what the significance is of whether they are agglomerated or not. Clearly, the people that travel on the roads between these communities, from a transportation standpoint, they are agglomerated. Right?

MS. CHERRINGTON: Correct.

MR. HOLMES: Or maybe worse. And so I'm interested in understanding what the impact of the census decision on that would be in respect of funding or whatever those issues are.

MS. CHERRINGTON: And we will begin to address those as our colleagues talk about those things today, and that and the new urbanized areas and the areas going over 200,000 are the key factors.

I'll close with the last slide just to summarize the major points. The Texas urban and rural areas have grown faster than the nation at large from 2000 to 2010, we can anticipate that there will be several new urbanized areas, and there's a possibility that we could see the merger of urbanized areas in our largest metropolitan centers.

And with that, I'll turn the mike over to Eric.

MR. GLEASON: As you heard Carol describe, we initiated this research well over a year ago because we were concerned about the growth we had seen in our areas, in our rural and small urban areas, and knowing full well that our funding formulas depending heavily on population and the distribution of it for our decisions on how much money folks got, we initiated this research so that we could be in a position, particularly with the 2012-2013 biennium, to make recommendations if necessary to deal with those impacts.

And just to kind of bring this close to home, at your meeting tomorrow you will be presented a minute order recommending distribution of state funding for public transportation in the rural and small urban areas of the state. Now, you do this every year and it's been about $28.7 million for ten years now, and if either one of you are still on the commission in 2012 after the census comes out, that minute order would have a markedly different set of recommendations associated with it unless we do something to try and mitigate and anticipate those impacts.

So what I'll do is to go through with you just four slides very quickly showing the results of the census and focusing particularly on the impacts on state grand funding to our rural and small urban transit systems, you know. Three conclusions to keep in mind: one is that, as you've heard, absolute increases in population are creating new urbanized areas and we think up to a net increase of four that would then become available to receive state funding for public transportation, so these are four additional ones that aren't at the table today, four more folks coming to dinner when you already don't have enough to go around to begin with, so you've got four more folks at the table.

The other point is that all of our formulas are proportional share driven formulas which means that what you get is your share relative to the rest of the state, and so although all areas are growing, the extent to which areas are growing faster and slower, that will trigger a shift among those areas of funding as their share of the overall growth increases or decreases. And then the other point, as we all know, since population has increased over the past ten years and state funding has remained flat, the per capita expenditure has gone down quite a bit, roughly 16 percent. So I'll touch on each of those in a little more detail here.

MR. HOUGHTON: Before I forget my train of thought, Carol, are we going to make this information available to our friends and leaders across the street, the leadership on different committees to show what the dynamics is going on in the state? I think it would be helpful.

MR. GLEASON: This first slide shows how funds are allocated among urban and rural providers and it highlights for you in yellow the role that population plays in determining that allocation. So the first thing that happens with state funds is they're split 65 percent go to the rural side, 35 percent go to the urban side, and then through a combination of need and performance, we allocate those funds, and population is a critical element of that need factor, and in fact, on both sides of the chart here, both the urban and the rural side, it accounts for roughly half of the amount of money that you earn.

So on the left-hand side which is the urban side of the chart, if you go down to the box that says 50 percent of what you get is based on your need and that 100 percent of your need is population, so we use population on the urban side as the only determinant of how much you get, half of what you get is your population. On the other side of the chart on the rural side, if you go down you'll see that need is roughly 65 percent of what you get so it's a little bit more on the rural side than the urban, and of that, 65 percent, three-quarters of that is related to your population, so as you work that through, that is roughly half as well. So in both cases, population and your share of it accounts for half of what you get.

Now, when we take a look at this on both the urban and the rural side, on the urban side, as Linda mentioned, we are expecting a number of new urbanized areas, and what this chart shows you for our urban providers, we have currently 30 urban providers, is if you're on the top of this line, if you're a solid green bar, that means you are receiving funding, and five of those bars show 100 percent increase in funding. Well, these are the five new urbanized areas that have not been at the table before, and so all those folks, plus The Woodlands which continues to grow rapidly, could be thought of, if funding stays the same, as receiving agencies, they will be on the receiving side of funding.

All those that are below the line will be on the donor side of the equation, and I point out McKinney because in this case we're anticipating that McKinney becomes a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and so all of its current funding it would get from the state formula could be part of this redistribution amount. But even after that, we're still about $1.3 million short on the urban side if we wanted to mitigate or to hold harmless the impact of the census on those donor systems.

If we turn our attention to the rural side, the next slide, Linda showed you a slide which showed you what was happening in each of the counties of the state. What this slide does is it aggregates the county-level data to our rural transit district boundaries, and so each of the dark bold lines you see on the map outline one of 38 rural transit districts in the state, so if summarized, the county level changes to the rural transit providers.

And on this map where you see blue, those are areas that are growing much faster than other areas and will be on the receiving end of increases in funding, and then those are in orange will be on the donating end of it because although population is growing everywhere, it's growing at a much slower rate in those orange areas of the state. And then we have a large number of areas that are green which means that they could go one way or the other but we don't expect a large change for them.

So most of the story is either systems along the border, El Paso County, Webb County, and then the Lower Rio Grande Valley area, or systems that are around some of these growing metropolitan areas, Houston and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, are slated to receive a significant increase in funding because the rate of population is growing much faster there than elsewhere in the state. And we think about $300,000 a year would be necessary on the rural side of state funding to keep those folks who would be contributing funds to hold them harmless to those negative impacts.

And so where we end up with this research is that we think these conclusions have important implications for the department's 2012-2013 LAR. We think it makes sense to approach this from a hold-harmless standpoint and as best we can tell, it could take as much as $3.2 million in that biennium to put us in a position as a department to offset any negative impacts of the census on our existing set of providers.

And one of the reasons that's so important is that our providers use these state funds, well over 90 percent of these state funds actually get used as match for federal program dollars and put into service, so this is stuff that ends up on the street providing service to the transit-dependent population in these areas of the state.

When we look at the other side of growth which is the per capita spending, because of the growth it's down about 16 percent since 2000. If we wanted to restore our funding levels on a per capita basis to where they were in 2000, we'd need about an additional $8.2 million for the biennium to restore that. And you will hear more about both these numbers in a presentation for the LAR item later on this afternoon.

That's what I have. I don't know if we want to go through all the presentations and then take questions. Brian.

MR. RAGLAND: Thank you. For the record, Brian Ragland, director of the Finance Division.

My role here today is to briefly point out some of the federal apportionment programs that are affected by population. We certainly thought it was premature to project out any dollar figures at this point in time, given all the unknowns and the uncertainties with not only the census but with the re-authorization, so I'm just going to briefly point out the programs that could be affected.

MR. HOUGHTON: What re-authorization?

MR. RAGLAND: Exactly. So we could assume as is, but we didn't go to that extent.

The first slide talks about the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program, we call CMAQ, which lands in Category 5. The CMAQ apportionment is based on the population of the non-attainment areas and the air quality severity in those areas. Texas should gain additional non-attainment areas which could mean more CMAQ apportionment.

MR. HOUGHTON: Good news and bad news.

MR. RAGLAND: Exactly. But it's dependent on what happens with the population and the severity in the other non-attainment areas in the country.

MR. HOUGHTON: We talk about other parts of the country and I've read a little ahead of you on your presentation, Brian, and I don't mean to preempt you, but Linda, have you looked at the rest of the country and who's losing, what states are losing population that obviously is affecting us that would obviously affect our contribution or non-attainment, or the Highway Trust Fund doesn't get impacted -- or it does get impacted.

MR. RAGLAND: Yes.

MS. CHERRINGTON: We only looked in a general sense that relative to the other areas of the United States that Texas was growing faster, and we do see that the shift in population continues to be to the south and to the west.

MR. HOUGHTON: From?

MS. CHERRINGTON: From the northeast and the north, largely as a function of the historical economy.

MR. HOUGHTON: Do you know the specific states?

MS. CHERRINGTON: I do not have those specific data with me.

MR. HOUGHTON: Can we get that, Coby? Do we know yet, preliminarily, where the shift is? I'd like to see that.

MR. HOLMES: Who else is likely to gain Congressional seats, Florida, Arizona? Are you cogitating or are you just being quiet.

MR. HOUGHTON: I think that would be interesting to find out. We keep talking about where it's coming from and how much is coming.

MR. RAGLAND: Throughout, theoretically, even if the size of the pie doesn't increase, Texas's slice should increase based on that shift.

The next program I wanted to point out is the National Highway System apportionment which lands in our Categories 1 through 4. Again we would anticipate an increase in our relevant share, but also again, that's dependent on what happens in the rest of the country and with the re-authorization.

And then finally, I wanted to point out the Surface Transportation Program, and within that there's an allocation of funds for areas of 200,000-plus, and we designate these to Category 7, Metro Mobility. As pointed out earlier, Texas may gain four areas that exceed that 200,000 population mark, but this does not necessarily we will gain apportionment. If we do not gain apportionment, then we've just got more areas that are going to have to share in that Category 7 allocation. Hopefully we would gain more apportionment relative to the rest of the country, but again, that's an assumption.

And that's all I have, and I will turn it over to Mr. Dennis.

MR. DENNIS: For the record, my name is Wayne Dennis. I'm the deputy director of the Transportation Planning and Programming Division. Brian was talking a lot about the size of the pie and I guess what I'm going to talk about is how many different ways it can be sliced.

In the earlier presentation we talked about some new urbanized area that could come into effect. The Brownsville MPO and the Laredo MPO, the Killeen-Temple MPO and the Amarillo MPO could move from a smaller metropolitan planning organization to a transportation management area. There are going to be additional federal requirements, there's the good and the bad. If you become a transportation management area, you become eligible for a different area of funding, but at the same time, you have additional requirements that are put upon you.

Each of these areas would have to develop travel demand models. We anticipate in our planning that if this were to occur, our division, the Transportation Planning and Programming Division, would be there to develop those transportation demand models. That would include doing trip generations, trip distributions, additional traffic counts, mode choice and mode assignments, we would have to conduct additional surveys to determine where people are going to and where they're going from. The Planning and Programming Division is ready to assist in that area.

We'll be working carefully with the Federal Highway Administration as these boundaries are developed. We spent a lot of time doing this after the 2000 Census and probably learned from a lot of our errors that we had back then, but we're going to be standing here to help.

In the case of new MPOs, as mentioned earlier, we have the Cleburne area, the Conroe area, Georgetown, New Braunfels and the San Marcos-Kyle area. There's a map shown here and the areas in blue, those would be some of your new TMAs. What's interesting is a lot of the areas, Cleburne, you could see they could easily work their way into the North Central Texas Council of Governments inside that MPO, for example, same with Conroe, and there was some discussion a few years ago about combining MPOs down in the Valley. So you're going to see a lot of these discussions are going to occur after the census comes out.

Some of the more interesting areas are there between San Antonio and Austin. We've already talked with New Braunfels. As the San Antonio MPO, their 20-year planning boundary started creeping into Comal County. We visited with New Braunfels and talked to them about some of the pros and cons. From the New Braunfels standpoint, they look at it from the standpoint of local decision-making, but from the standpoint of San Antonio to go non-attainment, a lot of the resources, a lot of the modeling efforts that are occurring there in San Antonio could easily be shared with someone like New Braunfels.

So a lot of these decisions are going to have to be made locally as far as whether they want to be a part of a larger MPO or create their own. We would be looking at a reallocation of the planning dollars, there's a set-aside of our apportionments that are out there for planning efforts, and there would be some reallocation of funding. Some of the smaller MPOs have a bigger challenge because you just have a very limited amount of resources that you have to work with in doing your planning efforts. So our division is going to be standing ready to help as this time comes.

MR. HOLMES: Explain to me the difference between the white area and the yellow area, the white area being not designated and the yellow area being a non-TMA?

MR. DENNIS: Well, again, the white area of the state, we would call it the rural areas of the state. Again, as the research is showing and as Linda was saying, you have urbanized clusters in these white areas but there's not enough population density to have an urbanized area. You have urban clusters within these rural areas of the state. So the white areas of the state are outside of any metropolitan planning organization planning area boundary.

MR. HOLMES: And so a non-TMA is what?

MR. DENNIS: A non-TMA would be an urbanized area that would be greater than 50,000 but less than 200,000. The TMA boundaries are the ones that have a population density greater than 200,000.

MR. HOLMES: And so everything under, what, 50,000 is in the white area?

MR. DENNIS: Yes, sir.

MR. HOLMES: Thanks.

MR. HOUGHTON: Once again, Carol, I would think that with, and I will add to getting this to our partners across the street, but with an executive summary that would summarize it on the dynamics of what's going on in the State of Texas. I'm surprised that all boats are rising in the state, I didn't anticipate that, I didn't anticipate the rural areas to grow, I didn't anticipate communities like Amarillo growing, or Lubbock, didn't anticipate that at all, and coming into the MPO because they're quite isolated.

I can understand seeing Georgetown, is Georgetown going to secede from this group here? Who knows. But I am surprised that all boats rose under the current census data.

MS. RAWSON: We have the white paper that's kind of a springboard to come off, along with what you were asking for, an executive summary, and I know too, a lot of these requests coming through our LAR request could be another mechanism to alert for guidance of how we're going to handle this population growth that is here.

MR. HOUGHTON: Right.

MS. RAWSON: Any other questions?

MR. SAENZ: Commissioners, I guess the other thing is we want to start working with our partners, the MPOs and the areas that may be come MPOs to start getting them ready to meet some of the requirements that they may run into and let them know what their options are. We were in Seguin doing a town hall, and of course, the area of New Braunfels is going to be a TMA and they're deliberating whether they want to be part of the San Antonio MPO or they want to form their own by themselves. So these are things that we wanted to address early and that way they can fully discuss and debate which is a better option for them and get them ready, so that's what this intended also.

MS. RAWSON: Just trying to be not caught flatfooted and then also working with the cities and the locals so that they know kind of what's going to be expected, what's coming.

MR. SAENZ: Remember in 2000 there were some area that because they did not grow as fast as other areas and the way some of the money had been distributed because of extensions in the federal re-authorization bill, when the census information came in and we had to reallocate, some areas wound up having to give back some money and it created an uproar, so we're trying to get ahead of that game this time around.

So Carol, thank you so much for leading this group, and guys, thank you all for doing a great job.

Next item, agenda item number 4, David Casteel will lead a group that's going to give you a followup presentation on our pavement management system and trying to use different standards for different types of facilities across the state. So David.

MR. CASTEEL: Thank you, Director Saenz. For the record, my name is David Casteel and I work for you as the assistant executive director for District and Field Operations.

Several months back, in February, I believe, at the commission workshop we discussed the idea of tiered pavement quality goals and setting our funding accordingly with those goals. Since that time, based on what we felt was favorable commission feedback at that meeting, we've asked a group of district engineers and technical experts, both in the department and with our partner universities, to help us more fully develop this idea, and today we'd like to give you an interim report on that work. The group has produced two interim reports outlining the issues and their ideas so far.

I have with me today Jeff Seiders and Jeff is the director of our Materials and Pavements Division within the Construction Section, and Toribio Garza who heads our Maintenance Division. Mario Jorge is also co-chair of this committee but he was unable to be with us here as he's taking his dad to the doctor today. So with that, I'll turn it over to Jeff and Toribio who will give you the presentation. It will be short and to the point. We are recommending something a little different than we discussed last time. We're looking at going from three tiers to four tiers and we'll go through that discussion with you. And with that, Jeff.

MR. SEIDERS: Thank you, Mr. Casteel. For the record, my name is Jeffrey Seiders. I'm the Materials and Pavements engineer for the construction Division.

And let me start like we did in February by simply pointing out that some of the typical pavement scores, what it would mean to the public, and our presentation will be based on identifying acceptable levels of pavement conditions as they relate to percent good or better.

On the first slide you've got a picture on the left that indicates a good pavement rated at 100 which essentially is a new roadway with few defects and a smooth ride. The picture in the center shows a worsening condition rated at 55 which is considered poor. You can see the well path rutting that is taking place which if unattended could lead to additional well path cracking and failures, and for motorists on this roadway, the ride will be rough and they would also have to use extra caution during inclement weather due to the ponding and the rutting from rain.

The picture on the right is a pavement rated at 6 which is considered very poor. The pavement has some rutting and base failures and there is additional cracking and edge failures that the district has had to patch. It will require significant effort to maintain in a safe condition and will need to be rehabilitated.

After our presentation last February, the administration formed a multi-tiered pavement management work group comprised of the individuals listed on this slide. Myself and Mario Jorge are the co-chairs of the group. The members of the group are: Toribio Garza, the Maintenance Division director; Russel Lenz, the Construction Division director; Mike McAnally, Odessa District engineer; Delvin Dennis, the Houston District engineer; Bobby Littlefield, Paris District engineer; Albert Quintanilla, the Laredo District engineer; Rick Collins from RTI; Brian Ragland, the director of Finance; Collin Parrish, the aide to Commissioner Underwood; and Wayne Dennis, the assistant director of the Transportation Planning and Programming Division.

We've also had considerable university support and among those that have supported us are Dr. Zhanmin Zhang of the University of Texas and Dr. Mike Murphy of the University of Texas Law, as well as Dr. Timothy Lomax from Texas A&M University.

The group has examined and has had very open discussion with the districts and their staff about ideas, questions, concerns and implementation of a multi-tiered goal system and they have been documented in the first interim report that Mr. Casteel had talked about, and this is the first work product that this group produced.

The second work product that has been delivered is a survey of other states' pavement conditions goals, and in that report it indicates that at least 20 DOTs have used multi-tiered pavement conditions goals for the past 10 to 20 years. Additionally, state DOTs are currently considering a multi-tier approach in view, also, of their limited resources, and the major aspects an the key points that many of the states' multi-tiered had in common are financial constraints, minimum/max goals, and focus on statewide priorities, and establishing public and legal expectations.

In the area of financial constraints, all the states that have moved to using a multi-tiered goal system to manage their maintenance and rehabilitation funds are financially constrained for many of the same reasons that we are currently experiencing, such as debt service, dwindling funds and inflation. Without a tiered system, they were doing the worst first approach; a multi-tiered goal system was needed because not all the roadways need the same to perform at the same level.

In the area of focusing on statewide priorities, their statewide conditions have improved since their multi-tiered goals were implemented, however, it took time for their districts to get connected and look at the entire statewide conditions instead of looking at their own districts. They also have seen improvement in their very high traffic routes, moving to excellent condition.

And in the areas of establishing public and legal expectations, the public really can't relate to the 90 percent good or better scores on a statewide basis, so in setting up their goals, they've had to come at it from a different level. Kansas has conducted several road rallies to obtain public opinion about their roads, and North Dakota has done similar meetings with their public to obtain their feedback. Unexpectedly, in North Dakota when they met with the public, the public actually recommended lowering the classification of some of their roadways, saying that they didn't need to perform at the high levels that they had them set at.

The links at the bottom of this slide are given for those two reports that have been furnished and are available out there at these sites.

So while we've finished our data gathering for our first two interim reports, UT enhanced their pavement deterioration model to enable them to pull in the cost and the effects of maintaining a lower goal that we described and discussed in February. This has enabled us to give you information on what goals, both upper and lower, will be possible within our fiscally restrained budget.

With the information from these two reports in hand, we went back to the preliminary example of the three-tiered system that we presented to you at the February commission workshop shown in this slide and we ran numerous other scenarios to find the most efficient and effective tiered system to help us provide the highest achievable pavement conditions for the greatest number of Texans. We ran two-tiered systems, additional three-tiered systems with different stratifications of ADT and truck ADT, and we ran four-tiered systems also.

MR. GARZA: I'll finish the presentation. For the record, my name is Toribio Garza, the director for the Maintenance Division.

After working with UT and Texas A&M and talking with other states and seeing what they did, the analysis leads us to recommend a four-tiered system, as shown on this slide. Tier 1 in this scenario would be comprised of the national highway system only. This would include the state highway system and key roads of interest for like defense routes, long distance connectors between cities and major towns. We can see that this tier would account for about 25 percent of our system of our lane miles and carry about 66 percent of the vehicular traffic and 72 percent of truck vehicle miles.

The Tier 2 system, these would be intermediate traffic routes. These routes would carry over 700 trucks and over 10,000 ADT. This tier is approximately 14 percent of our system, and again, you can see that it carries about 17 percent of vehicle miles and 13 percent of truck traffic.

The Tier 3 road system in this scenario would be the lower traffic routes, mainly FM roads but there are some U.S. and state highways in there. These routes carry less than 700 trucks a day and between 500 and 10,000 ADT. This tier, again, about 36 percent of our system, carries about 15 percent of vehicles traveled and 13 percent of truck traffic.

The last tier in this scenario would be, again, the lowest traffic routes, mainly FM roads. These routes are Tier 3 routes with less than 500 ADT and they average about 41 trucks a day, and you can see from the spreadsheet there that 24 percent of our system, basically, carries 1 percent of vehicle miles and 1.5 percent of truck traffic.

What we did then is the next two slides are just two different scenarios. This will be scenario one and then I'll show you the second one. We looked at our funding distribution for these scenarios, understanding that our current UTP budget is fiscally constrained restrained and we have forecasted using 2008 dollars to be consistent with the 2030 Report.

Once the four tiers were established, we selected two starting points, and this scenario one has us starting with the Tier 1 upper goal being 70 percent good or better and the second scenario would be starting at 60 percent good or better, and the lower goal of the Tier 1 would be 10 percent of this tier being very poor. What CTR did then is they ran multiple models, multiple iterations with their deterioration model to determine what the upper and lower goals of the remainder tiers would be, understanding that we have a constrained budget of $11.4 billion over the next 11 years.

In this scenario, again the first column here reiterates the lane miles in each tier followed by the condition of our system currently, the condition of our system after the UTP 11-year period, and then finally the estimated funding needed and the results of what that would give us. You can see from the model here that if we allocated $6.6 billion for the Tier 1 roads, we can keep these roads at 70 percent good or better and approximately 8 percent of these roads would fall to a very poor condition.

And Tier 2 roads, by allocated $2.8 billion for the Tier 2 roads, we could hold a 50 percent good or better in this tier of roadways and 15 percent would be in very poor condition. Tier 3, $1.9 billion for Tier 3, and we could basically keep 27 percent in good or better condition and 27 percent in very poor, and this wouldn't leave any funding for the Tier 4 in this scenario, and you can see what it does to those Tier 4 road conditions.

The second scenario, quickly, if we use a 60 percent good or better in Tier 1 and start it there, you can see that we could allocate $5.4 billion in this tier of roadways and we could maintain a 60 percent good or better in this tier and 10 percent would be in very poor condition. Tier 2, we can hold a 50 percent good or better and 15 percent would be very poor, and by allocating a little over $3 billion for the Tier 3 roads, 34 percent of our system would be in good or better condition and 20 percent would be very poor.

What we also did is we asked CTR to use the model to help us look at what it would cost to recover if we went to such a system, what it would cost to recover after a certain period of time to get back to our current condition scores of 2010 and we looked at it for one, five and ten years. And you can see from the graph, as the time period to bring the condition score of our system back to our current levels, so does the cost, again, due to the continued deterioration of our pavement during the extended period of time.

If it were possible to perform all the work we needed, rehab and maintenance, in one year, it would cost us an additional $19 billion to bring it back and after five years it would cost us about $30 billion to bring it back, and then in ten years it would cost an additional $41 billion to try and get our systems to our current condition of 86.9 percent good or better.

So as we move forward, we would recommend to take this four-tiered system with associated goals through allocation analysis and present to the commission in August a recommendation for changing the rehabilitation and maintenance funding formula for consideration in the next UTP update.

MR. CASTEEL: Thank you, Toribio.

MR. HOUGHTON: Now, this is assuming no new funding to 2021.

MR. CASTEEL: It's assuming the funds that were allocated according to the UTP, yes, sir.

MR. SAENZ: Thank you, David; thank you, Jeff; thank you, Toribio.

MR. CASTEEL: We should be back in August then with a final report on this topic then, Mr. Saenz.

MR. SAENZ: Thank you. Good job.

Agenda item number 5, James Bass will give us an update on our Legislative Appropriations Request. Where is James?

MR. BASS: Good afternoon. For the record, I'm James Bass, chief financial officer at TxDOT.

I'm here today to discuss with you a draft version of the Legislative Appropriations Request. The draft that you have is a total of 368 pages and I want to emphasize that it is indeed a draft. Not only are we looking for additional direction and guidance from the commission on a number of issues within the document, but we are continuing to go through and review it internally. There are a lot of schedules that look at the same data but look at them in different ways, and normally that is all handled through the Legislative Budget Board's ABEST system. That system is not yet open and so a lot of this data and the different schedules were done independently by different analysts in Excel, and so we're going through and making sure all of the numbers that are supposed to tie do indeed tie. So we'll continue that internal review for typos and other things like that and also look for your guidance.

Unlike Commissioner Houghton had requested, I will not go over all 368 pages individually, and therefore, I've handed out a few pages to call your attention to. In the first group, and the upper right-hand corner has a 1 on it, just to concentrate on it, and it lists the various strategies in the Appropriations Act for the department, and as the instructions require us to do, it shows our expenditures in 2009, our estimate for 2010, our budget for 2011, and then the amounts that we're requesting within the baseline request for 2012 and 2013.

And it goes through there and you can see that starting off on that first page, plan, design, manage which is the internal staff designing and planning projects within TxDOT, that's declining as our overall letting is planned to decline going forward, and then the contracting piece with that, the second one, the contracted planning and design, you see it dropping as well.

The other one that could potentially be confusing on this page, around the middle of the page you'll see existing construction contracts and new construction contracts, and if you look at it closely, you'll see that the payments on existing contracts in 2010 is $1.2 billion and then it drops to around $826-, and that gets to the definition of existing. In 2010, that shows payments on projects that were awarded in any year prior to 2010, so anything awarded in 2009, 2008, 2007 that still had payments in 2010 shows up on that line. obviously, as we continue to make payments on this projects, more of them finish out, and so that number drops in 2011.

You might then assume well, it would continue to drop into 2012 and 2013 but the definition gets reset every biennium, so when you start 2012, the existing line now becomes payments on any project that was awarded in 2011 or prior, so you have a definition shift or change going on in that one line. And you see the opposite effect on the line just below it, the new construction contracts because new construction contracts this biennium become existing construction projects next biennium.

The same thing closer to the bottom of the page within the maintenance area, you see the same thing going on with existing maintenance contracts and new maintenance contracts, again, just a definitional adjustment, if you will, from one biennium to the next.

One thing I would point out on this first page, again near the bottom, contracted routine maintenance and routine maintenance strategies, there's an increased focus in emphasis reflected in this draft for 2012 and 2013 in both of those years putting more effort and resources towards the maintenance functions of the department.

That's really the main ones I wanted to point out on there. The last page of this first section shows the grand total and also shows the method of finance functions, and you'll notice for the 2011, from 2010 to 2011, there's a significant increase and there's two major causes of that. One is the projected timing of federal reimbursements on our projects. As you know, when we work with the Federal Highway Administration, we're actually controlled on the front end on our obligation authority, but then our federal reimbursements that show up in the Appropriations Act are based upon our actual progress payments to the contractors and then getting 80 percent of it back.

What our cash flow model is showing is that there was a drop in 2010 followed by an increase back in 2011, and what I'm looking at is page 5 of that first packet that you have around the middle of the page, you'll see a federal funds and then a federal reimbursements line, and you can see from 2010 to 2011 it goes up roughly $650 million.

Another major increase from 2010 to 2011, if you go down farther on that page almost to the bottom, you'll see a bond proceeds GO Bonds Prop 12, and you'll see that figure jumps by over $1.4 billion because the Prop 12 projects that will be let in the month of July will really begin to experience expenditures in Fiscal Year 2011. In addition to that, there's the $1 billion of Prop 12 that's targeted for deposit into the State Infrastructure Bank in 2011. That creates the big increase and jump from 2010 to 2011.

MR. HOUGHTON: When in 2011?

MR. BASS: It would be as soon as September 1, but as a reminder, there's a rider in the current Appropriations Act that even though the money is listed in the Appropriations Act, the department must submit a plan on how those Prop 12 proceeds will be used and the Legislative Budget Board must give approval to that plan before we truly have it appropriated to us, so for the $1 billion to be deposited into the State Infrastructure Bank, we still need to submit that plan to the Legislative Budget Boar.

At your meeting tomorrow, staff will present you with proposed rules on the State Infrastructure Bank and how those would be amended because of the Prop 12 funding going into it. If you'll recall, our thought has been to operate, in effect, two accounts within the State Infrastructure Bank so we can keep Prop 12 separate. So the thought would be once those are posted and once the commission has had a chance to look at those and move forward on posting them into the Texas Register, that could be the basis of a plan to submit to the Legislative Budget Board to request full authorization for the billion dollars. It's a very long way to say possibly as soon as September 1 but there's still a couple of steps that need to happen.

MR. HOUGHTON: Have you had people knocking at your door requesting information about the State Infrastructure Bank and the criteria?

MR. BASS: They haven't been knocking at the door. We invited a lot of potential applicants to serve on the advisory committee as we went through looking at how to amend the rules, so I think that was representatives of city government in Texas, county government in Texas and then some of the local toll project entities as well, and I think those are the likely applicants to that. So they're well aware of the program, they have not any discussions on specific projects or how much they might want for a particular project, but I believe they're certainly aware and look forward to the assistance it could provide.

One other item I'll call to your attention, there's not a quick summary within the draft documents so I created one and it has a number 2 in the upper right-hand corner, and it's on our capital budget and a summary of those items. The dollars listed on this capital budget summary, just to point out, are included in the overall strategy totals that I showed you before. One thing, this is how the capital budget is broken down within the Appropriations Act.

You see the acquisition of land and real property, a portion of that is for dredge of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and you see construction of buildings and facilities and that's for area engineer and maintenance offices throughout the state, and repair and rehabilitation of existing facilities, and you see a jump there in 2011 and that's primarily associated with the $12-1/2 million renovation of the building we're in right now scheduled for 2011.

One of the things in the Grant Thornton report, there was a lot of discussion on IT, Information Technology within the department, and there's a section within the capital budget area of our appropriations request that deal with different IT projects and you see that broken out on this sheet. One of the things that I would call out, you see a number of different projects, two of them I would point out are at the bottom of that list, number 11 and number 12.

Number 12 is the ERP, or enterprise resource planning project, I guess formally now known as ProjectOne with the Comptroller's Office that we're working with the Comptroller's Office and health and human services agencies, along with DIR, and you see the $26 million there in 2010. On line 11 there's a management information system that has another $26 million in 2011 and then a requested $23 million in 2012 and in 2013.

The thought is that all of the IT needs of the department will not be able to be met under the umbrella of ProjectOne. The needs are going to be far greater than what can be delivered under the scope of ProjectOne. So under this management information system in 2011, 2012 and 2013, it would provide funding to address those other legacy systems or existing IT systems that don't fit within the project scope of ProjectOne, there would still be funding and resources available to address those needs for the department moving forward.

The other two items, transportation items are the pickup trucks and sedans within the department, acquisition of capital equipment is the heavy equipment, dozers, dump trucks and other things on there.

The next page, page 3 again in the upper right-hand corner, and this, I can't overemphasize the draft status of this page, but in the instructions all agencies were instructed to reduce the amount of General Revenue funding they had for 2010 and 2011, to reduce it by 10 percent for 2012 and 2013. Debt service is excluded from that calculation so the debt service for Proposition 12 is excluded from this 10 percent requirement.

What you see on this page is the areas where the department does have GR funding in 2010 and 2011 and this draft page just simply takes 10 percent of each and every one of those numbers. I think staff would have some thoughts about other ways to cut that rather than just everybody a straight 10 percent, but just for this draft page and to show that the issue is out there and we'll need direction and confirmation from the commission on how we move forward on these reductions, I wanted to highlight this one page.

The next page, page number 4 which is the last one I'll go over and call your attention to and be happy to answer any questions, it is the exceptional item request. Within the instructions from the LBB, there's what's considered a baseline request within a certain level of General Revenue funding that agencies can request, but if you want to request anything above and beyond those levels, the mechanism you do that through is the exceptional items request.

At one point in this process which will end at the end of August when we officially submit the appropriations request, we will need the commission to provide us a priority list of these different exceptional items, which one is priority number one and which one is priority number seven.

You can see here just very broadly some of the items. One is to restore diversions from the State Highway Fund, number six, if that were to happen, in each year there would be around $550 million additional resources that could be directed to functions of the department. Above and beyond that, there's another $2.3- and then $2.8 billion of work of unfunded mobility needs and preservation projects that if funding were identified, the department, through utilizing our partnerships in the private sector, could deliver that additional infrastructure in 2012 and 2013, it's just looking for a funding source.

Next in line there are a number of rail initiatives, the Austin-San Antonio passenger rail, Houston region freight rail improvements, South Orient and short line rail improvements, there's another one on there, the Heartland Flyer passenger rail, the operating subsidy to AMTRAK, as well as some infrastructure improvements. The bottom one, the Transportation Revolving Fund refers to, as you may recall, an initiative last session to create a revolving fund somewhat like the SIB but with some additional authority and to provide a billion dollars of Prop 12 into that revolver. Again, the listing here is not in any priority order and all of the concepts are just draft at this point, not that they'll remain on and not that others will not get added to it.

The last one that I'll point out on this exceptional item, because I believe there are others that would like to comment on this as well, is the public transportation additional grants. Within the baseline request, the department for 2012 and 2013 has included roughly $3.2 million of additional State Highway Fund dollars for the activities of public transportation. As you heard earlier today, the needs for public transportation far exceed those resources, so in the exceptional item request portion of the LAR, we're suggesting an additional $26.25 million each year of the biennium for a total of $52.5 million of additional state funds, and through the exceptional items request, that request would be made for additional General Revenue.

Ms. Michelle Bloomer, who is the chair of the Public Transportation Advisory Committee, is with us here today and I think they would like an opportunity to comment perhaps on other parts of the appropriations request but I think on that exceptional item one as well. I'll take a seat and be ready to answer any questions that you might have.

MS. BLOOMER: Thank you, Mr. Bass. Good afternoon, Madame Chair, members of the commission and Director Saenz. For the record, my name is Michelle Bloomer and I'm here today as the chair of the Public Transportation Advisory Committee, the nine-member committee representing transportation users, the general public and transportation providers that has been tasked with advising the commission on the public transportation needs in the State of Texas.

Before I begin, I would like to tell you two brief stories, one has a happy ending, the other one not so much. First, a young Texas resident was recently injured in an automobile accident that required her to use a wheelchair for three months. Unable to drive and with no family nearby, she turned to the public transportation provider in her area to get her to and from work, as well as to the grocery store, pharmacy and other destinations. Without the service of the local transportation provider, she would have been homebound and unable to work and carry out her normal and important activities.

On the other hand, we have a recent rehabilitation counseling graduate who lives in a rapidly urbanizing area that does not have access to transportation. While the assisted living center he lives in does provide transportation, it is only for group trips and only Monday through Friday, not for trips that would accommodate a daily work schedule. With no public transportation options available, he is unable to accept employment opportunities that could provide him independence and significantly improve his quality of life.

While the above stories have different outcomes, they both illustrate the important and critical role public transportation plays in meeting the multimodal transportation needs of Texas citizens. Despite this need and the growing demand for services, state funding levels for public transportation in the state's rural and small urban areas have not changed notably since 2000. At the same time, costs have risen significantly due to inflation and demand has continued to increase as the state becomes more urbanized, its population ages and the absolute number of residents continues to grow, as Ms. Cherrington pointed out in item 3 earlier.

In addition, the state's transportation providers are unable to fully leverage federal funds that are made available through SAFETEA-LU to meet these needs, and as Eric mentioned previously, over 90 percent of state funds are currently used to match and leverage federal funds or dollars. This funding gap will further worsen when, as a result of the 2010 Census, more small urban areas will become eligible for state matching funds while the amount of funding remains the same. And as Eric mentioned previously, we anticipate four new entities having to share the same pie.

If the gap between public transportation needs and available resources continues to go unaddressed, the state will continue to be unable to meet the public transportation needs of its residents. To close this gap, the Public Transportation Advisory Committee respectfully requests the commission's Legislative Appropriations Request for the 2012-2013 biennium include an additional $55.5 million above the current funding level. These funds are required to restore the buying power of the state's public transportation funding to 2000 levels, to restore public transportation per capita expenditures to 2000 levels, to account for the 2010 Census impacts and offset negative funding distributions, and to address the growing demand as outlined in the department's 2030 Report.

While we recognize that statewide revenue is down and there are many competing needs, we respectfully ask the commission to consider the state's public transportation needs on par with other crucial department activities and include these items in the department's baseline Legislative Appropriations Request and fund them from Fund 6.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your time and for the opportunity to represent public transportation users and providers in the State of Texas. If there is anything I or other members of the Public Transportation Advisory Committee can do to support you in your efforts, please let us know. Thank you.

MR. HOLMES: I think I heard Eric earlier say that it was about $28 million a year that had been held constant since 2000, and so this do-no-harm bit of $3.2 million, was that the number, that simply accounts for the census shift, that doesn't have anything to do with inflation that's occurred over that ten-year period, and so the buying power of that is reduced by another 30 or 40 percent or so?

MS. BLOOMER: Correct. Of the $55.5 million request, $22.3 million is to address inflation. If you assume 4 percent over 10 years, we've reduced the buying power by 40 percent. And the additional $8.2 million is to address the per capita, to restore it to 2000 levels, and then the $3.2 million is to address the census.

MS. DELISI: Thank you. Jeff Heckler.

MR. HECKLER: Thanks. Jeff Heckler from the Texas Transit Association. We met for the first time, I guess, last month, and as usual, I'll be mercifully brief.

We are here to support PTAC's recommendation on the LAR request, but before I go too much further into it, and I won't go too far into it, I want to impart a little information that I got when I first took over this job. When I took over the job in March, the first thing I did was call around the country and talked to other transit association executives and transportation consultants of national renown, and I said, Where does Texas stand in terms of its small urban and rural transit system? I didn't know. I'd been lobbying for them for about a year and a half. I wasn't really sure.

So what I was told, and maybe you don't know this, is that Texas is regarded as having one of the best, if not the best, small urban and rural transit systems in the country. And so I talked to one of these national transit consultants and he goes, Yeah, I'm going off to Oregon. I'm going to do a speech on how to create a Texas-style rural transit system. So it's a valuable asset as we move forward in our mobility choices.

Again, we support the PTAC recommendation, and anything we can do to be of assistance to you, please call us on any time. I'm open for any questions. Thank you.

MS. DELISI: Thank you. Vince Huerta.

MR. HUERTA: Good afternoon. Vince Huerta, director of transportation for LULAC Project Amistad in El Paso County. I'm also just there to provide support. We do provide rural transportation in El Paso County and just here to provide support for the recommendation.

MS. DELISI: J.R. Salazar.

MR. SALAZAR: Good afternoon, Madame Chair, commissioners, Mr. Saenz. My name is J.R. Salazar, for the record. I'm the general manager of Central Texas Rural Transit District. We are one of those 38 rural transit districts that Eric and Linda were talking about a while ago. We provide direct service in eleven counties. The area that we provide service in is the Coleman-Brownwood area. If you don't know where that is, I always tell people it's kind of by Abilene and San Angelo, that area. We do provide service in eleven counties, as I mentioned, it is approximately 11,000 square miles that we provide service in.

I too am here to ask for your support in Ms. Bloomer's Legislative Appropriations Request. Thank you.

MR. BASS: One thing in closing before getting to any questions you might have, I would point out back on that packet with the 1 in the upper right corner that lists our different strategies, we have made a request to the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office to amend that strategic structure to allow individual strategies for rail activities of the department.

What you see right now is those rail activities appear in different strategies, and what we'd like to do for transparency is to be able to pull out all those rail activities, put them into a separate goal within the Appropriations Act so people can clearly see the efforts being made by the department towards rail. Once we receive word on that, hopefully we'll get approval. That would be one of the things we would amend as we take the draft LAR to its final form for submission in August.

Happy to answer any questions, and if there are none, just look forward to working with you and your offices over the next two months as we refine this document before we submit it. Thank you.

MS. DELISI: That concludes the posted items on today's agenda. Is there any other business to come before the commission? There being none, I will entertain a motion to adjourn.

MR. HOLMES: So moved.

MR. HOUGHTON: Second.

MS. DELISI: All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

MS. DELISI: The motion passes. Please note for the record that it is 4:10 p.m. and this meeting stands adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 4:10 p.m., the meeting was concluded.)

 

Contact Us