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RVACT Minutes, Nov. 9, 2004
Minutes
RVACTRogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation
155 N. 1st Street  • P.O. Box 3275  • Central Point , Oregon 97502 • (541) 664-6674 
FAX (541) 664-7927
 
 
To:      Members, Rogue Valley Area Commission on Transportation
 
From: Kathy Helmer , RVCOG
 
Re:      Summary of November 9, 2004 , RVACT Meeting, Grants Pass City Council Chambers
 
Date:   November 16, 2004
 
Members in Attendance: Arthur Anderson, ODOT; Hank Williams, Central Point; Russ Groves, Eagle Point; Alan De Boer and Paula Brown , Ashland; Jim Lewis and Jerry Mathern, Jacksonville; Skip Knight, Medford; Betty Wheeler, Talent; Tom Anderson, Shady Cove; Royal Gasso, Gold Hill; Leonard Frick, Cave Junction; Laurel Samson, Grants Pass; Dave Gilmour and Dale Petrasek , Jackson Co.; Scott Chancey, RVTD; Mike Montero , Richard Smith and Jeff Hunter, private sector representatives from Jackson and Josephine Counties.
 
Members Absent: Butte Falls; MPO Policy; Phoenix; Rogue River; David Straus, Reeve Hennion, Stacey Kellenbeck and Craig Stone, private sector representatives from Jackson and Josephine Counties. 
 
Staff: Mike Baker and Gary Leaming , ODOT; Kathy Helmer , RVCOG.
 
Other: Julie Rodwell , RVCOG; Robert Weber, Josephine Co.; Alex Georgevitch, Medford Public Works; Mike Quilty, Central Point; Tanya Henderson, OSP-Central Point; Bill Pfohl, Kerby resident.
 
1.         Roll Call
Co-Chair Jeff Hunter directed that the roll call be conducted at 9:05 AM . A quorum was present.  
 
2.         Approval of Minutes
Members identified no corrections to the minutes of the July 13, 2004 meeting.  They were unanimously accepted, as written.   
 
3.         Public Input
Bill Pfohl of the Illinois Valley spoke regarding fatalities on Highway 199, asking RVACT to do something about the dangers on the road. He recently saw a young man drive off the road and over an embankment to his death. He stated it would have taken a $100 berm, such as the ones outside Jacksonville , to save his life. He thought that the federal government required berms in places with more than a 4-foot drop. Art Anderson responded that several initiatives to improve portions of Highway 199 were being considered in the upcoming STIP. He also noted that RVACT does not prioritize operations and safety projects. Those prioritizations are based on the SPIS rating and dollars for that purpose are limited. He deferred to John Vial for further information. Alan De Boer noted that berms (and the like) are required in modernization projects, sometimes when they are not needed. He cited Ashland ’s new barrier wall along Highway 99 into the city, as an example. That money might have been better spent along Highway 199.
 
Mike Montero moved that RVACT request that John Vial review the analysis of the situation on Highway 199 to see if there could be some remedy to the problem identified by Mr. Pfohl. Members voted unanimously in favor of this motion.
 
4.         New Agenda Item
Art Anderson brought attention to the Nov. 2, 2004 memo, Re: Section 115 Surface Transportation Projects. This memo indicates that $2 million will notbe coming out of the MPO’s STP to pay for the Bear Creek Greenway.
 
5.         Oregon Transportation Plan Update
Mike Baker presented information on progress on the plan update, referring to the “Draft Goals, Policies and Actions” document in the meeting packet. He noted that the state is taking a hard look at how to deal with congestion; some cities have 4-hour peak periods. There is interest in enhancing rail use, and a new section on safety and security. If people have any questions, they should call Mike or Terry Harbour (957-3501). 
 
Skip asked if the state would invest in privately owned rail lines. Would the state get involved in fixing the tunnel on the Siskiyou? Mike said that the answer was “no” now, but the answer might be different in the future. Mike Quilty noted that government invests public money in airports all the time. Mike Baker noted that federal funds are not as available for rail as they are for ports and airports. Dave Gilmour said that there are also 4-5 tunnels north of Grants Pass that need work. The tracks in some areas in our region are so poor that speeds are down to 10 mph. Mike Quilty shared that Bruce Warner said that the state was looking at lottery funds to fund the “Connect Oregon ” program.
 
6.         2006/2007 Pedestrian/Bicycle Grants
Art Anderson said that final decisions had been made for this program and that Region 3 had done well. Of a total $4.75 million, $1.4 million is coming to our region. Laurel Samson noted that the Grants Pass project would transform its area and serve as a model.
 
7.         Transportation Enhancement Project Updates
Art Anderson referred the group to the pertinent document in the meeting packet. He noted that one in six projects would likely be funded. It had been suggested that each ACT submit a ranked list of projects in their respective region. Region 3 has seven projects listed, including one for Bandon. Art asked the group if they would like to prioritize those projects; they can disregard the Bandon project, since it is not in the RVACT region. Some members felt that the region was in a better position to prioritize than the state. Art was unsure if there was a distribution formula for this program. Skip suggested sending it to the JJTC for their recommendation. He also said that if some communities hadn’t received funds in several years, then the group might decide to give their projects priority. 
 
Jim Lewis moved to prioritize the projects and the motion was seconded. Discussion continued with Royal Gasso saying he hoped that the state criteria would be used by the JJTC for prioritization. That was how his city selected the project. Robert Weber spoke to the risk of the two counties competing on this issue; it might hurt the group’s dynamic. Art noted that it was likely that both the Bandon project and one from our region would be funded. Laurel Samson said that all the projects were good and it would be difficult to differentiate between them.
 
The state needs RVACT’s comments by December 15th. Art said the process would be one of convening the JJTC and asking them to make a recommendation. Their recommendation would be emailed (or telephoned) to all RVACT members for a vote. Art said that information on who had not received such funds recently could be obtained.
 
The group did a roll call vote on the motion to have JJTC prioritize the projects. The final vote was 9 in favor and 8 opposed. Art Anderson asked RVCOG to facilitate this JJTC process for RVACT.
 
8.         Air Quality Conformity Determination Process
Julie Rodwell , RVCOG Transportation Planning Manager, made a presentation on the conformity process. She provided members with the timeline and walked the group through the steps in the process, explaining progress that had been made to date. The Kick-Off Open House is being held Nov.16. All writing must be completed by Feb.10, 2005.
 
Julie said that everything was falling into place and there should be no lapse in conformity. Mike Montero asked what would happen to project funds if there were to be a lapse. Julie answered that projects that were already approved, underway or approved to go into a next step, such as land acquisition, would not be affected. Projects in the planning stages should get their approvals before May 1, if feasible. Alex Georgevitch asked about OTIA III projects and Julie said that bridge replacements that did not add capacity would be exempt.
 
9.         Area Inventory Status
Mike Baker explained that this would be in HTML format and accessible from the ODOT page. It would provide a compilation of all TSPs on one map. This project has been on the back burner due to changes in staff. Laurel Samson asked if there had been discussions regarding the impact of Measure 37 on transportation plans. Mike Baker noted that it was difficult to tell what would happen; certainly it will be litigated.
 
10.       2006-2009 STIP Update/OTIA III Project Update
Mike Baker said that the Draft 2006-2009 STIP is available on the web. Information boards set up around the meeting room highlighted some of the projects. Staff will be making presentations in Grants Pass and Medford soon. Participants were provided with a spreadsheet of all the projects.
 
11.       Local Projects Update
Gary Leaming did a slide presentation on the progress being made on several projects in the region. Some showed the work being done to repair cracked bridges. Four Illinois River bridges are being repaired. Staff are preparing to begin the Highway 199 Environmental Assessment. Among other projects, Gary mentioned: the Seven Oaks Interchange to be realigned; the Depot Street Bridge in Rogue River which is coming along nicely; and the Gold Hill project which is nearing completion.
 
12.       Review of RVACT By-Laws
Mike Baker reviewed draft recommendations for changes to RVACT by-laws. Recently approved OTC policies have resulted in the need to revise the by-laws. For example, information needs to be added regarding the framework and authority of the area commission. A report needs to be prepared by RVACT and sent to the OTC every two years. Alan DeBoer said that he would like to change the requirement that you must be listed as an official member or alternate to  have voting privileges. Mike Montero suggested that members ask their constituents how they feel about it and bring that back to the next meeting. Mike Baker asked that people get their comments regarding appointments and voting to himself or Art Anderson before the next meeting.
 
13.       RVACT Chair
Art Anderson asked the group how they wanted to select chairs. Skip Knight said that electing a Chair every year seemed to serve organizations well.  This action is connected to the upcoming adoption of new by-laws in January, as well as the need for constituent members to appoint new RVACT representatives. The election of co-chairs will occur in January.
 
14.       Freight Route Report
Mike Baker reported on this topic, referring members to the document “Freight Route Analysis Project (FRAP), Staff Report, August 4, 2004 ,” in the meeting packet. This report concerns the designation of highway segments as freight routes. The list of segments and affected communities are available now and public comment is being received. Laurel Samson asked if there were reasons that a community might not want a segment designated and Mike Baker responded that mobility standards are somewhat higher for designated segments and that might be of concern.
 
15.       Agenda Build/Next Meeting
Agenda items for the next meeting will include:
·        By-laws review/adoption
·        Election of Co-Chairs
·        Information from John Vial re: safety on Highway 199
·        Update on the West Coast MPO meeting
·        OTC funding for the modernization program
·        Update on the recommendation by the JJTC re: prioritization of Transportation Enhancement projects
 
The next meeting will be held at 9 AM on January 11, 2005 , at the Jackson County Public Works Auditorium in White City .
 
The meeting was adjourned at 11:15 AM .
 
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