Policy Committee Meeting
Minutes of Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Ralph Bentley, Supervisor, Town of Horicon
Frank Bonafide, NYSDOT Reg. 1 (rep. Mary Ivey)
Dennis Dickinson, Supervisor, Town of Lake George
Mitch Suprenant, Supervisor, Town of Ford Edward
Steven Sweeney, NYS Canal Corp. (rep. Michael Loftus)
Mike Valentine, Saratoga County (rep. Thomas Wood)
Wayne LaMothe, Warren County Planning
Scott Sopczyk, GGFT
Aaron Frankenfeld, Transportation Planning Director
Kate Mance, Senior Transportation Planner
1. Welcome & Introductions
Chairman Mitch Suprenant called the meeting to order at 1:37.
2. Visitors Issues – None
3. Administrative Items
A. Committee representation update (Aaron): Chairmanship of the
transportation council rotates between our two full counties every two
years. Washington County is now in the position to chair the Council, and
Washington County Board of Supervisors Chairman John Rymph has
appointed Mitch Suprenant, Supervisor of the Town of Fort Edward, to chair
the Council for the next two years. Chairman Dan Stec of Warren County
has appointed Ralph Bentley of Horicon to serve as Vice-Chair. Dennis
Dickinson was welcomed as the new Supervisor of Lake George. In
addition, John LaPointe, Supervisor of the Town of Putnam, is now
Chairman of the LC-LGRPB. Washington County also appointed Supervisor
Bob Shay of White Creek to be the designated rural representative.
B. Host Agency agreement (Aaron): The Lake Champlain – Lake George
Regional Planning Board is the host agency for A/GFTC; host agencies are
required for all Metropolitan Planning Organizations in New York State.
They provide administrative and payroll support as well as first instance
funding for A/GFTC expenses. After consideration of the existing
arrangement and other options, the TAC decided to renew the contract
between A/GFTC and the LC-LGRPB for a term of ten years.
C. Federal reauthorization (Aaron): There are competing Senate and House
reauthorization bills, although the House bill appears to have stalled. At
this point, the Senate bill is the one more likely to move forward. The bill is
a two-year bill programmed at $109 billion, which is roughly level funding.
There is still a possibility that there will be another extension of current
transportation legislation. There is a lot of emphasis within the bill on
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consolidating federal programs, such as the National Highway System,
Interstate Maintenance and the Highway Bridge Programs, into a single
program that is dedicated to improvements on National Highway System
facilities. The Surface Transportation Program has been renamed the
Transportation Mobility Program and is applicable to non-NHS facilities.
Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School have been
eliminated as programs, although those types of projects remain eligible
for funding. There is a lot of language dedicated to performance measures,
which are likely to be handed down from USDOT, in a somewhat less
iterative process than under the House bill. As an organization, A/GFTC is
most concerned about the tiering system proposed under the Senate Bill.
As noted previously, existing MPOs like A/GFTC, which are under the new
200,000 population threshold for MPOs, would require re-designation by
the Governor and USDOT, the latter of which would depend upon our
ability to meet technical capacity requirements which have yet to be
identified. The House bill did include a provision to grandfather smaller
MPOs. There was a similar amendment to the Senate bill, although it is
unclear whether it was considered. There is concern at the staff level that
the performance measures are being designed with the elimination of small
MPOs in mind. Staff is confident that it has the technical compentency and
flexibility to meet any reasonable requirements. A/GFTC’s data collection
capabilities are better than some other small MPOs, for example. In
addition, the NYSMPO Association fosters a lot of capacity-building and
information exchange among the agencies that benefit NYS MPOs. In terms
of local impacts, eliminating MPO representation will likely make it more
difficult for local project sponsors to have their needs articulated. If the
proposed legislation passes, there will be ample time to make a case for
A/GFTC to be re-designated. Mike Valentine asked for additional
information concerning A/GFTC’s capabilities as compared to other MPOs.
Aaron cited travel demand modeling and the in-house pavement scoring
system as two examples. A/GFTC can respond quickly to new performance
measures once they are issued. In addition, there is the financial capacity
to add staff if needed to address technical requirements. Ultimately, the
certification will come from the Secretary of USDOT.
4. Annual Work Program
D. Completed and ongoing staff and consultant activities (Aaron):
Completed and on-going projects:
• The Queensbury connector road study is being finalized. The study
examined existing traffic conditions in and around the airport and
evaluated the feasibility of the potential construction of a new
connector road between Quaker Road and Queensbury Avenue.
Future developments and growth assumptions were considered. The
study concludes that the transportation system benefits associated
with the new road are limited, and as such a new roadway would be
largely a development-driven project. Significant benefits could be
achieved from upgrading the existing system, notably with a signal
timing improvement at the Quaker / Dix intersection. The
consultant is preparing a memo that details the recommended
change, which can be forwarded to the responsible municipalities.
Wayne LaMothe noted that this has been an ongoing issue and that
the existing system of coordinated signals is not being maintained
properly. He asked what steps can be taken to ensure that the
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signals are maintained in the future. Aaron stated that he had
looked into establishing some sort of signal maintenance setaside to
help address the needs for locally-operated equipment. There are
two clusters of time-based coordinated signals along Quaker Road.
Additionally, the only non-state-owned signals in the A/GFTC area
are within the Town of Queensbury and the City of Glens Falls, so
there should be a manageable way to maintain these facilities.
Currently they are being maintained by City staff, either directly or
through an agreement with the Town. Wayne noted that there was
an older study regarding signal timing. Aaron noted that the issue
with this study is that it was conducted many years ago, and there
is concern at the County DPW that the data may no longer be
relevant. It is not clear whether this setaside would be eligible for
PL funds, or how much such a program would cost. Scott Sopczyk
noted that several years ago there was an idea to swap
maintenance between NYS Route 8 and Quaker Road, which might
present an opportunity to ensure better maintenance.
• Staff completed an initial traffic assessment for the Warren-
Washington IDA in November, as part of the permitting
requirements for NYS Shovel Ready designation. The IDA indicated
that it would not be interested in consultant-based assistance, so
the study was completed in-house at no cost to the IDA by drawing
heavily upon available data. The study concluded that the growth
potential of Phase II of the Airport Industrial Park was not
significant enough to substantially impact the surrounding
• A/GFTC used the on-call engineering assistance agreement on
behalf of GGFT to facilitate a pavement marking re-design for
GGFT’s main terminal in downtown Glens Falls. The design provided
better delineation between space needed for operations of transit
vehicles and on-street parking spaces. Use of the contract enabled
the quick implementation of the project.
• The Glens Falls Residential Traffic Calming project was completed in
October. This was in response to residents’ concerns regarding
speeding vehicles. The study included a speed survey conducted
with residents and volunteers to determine a passing vehicle speed
that residents were comfortable with. This was found to be a couple
miles an hour lower than the posted speed limit. The study also
evaluated the effectiveness of low-cost pavement marking
alternatives designed to influence speeds downward. The striping
deployment was shown to be ineffective in reducing speeds,
although mobile speed feedback signs were found to be effective.
• A/GFTC recently completed the solicitation for our Make the
Connection Program for small-scale bicycle and pedestrian projects.
Full or partial funding was awarded to 7 out 9 projects sponsored by
the following municipalities: Warren County (3 of 4 County
applications were awarded), Village of Fort Edward, Town of
Johnsburg, Village of Salem, and Town of Warrensburg.
Nearly completed projects:
• The Warren County Bicycle Plan has been drafted and presented to
the Warren County DPW committee for their consideration. The
committee asked for time to review the plan, which can be finalized
once any comments are received.
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• The Coordinated Human Services Transportation Plan (CHSTP) is
also under production. An update has been presented to the public
via two open houses held on March 13 in Warren and Washington
Counties, and is currently undergoing review and revision based on
• A draft of the safety evaluation for the Bay and Cronin intersection
was delivered to A/GFTC staff yesterday. It will be jointly reviewed
by A/GFTC and Warren County DPW staff prior to a presentation by
the consultant team to the DPW committee at an upcoming
meeting. The study is looking at a variety of alternatives in addition
to a traffic signal.
• A draft of the school circulation study for the City of Glens Falls is
expected this week. That study is intended to address some of the
circulation issues that are occurring during pick-up and drop-off.
The study is also part of an evaluation by the school district into
aligning start times for the middle and high school, which are
currently staggered. Having one start time for both could create a
larger number of vehicles at once. The study involves physical and
• Our ridesharing match program, ipoolnorth, was recently updated.
We will re-commit to our promotional efforts to recruit new users.
• A/GFTC will continue to work on keeping the TIP up-to-date, and
staff remains available to provide transportation-related technical
assistance to our member municipalities. A/GFTC had been
indirectly tasked with assisting with County Planning Board Section
239 referrals. However, this was a temporary arrangement and the
responsibility will now be handled by Warren County staff. Wayne
LaMothe expressed thanks on behalf of the County in undertaking
the reviews, because it allowed for projects to move forward
through the review process while the requisite local law was being
E. 2012-13 UPWP
1) Aaron reviewed the financial summary, which was reviewed by the
TAC as well. For 2012-13, A/GFTC has been allocated $327,712 in
FHWA Planning funds as well as $43,670 in FTA MPP funds. That
represents the “new” money coming in. The remaining $373,381
is made up of state and local in-kind match and program
carryovers from previous years. The increase $86,000 in available
dollars for this year is attributable to a bigger carryover. There is
also extra $15,000 in FHWA PL that represents a smaller
takedown in PL for statewide shared cost initiatives than had been
subtracted in the prior year. A/GFTC will not spend all of the total
$745,000, and will probably spend less than half that amount.
However, our practice has been to program as much of the
carryover as possible. The funds listed on the summary do not
account for carryover from the immediate year prior, as those
funds have not yet been confirmed by FHWA as being available.
2) Task summary (Aaron): Tasks are broken up into four categories:
administration, general development and comprehensive planning,
long-range planning, and Transportation Improvement Program.
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• Administration typically includes payroll, billing, certification and
compliance documentation and work program development and
does not change significantly from year-to-year.
• Task 2 is most of our ongoing activities, including data
collection, public participation and outreach, promotion of
alternative transportation options, and technical assistance to
municipalities. New tasks for 2012-13 include an update to our
county-wide accident tallies for off-system roadways. We last
completed this in 2003-2004, and County staff has stated that
the summaries were very useful. There may be a need for staff
training on the accident-reporting software used by NYSDOT.
New project proposals for the on-call engineering assistance
program will be entertained by staff and the Technical Advisory
Committee as warranted.
• For Task 3, we plan to initiate the Long Range Plan update,
which is a core document required for all MPOs. This is due in
2014, but since there is a significant amount of work involved,
staff will begin this effort this year. Also, the LRP will contain
some longer-term traffic forecasts using our recently updated
travel demand model.
• Task 3 also includes a regional mobility management plan, which
is a recommendation from the CHSTP. One of the main
comments that is presented most often to staff is that people in
the outlying rural areas lack transportation options. This will
likely be a consultant-assisted project. This plan will attempt to
identify a potential model for coordinating human services
transportation throughout the region.
• Also included is an update to our area-wide Bicycle and
Pedestrian Plan. This would fold in the Warren County Plan, as
well as a similar plan in Washington County, as there is some
interest in a bike plan for that area as well. The regional bike
plan produced by the MPO is now over 10 years old.
• Task 3.6 is the Climate Change Adaptation Planning, which
would look to identify and assessments of transportation
infrastructure that is potentially vulnerable to increased
frequency and severity of weather events. This is a labor-
intensive process which will be driven by interest of the local
municipalities in participation.
• A/GFTC is expected to prepare a TIP sometime this fall, as the
STIP expires this year. The funding levels are still unknown. We
are behind one year in TIP cycle at the behest of NYSDOT; they
were unwilling to provide regional allocations due to uncertain
funding availability. Since the STIP is expiring, the TIP must be
A motion was made to approve the 2012-2013 A/GFTC UPWP.
MOVED BY: Ralph Bentley SECONDED BY: Mike Valentine MOTION
5. Greater Glens Falls Transit Update (Scott Sopczyk): 2011 was a very strong year
for GGFT, with over 340,000 riders, the largest total in the history of the system. So
far for 2012, ridership is over 7% higher than last year. Some of this may be
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related to the cost of fuel or the mild weather. The Capital Plan is in good shape,
with the planned replacement of the paratransit buses scheduled for the summer.
The schedule changes that were implemented last year as part of the Transit
Development Plan recommendations seem to have increased ridership and were
well received. For example, at Adirondack Community College, prior to the schedule
update, sales of monthly passes were around 12 per month. Now, the sales are
around 50 per month. This doesn’t count increases in students riding the bus and
paying cash. GGFT also met with the Dean to discuss the construction of the new
dorms and what types of transportation demand that may create. Financially, State
and Federal resources have been managed well – the availability of necessary
Federal funds appears to be sufficient at this time. Operating costs and the overall
budget could be substantially impacted by a significant rise in fuel costs. Service
planning for the summer is almost completed. Dennis Dickinson asked whether
service ran during Americade, and noted that he had heard from a business owner
interested in discussing services. Scott agreed to follow up.
A. Project Updates (Aaron): There is no direct representation from the DPW
staff of Warren or Washington Counties present. However, DPW staff did
give a comprehensive update at February’s TAC meeting, so if anyone is
interested in those updates and does not have access to the meeting
minutes, A/GFTC can supply them.
1) Warren County: Ralph Bentley noted that the replacement of the
Middleton Bridge over the Schroon River, which had previously been in
a stalemate with DEC, is now moving forward under an agreement with
the Governor and DEC. This is a very important bridge for access to
residents of Horicon and Chester.
2) Washington County: No report.
3) Saratoga County (Mike Valentine) We are continuing to work with
DOT on the Route 9 safety project in South Glens Falls. Capacity and
parking issues are being considered. The Village is also looking to
implement infrastructure improvements concurrently with the highway
project. Frank Bonafide noted that the DOT project is not a
reconstruction project and that subsurface infrastructure work will likely
delay the project.
4) NYSDOT (Frank Bonafide): In terms of project updates, Route 29
bridge over Black Creek in Salem is moving forward, with a spring
letting. Route 4 in Hudson Falls is moving forward with a summer
letting, and DOT has been working with the Village for the sewer
infrastructure betterment. The Route 9 safety project (SGF) discussed
previously is moving forward, with a tentative fall 2012 letting.
However, construction is more likely to occur in 2013, assuming that
the infrastructure issues can be worked out. Aaron noted that this delay
may be advantageous to the Village as it gives them time to work out
the infrastructure issues. Frank noted that DOT is flexible in terms of
the timing. The Route 197 Bridge over the Hudson is on track to be let
in summer 2013, as is the Route 4 Bridge over the Champlain. Route
28N over the Upper Hudson RR in Johnsburg is on track to be let in
fall/winter 2013. Frank thanked the Committee for endorsing the STIP
listings for the Accelerated Transportation Programs. The Governor’s
proposed budget includes numerous items that impact DOT, including
the proposal to create jobs and address infrastructure needs through
the “NY Works” program. The project listings include $250 million
statewide for paving, $212 million statewide for bridges, and $750
March 14, 2012
million for signature projects. The recent action was for the bridge and
pavement preservation work. Once the budget is approved, the goal is
to release projects for bid in April and May. The list of projects will not
be released until the budget is passed. The list was generated at the
Regional level based on DOT’s assessment of priorities. Most of the
projects are preservation-oriented and involve thin pavement overlays
or deck replacements on bridges – projects which will be quick to
commence and complete. The goal is to address 2,000 lane miles and
over 100 bridges statewide. As part of this, the Region will get a large
influx of funding in addition to their core program. This will go to
projects that are needed but could not have been afforded otherwise.
DOT is borrowing ahead to accomplish this, but it appears that federal
funding will be level; local projects should therefore not be affected.
Mike Valentine asked who bears the cost of interest associated with
bonding, and Frank noted that he would need to look into that. The
current plan would put DOT three years into the future with regard to
borrowing, which is aggressive in terms of DOT practice but is
conservative compared to other Departments across the country. Mike
asked if the costs will be carried into the TIP, and Frank and Aaron
noted that it will not affect the TIP. Mike asked whether this accelerated
program will push a project through faster than expected. Frank noted
that these are mostly new projects, in addition to DOT’s core program.
Frank also reported on the consolidation efforts in the Governor’s
budget. The current proposal is to consolidate the DOT into six regions
from eleven. In addition, Region 1 is moving as part of the “re-
stacking” effort, and will be co-located with DOT Main Office at 50 Wolf
Road. The move is taking place in April. Regional personnel may be out
of touch by phone for a few weeks, but email should be a good way to
B. Amendments and Modifications (Aaron): There were none.
7. Other Items: Wayne LaMothe noted that Warren County is finishing a re-designation
of the old Dude Ranch Scenic Byway as the First Wilderness Scenic Byway. This was
initiated by ANCA (Adirondack North Country Association), and the plan is almost
ready to go to DOT for comment. The hope is that the branding completed for the
First Wilderness Heritage Corridor can be included on signage along the byway. The
alignment is being extended south to Corinth and north to Chestertown. The Dude
Ranch was never formally designated, so having a formal designation for the First
Wilderness will open up a funding stream, assuming the scenic byway program is
8. Next meeting and adjourn (Aaron): The next meeting will be in mid-August. It may
be possible to coordinate the meeting with the Adirondack Gateway Council, since
there is a large overlap of membership. If there are any schedule conflicts, please
A motion was made to adjourn the meeting at 2:38 PM.
MOVED BY: Mike Valentine SECONDED BY: Ralph Bentley MOTION CARRIED