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Transportation Commission Meeting Agenda & Minutes - June 26, 2019
Wednesday, June 26, 2019
June 26, 2019 – 12:30pm
City Hall, 411 W. 8th St., Medford, OR – Room 330
The regular meeting of the Transportation Commission was called to order at 12:35 p.m.
10. Roll Call
Al Densmore, Chair
Dennie Conrad, Vice Chair
Tim D’Alessandro, Council Liaison
Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director
Eric Zimmerman, Deputy City Manager
Alex Georgevitch, Deputy Public Works Director/City Engineer
Carla Paladino, Principal Planner
Kyle Kearns, Planner II
Bonnie Glidewell, Recording Secretary
Staff Not Present
Karl MacNair, Transportation Manager
20. Citizen Communications
30. Approval of Minutes
There being no additions or corrections, the minutes for May 22, 2019, were approved as submitted. Commissioner Penland MOVED and SECONDED by Commissioner Parducci.
40. Agenda Items
40.1 Funding the Mega-Corridor
Alex Georgevitch, City Engineer, presented options for funding the Mega-Corridor, which was requested at last month’s meeting on May 22, 2019. There is a shortfall of $50 million and this Commission is charged with finding resources to fill the gap. The first funding options presented were: Council controlled options, such as A) Street SDC surcharges which can raise $8 million over 20 years; B) An increase to street utility fees, which can raise $10 million over 20 years; and C) voter approved options such as a local gas tax which can raise over $8 million in 20 years.
Commissioner Conrad had a concern that data points are based on raising funds over a 20 year period; if we build over the next 5 years then we will secure bonds to reconcile the years between when those funds are raised and when the project has started and completed.
Chair Densmore asked who was paying for the maintenance and Mr. Georgevitch suggested that the City covers these costs. Cory Crebbin, Public Works Director, noted that these SDC charges are revisited every two years. Another alternative would be to come up with an SDC surcharge and recommend it escalate moving forward each year.
Chair Densmore noted that this corridor will benefit many but would like to know if we know where the origins of people filling their gas tanks are coming from, living and traveling to. Mr. Georgevitch noted that we do not know this data and there is no way to accurately capture it.
Mr. Zimmerman, Deputy City Manager, noted that Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) is a stakeholder as a priority project and Salem can be the equalizer because they understand the importance of this project and the benefits involved.
The next steps presented asked the question: Does Commission agree with the $50 million amount? Commissioner Conrad asked if our funding sources are ones that other entities are looking at to use as fundraising options. Mr. Georgevitch noted that these three funding options can only be spent on streets which is why we are looking at these options.
Mr. Georgevitch asked whether the Commission wanted other revenue sources. The commission did not have any questions or comments.
Lastly, Mr. Georgevitch asked if the Commission can recommend a funding scenario from the information provided. The recommendation needs to be ready by the end of July, if not solved during this meeting. Mr. Georgevitch noted that this will be a City-wide fundraising option. Chair Densmore noted that the legislature is suggesting citizen’s move away from gas running vehicles and move to electric vehicles. If the City is bonded for this amount based on the gas tax revenue, how might this effect the project and put the City at risk? Mr. Georgevitch noted it is hard to determine what might happen then; Mr. Zimmerman noted that if in 20 years the gas tax is not bringing in the projected revenue, then this would need to be revisited at that time to find new options for funding. In the short term, the risk is not prevalent enough at this time.
Commissioner Jordan asked why the Foothill project is part of the Mega-Corridor rather than having it be a separate ongoing project. Mr. Georgevitch noted that Council recommended it be done this way. It was noted that this is a regional problem and at this time we are focusing on funding options. The matter of how and when it is built is a discussion for later. Our Transportation System Plan (TSP) looked at projects that need to be funded with the available $15 million. Mr. Georgevitch noted that this amount will not cover all that is needed to improve and build out, which is one reason why the Mega-Corridor will be multiple projects combined.
Commissioner D’Alessandro asked if this project will also alleviate the safety issues of the traffic queuing of the South Medford interchange. Mr. Georgevitch noted that the City’s two interchanges will not solve the population congestion that Medford already has and will have as it continues to grow. He noted that this problem is going to take decades to solve but the discussion with ODOT is starting now with a meeting in July. Commissioner Parducci asked if ODOT will be allocating money for improvements and Mr. Georgevitch noted they will find out more at their July meeting. She asked if there is an idea on how much the City of Phoenix will contribute. Mr. Georgevitch answered that there have been a lot of past discussions, but staff has turned over; he anticipates $5 to $10 million, and the Phoenix City Mayor is aware and is in favor of supporting this project.
Mr. Georgevitch shared a spreadsheet with the commission demonstrating how the three funding sources amount can be adjusted to raise the $50 million over 20 years. Commissioner Parducci asked how Medford compares to other cities in SDC’s, utility bills, and gas tax. Mr. Zimmerman noted the City Council would appreciate the comparison of similar and surrounding cities (Central Point, Talent, etc.) when making a recommendation. Commissioner Penland voiced concerns of the gas tax failing. Mr. Georgevitch noted that it is not our decision, this Commission just needs to decide whether to recommend this to City Council, which can then move it to voters.
Commissioner Jordan asked why this is being put together with the North South Corridor with the East West Corridor and if we do half now and half later we will only have to raise half the funds. Mr. Georgevitch noted that is outside of the scope of work today. Mr. Crebbin noted we did so for the matching funds of the Foothill project.
Chair Densmore asked if the Commission would like a refinement of other city comparisons within the county and revisit this topic at the July meeting. Commissioner Jordan requested the historical data of the street utility fees and how they have increased over the years. Commissioner Conrad asked if these fee adjustments would be presented with a sunset date or continue after the $50 million is raised. Mr. Georgevitch noted in the past they would stop, but transportation needs and costs will always continue so this is something that can also be voted on. Mr. Zimmerman concluded that this south area being focusing on with this project is the area which will be expanding and this expansion will essentially unlock potential of undeveloped land for the City’s future growth.
50. Other Business
60. Planning and Public Works Department Update (I)
60.1 Crater Lake Ave & Owen Dr., T-291, the bid was awarded.
70. Comments from Commissioners and Other Committees (I)
Chair Densmore shared an email and Commissioner Penland noted that, as a Commission, members need to come up with a response to this email of concern. She will take it to the Traffic Coordinating Committee on Thursday, June 27, 2019.
Next Meeting: The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 24, 2019, at 12:30 p.m., and will be in City Hall, Medford Room 330.
The meeting adjourned at 2:02 pm.