RTAC 6 Minutes

September 9, 2003

June 17, 2003

May 20, 2003

March 25, 2003

January 28, 2003

December 3, 2002

August 27, 2002

May 28, 2002

April 23, 2002

 

 

Minutes for the September 9th, 2003 RTAC 6 Meeting held at the Scarborough Library

Members Present: Lou Ensel, George Flaherty, Margaret Forbes, Peter Frink, Roger Gobeil, Frank Koenig, Steve Walker, Conrad Welzel, John Wathen, and Jim Wendel

Members Absent: Lee Chase, Michael Claus, David Hill, Steve Klein, Jim Long, and Tom Meyers

Staff Present: Natalya Harkins, GPCOG; Josh Mack, SMRPC; Chris Mann MaineDOT; and Daniel Stewart, GPCOG

Public: Brett Doney, Lake Region Development Council; Harold Parks, Gorham; and Dick Wood, Gray

A. Introductions
Those in attendance introduced themselves.

B. Adjustments to the Agenda
None

C. Public Comment
There was no public comment at this time.

D. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the June 17th, 03 meeting were approved.

E. October Conference meeting update
Roger gave an overview of the upcoming October conference. Roger outlined conference agendas including membership, the Twenty Year Plan, future RTAC work items and enhanced communication with other RTACs.


F. New Membership
Roger outlined current membership and noted that new members for the RTAC will be appointed on a yearly basis (before the Annual RTAC conference). As the terms of the current members expire, they will either be re-appointed or a new member will be appointed. Currently there is a need for 2-3 members. The chosen applicants will be invited to the October Conference and then invited to their official first meeting in November. Page: 2
The goal when appointing new members is to foster a committee that represents all parts of the region, thinks about problems regionally, and expands the affiliation and expertise of the committee.

Chris gave an overview of the current applications that are being reviewed and asked for committee input. He noted that Steve Klein's term has expired and he is interested in serving another term if the committee would like him to. The committee agreed that Steve has served well and would recommend him to another term. Margaret indicated concern that there is a conflict of interest if the Planning Commissions and MaineDOT are the ones that decide who gets nominated. Dan explained that the RTAC is involved in nominations, they are often the ones that bring other names forward, and the committee is given an opportunity to discuss Page: 2
the qualifications of people who are applying. The committee gives input on whether potential new members are appropriate. Conrad explained that since the beginning of the RTAC process, the committee has always been involved in new membership discussions, but it is ultimately the decision of the Commissioner of Transportation, based on the recommendations of the RTACs, Planning Commissions and MaineDOT staff. A member of the public commented that the RTAC is not as well diversified currently as in the past. In the past, environmental, bicycle, pedestrian, and others were better represented. Dan explained that last year, MaineDOT and the Committee made a significant effort to make sure that people on the committee represented all the interests. For instance, the Environmental Protection Agency is now represented, as well as the Portland Jetport. The member of the public asked if he could still forward a nomination to be considered. Chris answered that nominations for this year will still be considered and that they should be forwarded to MaineDOT within a couple of weeks. Steve noted that it is important for any RTAC member to look at the region as a whole and not only from his/her particular area of interest. He noted that current members have done a good job at looking out for what's best for the region and not basing decisions on where he/she comes from or his/her particular interest.

G. Future RTAC work items
Roger discussed proposed future RTAC work items which including helping to develop regional priorities for the Twenty-Year and Six-Year Planning Documents, municipal solicitation packet review, municipal match policy review, and discussion on the official consultation process.


H. Twenty Year Plan Update
Chris gave an update on the Twenty Year Plan Process. The deadline for completing the plan has been extended because of the new administration, including the new MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole and the new administration of Governor Baldacci, and also that the federal transportation legislation has been delayed (SAFETEA). Dan gave an overview of the current RTAC priorities as discussed over the last couple of meetings. He asked the Committee if there was any other feedback or changes they would like to see on the regional priorities. The Committee reached consensus that the Regional Priorities be approved. Dan distributed a list of all other State Regional RTAC priorities for the Twenty Year plan and explained that he would be presenting our regional priorities to the Statewide conference and that all other RTACs would be doing the same. This gives RTAC members from across the state an opportunity to hear what priorities are coming from each region.

I. Maine Turnpike Authority
Conrad announced a public meeting on the MTA's Draft 10 year Plan on October 7th. He invited people to attend and give their comments.

J. Public Comment
Brett Doney thanked the Committee for their support of the Gray Bypass. He noted there are still areas of concern on Rt. 26, including a backlog section on the northern end. He noted there are capacity problems, especially near the turnpike. He noted that MaineDOT seems to be backing away from its intention of fixing all backlog mileage within 10 years. He suggested that MainDOT consider east/west traffic flow as a priority for the region.

Next Meeting: Scheduled for November 13th, at the Scarborough Town Hall.

 

 

Minutes for the June 17th, 2003 RTAC 6 Meeting held at the Scarborough Town Hall

Members Present: George Flaherty, Margaret Forbes, Peter Frink, Steve Walker, and Jim Wendel,

Members Absent: Lou Ensel, Roger Gobeil, David Hill, Lee Chase, David Hill, Steve Klein, Frank Koenig, Jim Long, Tom Myers, Jeff Schultes, Paul Schumacher, Conrad Welzel, and David Willauer

Staff Present: Chris Mann, Marty Rooney (MDOT); Daniel Stewart, (GPCOG)

Public: None Present

1. OPENING

A. Introductions
Those in attendance introduced themselves.

B. Adjustments to the Agenda
None

C. Public Comment
There was no public comment at this time.

D. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the May 20th, 03 meeting were approved.

E. 20 Yr. Plan Exercise

Marty gave an explanation and overview of the two exercises that were handed out at the last meeting. He noted the low attendance at the meeting and indicated that discussion should perhaps take place at the next meeting to continue analyzing the input from the exercises.

Chris asked committee members if they felt anything should be added to MaineDOT's long-term goals. No additions and/or deletions were submitted. Chris asked committee members if changes should be considered to the 5 priorities that were listed as bullets under each goal.

Chris and Marty proceeded to outline each goal separately along with the bulleted items as presented at the last meeting. Committee members were asked to comment on each item listed under each goal. Under goal number 1, Fiscal Responsibility, the committee thought the bullets gave an accurate representation of the committee's input. For goal number 2, Economic Prosperity and Livability, it was suggested that working with the State Planning Office be added as a consideration and that some of the bulleted items be combined while others added from the Regional Advisory Report. Jim W. also suggested that MaineDOT attempt to strengthen its goals and align them with the State Planning Office. Under goal number 3, Public-Private Partnership and Coordination, the committee members had no suggestions to offer and felt the bullets were indicative of the committee's priorities. Under goal number 4, Environmental Stewardship, there was some discussion on the bulleted priority of considering not mitigating traffic congestion as possibly controversial. Steve W. stated that the committee had discussed this issue in the past and others agreed it was an important recommendation. Therefore, it was decided to leave the bullet as is and perhaps discuss it at a future meeting. Dan noted that this recommendation had partly resulted from discussions within the committee that RTAC 6 supported MaineDOT taking the necessary steps to break the traditional cycle of building new roads to alleviate congestion. This cycle eventually leads to more development in outlying areas, which leads back to the need for more roads. Jim noted that unless land use ordinances change in order to keep growth from spreading in rural areas, the cycle of more roads to alleviate this congestion would not stop. Committee members did not submit any additions and/or deletions for goal number 5, Customer Orientated Focus.


Chris explained to the committee members that the final exercise they were asked to complete included the allocation of 100 points to areas that each member thought should be spent as outlined in the handout's instructions. Marty gave a slide presentation depicting how the numbers had been distributed based on the information MaineDOT had received so far. Dan noted that some of the responses indicated a distribution of points in only one or two areas. This affected the final outcome by increasing points in one area and decreasing them in another. Marty explained that the current numbers would lead to a recommended thirty one percent reduction in maintenance for existing roads. Marty asked if MaineDOT were to reduce maintenance of existing roads by 31 percent, would the RTAC be supportive of that decision. It was agreed that the committee would not support that decision. Committee members felt they needed another opportunity to distribute points in each of the categories and then meet again to discuss the results before reaching consensus on the committee's final recommendations. It was decided that a mailing would go out to committee members to give them another opportunity to do the exercise. Committee members will then discuss the results and its implications at the next meeting before finalizing their recommendations. RTAC will also decide by consensus at the next meeting whether the numbers are realistic or need to be adjusted.


5. Public Comment

There was no public comment at this time.


6. Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for September 9th at the Scarborough Library.

 

 

Minutes for the May 20, 2003 RTAC 6 Meeting held at the Scarborough Town Hall

Members Present: Lou Ensel, David Hill, Margaret Forbes, Roger Gobeil, Steve Klein, Frank Koenig, Tom Meyers, Rebecca Grover (for Conrad Welzel), Steve Walker,

Members Absent: George Flaherty, Lee Chase, David Hill, Jim Long, Jeff Schultes, Paul Schumacher, and David Willauer

Staff Present: Chris Mann, Marty Rooney (MDOT); Daniel Stewart, (GPCOG)

Public: Martha Hamilton

1. OPENING

A. Introductions
Those in attendance introduced themselves.

B. Adjustments to the Agenda
None

C. Public Comment
There was no public comment at this time.

D. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the March 03 meeting were approved.

2. Meet Chris A. Mann

Marty introduced Chris Mann. Chris will be taking over RTAC 6 planning and facilitation. Chris introduced himself and noted that he has been with MaineDOT Planning for five weeks. Before coming to MDOT, he was part of then Congressman Baldacci's (now Governor Baldacci) staff. He has spent the last few weeks trying to learn the ropes from Marty.


3. Public Involvement Plan

Marty handed out draft copies of the MaineDOT Draft Public Involvement Plan. He explained that a significant amount of transportation funding in Maine is federally funded. The federal funding comes with a requirement for MaineDOT to document its efforts for public involvement. He noted the plan is very comprehensive, highlighting all the groups, committees and efforts used by MaineDOT. Each section gives information on how to contact each group. Marty asked if there were any comments. Dan noted that he had read the entire document and that it contained a good overview of the MaineDOT planning documents and public involvement information. Margaret suggested that the document include an organizational chart of how the committees relate to one another. David Hill agreed and suggested a generic chart of MaineDOT committees. Frank also agreed with the idea. It was noted that Mike Claus had also sent suggestions via email and that Marty has received them. David commented that he thought that MaineDOT had done a good job creating the document. Marty thanked the committee and noted that MaineDOT would make a reasonable effort to incorporate comments.

4. Twenty Year Plan

Marty distributed a handout describing the RTAC involvement in the Twenty Year Plan update. He described that all the statewide RTAC Committees will be doing an exercise to help MaineDOT determine funding priorities in each region. He distributed a sheet containing all the areas that were funded in the last Biennial Transportation Improvement Plan (BTIP). The handout contained what percentage of funding each area received in the last BTIP. Marty also distributed a sheet that Dan and Suzanne LePage had created. Dan described how during the development of the RTAC 6 Regional Advisory Report, public comments were collected from a variety of forums and meetings and the RTAC Committee used a priority process to determine regional priorities. Dan and Suzanne used these priorities as a base and put together a list of priorities per goal as outlined in the first document. Marty asked if each committee member would review both documents and send comments to him regarding each document. Each committee member was asked to review funding priorities in the last BTIP, and to give suggestions on increasing and/or decreasing funding in each category. Each committee member was also asked to review the priorities listed under each overall goal and make comments or suggestions. Dan also distributed a handout containing all public comments received at RTAC meetings since the last RAR, the Six Year Public Hearing, and GPCOG Regional Forums. Tom noted that the goals seemed more of an indication of how to be more of how MaineDOT will move forward, rather than attainable goals. Dave suggested that MaineDOT add a "Vision Statement". Margaret suggested that the point exercise may not work for measuring priorities and that perhaps the committee could divide into separate groups focusing on particular issues. David thought that the scoring system was a good idea. Marty explained that it was a consistent way to measure priorities throughout the state. All the RTACs are working on the same exercise; this will enable MaineDOT to measure priorities from one region to another. Tom suggested that when MaineDOT receives the scoring from members, that MaineDOT give the committee a summary of which items scored the highest by each member, averages and other statistics to give a better picture of how members scored according to each priority.

5. Public Comment


There was no public comment at this time.


6. Next Meeting

The next meeting was scheduled for June 17th at the Scarborough Town Hall.

 

 

Minutes for the March 25th, 2003 RTAC 6 Meeting held at the Scarborough Municipal Offices

Members Present: Lee Chase, Peter Frink, George Flaherty, Margaret Forbes, Steve Klein, Steve Walker, John Wathen, Jim Wendel, and David Willauer

Members Absent: Lou Ensel, Frank Koenig, David Hill, Rosemary Kulow, Jim Long, Tom Meyers, George Terrien, Jeff Schultes, Paul Schumacher, and Conrad Welzel

Staff Present: Roger Gobeil and Marty Rooney (MDOT); Rebecca Grover (MTA); Suzanne LePage (SMRPC)

Others Present: Lori Allen (Growth Council of Oxford Hills); John Balicki (MDOT Office of Passenger Transportation); Steve Workman (Eastern Trail Management District)

1. OPENING
A. Introductions
Those in attendance introduced themselves.

B. Adjustments to the Agenda
There were no adjustments to the agenda.

C. Public Comment
Lori Allen, from the Growth Council of Oxford Hills, introduced herself as the staff coordinator for the Route 26 Corridor Committee, which will be meeting next Wednesday (April 2, 2003) in Paris. There is a section of Route 26 in Poland that the Committee is interested in getting fixed. It is currently listed in MDOT's Draft 2004-2009 Six-Year Plan, and is a candidate for the 2004-2005 Biennial Transportation Improvement Plan (BTIP). Because Poland is in RTAC 7, but in MDOT Division 6, projects from that community seem to "slip through the cracks." She wants to inform RTAC 6, as she has already RTAC 7, that the Corridor Committee supports the project. Also, in response to a question from Margaret Forbes, Lori indicated that an RTAC member's presence on the Route 26 Corridor Committee would be welcome. For anyone interested, Lori can be reached at 743-8830 or [email protected] Roger asked Lori to please forward minutes of their meetings to RTAC 6.

Steve Workman, from the Eastern Trail Management District, asked if RTAC 6 would provide a letter of endorsement for the Eastern Trail (ET), which will run from Kittery to South Portland. He distributed some ET fact sheets and a copy of a letter from Barry Tibbetts, President of the ET Management District, specifically asking for the endorsement from RTAC 6. Many of the funding applications that the District pursues ask for endorsement/comments/opinion of various planning groups including the RTAC and the MPO committees. It was decided to take up the endorsement question after John Balicki's presentation, next on the agenda.

D. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
Margaret Forbes expressed her appreciation that the minutes were ADA certifiable, meaning that scanners used by people who are blind could read them. These scanners require arial font sized 12 to 14 point. The minutes from the January 28th, 2003 meeting were approved by consensus.

2. Bike and Pedestrian Educational Update
John Balicki began by highlighting two major trail initiatives. Of the three in the state, two are in the RTAC 6 region. The Mountain Division Trail is a Rail-WITH-Trail project, where the rail has been preserved to allow for the future redevelopment of that rail line. In 2-3 months, 5 miles of completed gravel surfaced trail will be completed. The Maine Department of Transportation's (MDOT's) Office of Passenger Transportation funded a feasibility study for the Eastern Trail (ET), which will run from Kittery to South Portland. The trail will have both on and off-road sections. Signing of the on-road sections has begun, and two other projects will begin this summer. The first is the construction of 3 miles of off-road trail in Scarborough, including the construction of a trail bridge. The second is shoulder paving on Agamenticus Road and Knight's Pond Road in South Berwick. In addition to signs, designating the shoulders as bicycle lanes by pavement marking is under discussion and will be done if available funds are sufficient to do so. An easement for the corridor south of Biddeford is still under negotiation.

Next, he gave an overview of the bicycle touring program. A number of materials are available to those seeking a bicycle tour route in Maine. First, the website (www.exploremaine.org/bike) has been enhanced and is linked to the Maine Office of Tourism's website. Second, a statewide bicycle map provides shoulder width and traffic volume information for use by bicyclists. Third, twenty-five bicycle tours have been identified throughout the state, two of which are in southern Maine. Each tour is designated on the statewide map, and individual maps are also available for each. Lastly, a comprehensive booklet including all of the above information and more is under development. John Wathen asked about the designated bike lanes in Portland. John Balicki replied that those lanes were funded through the Transportation Enhancement Program. Margaret Forbes noted that a committee to oversee the accessibility of state-owned recreation sites, called MORE (Maine Opportunities for Recreation for Everyone), was formed through a legislative mandate. She asked about accessibility of the Appalachian Trail. John Balicki answered that, when the Appalachian Trail was developed with federal funding many years ago, there were no federal mandates for accessibility. George Flaherty added that utilizing abandoned rail beds for trail development is successful in providing accessibility because low grades were established for the needs of the trains and are generally compatible with today's ADA design guidelines.

John Balicki continued with an overview of the Bicycle Safety Education Program, now finishing its fourth year of classroom presentations. Bicycle safety training for teachers and for law enforcement agencies are also available. Additionally, the Maine Safe Ways to School Program is conducting research on bicycling and walking to school and is developing a funding program for towns for the improvement of bicycle and pedestrian facilities that serve schools.

Another funding program under development is the Healthy Maine Walks Program, intended to encourage every town to designate a walking road, utilizing either on or off-road facilities. Also, a pedestrian design guide will be published soon.

Lastly, John noted that it is the Federal Highway Administrations (FHWA's) policy to provide "routine accommodation" for bicycles and pedestrians. MDOT is continually challenged by how to meet that goal.

George Flaherty noted that major highway facilities, such as I-295 through Portland, often create a barrier for bicycles and pedestrians. More crossing facilities need to be provide on a routine basis. John Wathen noted that separation of bike/ped facilities is just as, if not more important than accommodation. Margaret Forbes asked if the safety training has resulted in a decrease in bicycle accidents. John Balicki replied that those statistics have not been analyzed. David Willauer asked hoe the RTAC could help in prioritizing facilities in future years, such as through the shoulder paving report produced by the RTACs in 2000. John answered that, as corridors are reviewed, the accommodation of bicycles and pedestrians should be routinely assessed. David asked about the compatibility of traffic calming measures and bicycle travel. John answered that speed is one of the biggest impediments to bicycle travel, so traffic calming measures that result in slower speeds are quite compatible. George added that heavy vehicles are another major impediment.

RTAC members agreed that RTAC 6 should formally endorse the Eastern Trail as requested. Suzanne LePage was asked to draft a letter for review by RTAC members. Since the RTAC would not meet again for another two months, Suzanne suggested emailing, faxing, or postal mailing a draft letter to RTAC members with a request for feedback within a week, so that a letter could be provided to the ET Management District in a timely manner. RTAC members agreed.

3. MDOT Twenty-Year Plan/MTA Ten-Year Plan
Marty explained that federal rules require that state transportation agencies develop and follow twenty-year plans. Additionally, an update is required every three years. He distributed a list of proposed activities for the development of MDOT's Twenty-Year Plan. MDOT is planning on contacting various state and regional agencies for input and suggestions. He expects to have Draft Goals available for review and comment at the next RTAC meeting. He also anticipates having the RTAC prioritize the goals and provide regional priorities for each goal. Lastly, he would like the RTAC to provide a proposed distribution of funds for a list of funding categories. He noted that some solicitation of public input will need to be conducted, which could include public meetings, surveys, attendance at meetings of agencies and planning groups within the region, etc.

Comments from committee members included:
· The concept of distributing funds over funding categories is good, but the categories presented may need better organization. Perhaps, MDOT's organization could be incorporated (OPT, OFT, etc.) It was also suggested that where the funds come from be used as a basis for organizing the categories.
· Similar to the 70-80% of funds are used for maintenance statistic, it would be nice to know what percentage of available funds are currently spent on the various categories.
· Information from recent past reports, such as the Regional Advisory Report, Six-Year Plan, Port of Portland Study, and the Hazardous Materials Commodity Flow Study should be reviewed and incorporated.
· Public meetings will still be needed to measure current public sentiment on various topics, including rethinking the state's policies on adding capacity and rail development.
· Updated transportation sections of community Comprehensive Plans may provide valuable information regarding public sentiment within the region.
· PACTS is also preparing a long-term planning document, which incorporates a major public involvement component.
· A questionnaire printed in local newspapers could e helpful, but the questions need to be drafted so that they are clearly understandable and do not sway the results.

Dan Stewart and Suzanne LePage will work together and submit a proposed public involvement work plan at the next RTAC meeting. Some activities, such as reviewing existing documents, may begin beforehand.

Rebecca Grover added that the Maine Turnpike Authority is also updating its long-range planning document, which is a Ten-Year Plan. Public input is an integral part of that document, and sharing resources in gathering public comment should be pursued.

4. Future Educational Items of Interest to RTAC Members
Roger asked RTAC members to brainstorm a list of items that they would like to receive information on at future meetings. Suggestions included:

· A presentation on the statewide Transit Needs Study, a copy of which RTAC members have not received
· An update from MDOT's Office of Freight Transportation
· Information on the changeover to the EZ-Pass toll collection system
· A presentation from the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA)
· Information on the interface of the roadway systems with alternative transportation modes
· A presentation on ADA and Civil Rights, by Penny Plourde, form MDOT

5. Reports
A. Route 114 Corridor Committee
Jim Wendel announced a meeting was held last week, at which the statuses of the planned improvements were reviewed. Some improvements are being completed in phases since the relocation of utility poles will have a significant impact on the cost and completion of the improvements. David Willauer added that the Route 114 Corridor report is due out next month.

B. Route 302 Corridor Committee
George Flaherty reported that increased capacity and other long-term issues have been the focus of discussion. Also, an access management study for the corridor was originally requested for inclusion in the BTIP. However, some parties want the potential for a bypass or other capacity addition looked at as well. At this time, an effort is being made to accommodate all the various interests.

C. Route 111 Committee
Suzanne LePage reported that the Route 111 committee has provided feedback on passing lane locations proposed by MDOT through its traffic study of the corridor. Additionally, access management build-out scenarios are being created and reviewed.

D. Regional Planners
Suzanne LePage noted that SMRPC has been very interested in trying to assess the regional impacts of a major gambling resort facility being proposed for Sanford. Because the legality of the gambling component of the project will not be decided until November, at which time the developers have stated they will be "ready to break ground," the ability to plan for impacts, including transportation, has been a struggle. An effort will be underway to get the major stakeholders together to begin discussing regional transportation impacts. Any RTAC member who wishes to participate is more than welcome to do so.

David Willauer distributed a list of current GPCOG planning activities. He highlighted regional forums on various planning topics, the initiation of transit service to Freeport from the train station in Portland similar to the Portland Explorer, regional corridor coalitions, and the Maine Coalition for Safe Kids, which is now hosted by GPCOG. He demonstrated a device intended to retrofit the lap belts in many multi-passenger vans to be used with booster seats, now mandated for children between 40 and 80 pounds.

E. Maine Turnpike Authority
Rebecca Grover reported that this year's widening project has begun with digging and blasting. The speed limit will soon be lowered in work zones 7 days a week, 24 hours per day with pace vehicles and strict enforcement. Specifically, state police are planning to pose as survey crews with radar guns mounted on tripods and state police units stationed further along the highway to stop speeding vehicles. Also, in response to a question, she announced that the Wells Intermodal Center is open for business. A groundbreaking ceremony has been postponed to be included in the Town of Wells anniversary celebration this summer.

F. Maine Department of Transportation
Roger Gobeil reported that the I-295 connector construction will begin this year and is expected to be completed by 2005.

Also, in response to a question from Steve Walker, the status of the bill to repeal the Access Management Rules was discussed. MDOT testified at a legislative hearing last week, but no official word has been given since. There is an understanding that there will be a unanimous "ought not to pass" finding with the stipulation that MDOT undertake a regular review process.

6. Public Comment
There was no public comment at this time.

7. Adjourn
The meeting adjourned at 7:45 PM. The next meeting was scheduled for May 20th, at a location to be determined.

 

 

Minutes for the January 28th, 2003 RTAC 6 Meeting held at the Kennebunk Town Hall

Members Present: Peter Frink, Lou Ensel, Roger Gobeil, Steve Klein, Tom Meyers, Conrad Welzel, Steve Walker, John Wathen, and Jim Wendel

Members Absent: George Flaherty, Margaret Forbes, Frank Koenig, Lee Chase, David Hill, Rosemary Kulow, Jim Long, Jeff Schultes, Paul Schumacher, and David Willauer

Staff Present: Gwen Hilton, Rothe Associates; Marty Rooney (MDOT); Suzanne LePage (SMRPC); Daniel Stewart, (GPCOG)

Public: Joanne Andrews, Limerick; Mike Claus, Kennebunk; Martha Hamilton, Limerick; John McNulty, RTP; Joanne Payeur, Sanford

1. OPENING
A. Introductions
Those in attendance introduced themselves.

B. Adjustments to the Agenda
Marty asked that the B.O.P. be moved ahead of the Six-Year Plan discussions.

C. Public Comment
There was no public comment at this time.

D. Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
The minutes from the December 3rd, 2002 meeting were approved.


2. Biennial Operations Plan (B.O.P.) Discussion
Gwen Hilton gave an overview of the B.O.P., noting that there is one plan for each of the 21 transit providers in Maine. The plans are put together every two years including a documentation of ridership, how funds were spent and an overview of services and facilities. The RTAC serves as a public participation forum for the B.O.P. There are six transit providers in RTAC 6, including: the Regional Transportation Program (RTP), the York County Community Action Corporation (YCCAC), the Greater Portland Transit District (METRO) , the South Portland Bus Service (SPBS), the Casco Bay Island Transit District (CBL), and the Biddeford-Saco-Old Orchard Beach Transit Committee. Jon McNulty noted that the PACTS area is expanding, resulting in the inclusion of YCCAC and Shuttle Bus/Zoom into the Transit Providers Group. He noted that the group recently worked out funding based on a percentage of the funding going to each provider. Dan brought out a large map that showed the increased area of PACTS, based on a new Census definition of an urbanized area. Marty suggested that the committee give Gwen feedback on the B.O.P.

Dan noted that Margaret Forbes, who represents people with disabilities on the RTAC, could not make it to the meeting due to illness, but asked that he speak on her behalf. She spoke specifically about Question #4, State Agency Use of Medicaid and Medicare funds to provide transportation to people with disabilities. She stated that in her opinion, the money that goes for transportation at group homes would be better utilized if overseen by MDOT and funneled through existing transportation networks such as RTP. She stated that RTAC members have not had an opportunity to see the MDOT Transit Needs Study (April 02), conducted by Wilbur Smith Associates, which explains the role of other state agencies providing transportation in Maine and the need for it to be overseen by the DOT. She suggests that the State require that all agencies coordinate with existing MDOT subsidized services rather than fund their own services. She stated that this is clearly a need from a rider perspective that MDOT oversee this function. Dan asked where written suggestions for the BTIP should be forwarded to and when they be sent. Marty said that the comments should be forwarded to him within the next few days, and he will forward them to the appropriate people. Suzanne explained that Connie Garber of the York County Community Action Corporation sent her an email explaining that in her opinion the fact that these homes have their own transportation is good in some cases because they are able to provide transportation to people when her program cannot. Tom Meyers suggested that it may be a combination of both. In some cases it could be helpful that a group home have its own transportation, in others it would be better for the users if it came through existing providers of transportation services. Jon McNulty suggested that there are ways that the system might be able to save money. For instance, he feels it might serve all providers better if a centralized area could be used to fix all the vehicles. METRO and RTP share a service area, but other providers of transportation are likely getting their vehicles fixed at local garages and it might be more cost efficient to have a system where those vehicles could be serviced at a central location.

3. Six Year Plan Matrix Discussion
Roger announced the next agenda item as a discussion on the Six Year Plan Matrix. Marty distributed the draft matrix of Appendix D of the Six-Year Plan. Appendix D includes all the statewide RTAC priorities organized in a matrix. The Committee discussed each of the Statewide RTACs' suggestions and whether any of those suggestions were also relevant and supported in RTAC 6's original process of developing priorities. After discussion, the Committee voted by consensus to add support to improving east/west highways, enforcing truck weight limits, encouraging the use of rail over trucking, providing intermodal passenger opportunities in downtowns, at airports and at train stations, and explore funding environmentally friendly modes of transportation.

After discussion on the importance that was shown on transit for this RTAC during the process, the Committee also voted to add all the remaining suggestions regarding transit, including supporting public transit facilities and equipment, exploring public-private partnerships, supporting marketing of local providers, and exploring expansion of Maine's marine highway along its rivers and coast.

4. Membership Discussion
Roger moved onto the membership discussion agenda item. Marty thanked all the members for coming to tonight's meeting. He noted that the RTAC usually has good attendance, the last meeting being an exception. He also noted the goal is to have as much representation as possible. That being said, he stated that he and Roger would look over the last few meetings and try to identify those who have not been coming and contact them about continued participation. If any of the RTAC members have any suggestions on people interested in becoming a member, please contact Roger or Marty.

The discussion than moved to the different interests represented on each RTAC, and how each interest represents a broader interest than where they individually come from. For example, someone may be a member representing municipal interests, but that person is supposed to represent from a regional perspective, and not from his/her town. There are many interests represented on each RTAC, and some members from each area. A member of the public noticed that the coastal area seems to be better represented. She suggested that rural southwestern Maine should have representation. Roger noted that applications are on the Web along with membership information. The Commissioner of Transportation must appoint a potential member. The committee normally meets about six times a year, along with one or two events. Roger gave an overview of upcoming events for the RTAC. The Committee will likely meet in March and May, with the transportation conference scheduled for June. Now that the Six-Year Plan is near completion, the next focus for the RTAC's will be the Twenty Year Plan. Suzanne suggested that we also invite someone from different areas of MDOT that have interest to the RTAC to each meeting. For instance, John Balicki, MDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator would be helpful to invite to a meeting to give an overview to the RTAC. Conrad suggested that at each meeting, a twenty-minute discussion be put in to educate the RTAC on an issue the RTAC would like to learn more about. A suggestion was made to brainstorm and prioritize a number of topics at the next meeting.

5. Reports
A. Route 114 Corridor Committee
Dan gave an overview of recent progress of the committee. At the last meeting, Dean Lessard (MDOT) presented the new design of the section that is scheduled to be improved this year to the Committee, including three town managers, many council people, planning board chairs, etc. During Dean's presentation, electronic aerials in Arc View of the project area were used. As Dean showed the designs on paper, the overhead view (which was zoomed in) was there to help make his point.

B. Route 111 Committee
Suzanne reported that the Committee has been meeting at different locations along the corridor, talking about land use, traffic counts, safety improvements and the seven proposed projects along the corridor. The Committee has been focusing on access management and at risk sections. They have been using aerial photos, zoning in GIS, and build out scenarios.

C. Greater Portland Council of Governments
Dan handed out an overview of some of the projects that GPCOG is working on. He also announced and handed out the list of dates for the GPCOG forums. He explained that GPCOG is hosting a series of forums in the region focusing on the challenges of growth. He noted that the first forums have been well attended and productive. The next meeting is on February 27th in Raymond.

D. Maine Turnpike Authority
Conrad announced upcoming public meetings in Saco and Biddeford. He also announced that since exit 7 B opened in December, exit 8 numbers have been down. People are using the new exit, with an average of about 6,000-7,000 cars coming through. One high travel day had 10,000 vehicles come through the exit.

6. Public Comment
A member of the public stated that they were thankful for the knowledge shared at the meeting tonight. She also thanked the members for participating in the process.

7. Next Meeting
The next meeting was tentatively scheduled for March 25th, at a location to be determined.

 

 

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