Executive Director's Update
NVTA Board and community members:
I am excited to announce that our Manager of Engineering, Sanjay Mishra, has passed his traffic engineering exam, officially making him a licensed traffic and civil engineer.
At the September 2019 Transportation Summit held at the CIA, Betty Rhodes, a former member of the Paratransit Coordinating Council (PCC), asked the Board of Directors to focus on solutions for senior mobility. NVTA staff, in collaboration with several non-profit organizations and County Health and Human Services staff, assembled two meetings to discuss senior mobility challenges. During those meetings, we discussed the available services, the responsibilities of each organization, and potential funding. The group thought that the existing PCC could be reinvigorated with members from the senior collaborate and that it was the appropriate place to continue the senior mobility discussions. Several participants indicated that they have an interest in serving on the PCC.
In January, the Board approved entering into a cooperative agreement for environmental and design review services on the Calistoga to St. Helena Vine Trail for an amount not to exceed $440,000. After that action, Rebecca Schenck, NVTA's Project Manager, worked with Caltrans to reduce the amount to $235,000. NVTA does not have the resources to fund the cooperative agreement, so the County of Napa, City of St. Helena, and the City of Calistoga have tentatively agreed to share the costs pending approval by city Councils and Board of Supervisors.
I attended the January 31st California Transportation Commission meeting and STIP workshop. The STIP workshop is held before the adoption of the biennial STIP program, and regions are invited to highlight their key projects. MTC invited three speakers to present on their projects, including Solano County (I-80) and Santa Clara County (El Camino) and NVTA. I delivered a presentation to the commission on Soscol Junction, which is the only project seeking new funding in the next cycle.
We have received positive news from the Department of Transportation's Build America Bureau – the agency that manages the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA). The Build America Bureau has confirmed eligibility for its rural projects initiative, which will save NVTA money on fees and interest costs. As of February 18th, a 35 year fixed rate TIFIA loan would be 0.995%. We have a few more steps before the terms are confirmed and staff will bring the proposal back to the Board for its consideration.
Senator Dodd will be holding a press conference on Friday, February 21st, at 10 a.m. at the Sonoma Raceway to introduce his legislation that would initiate tolling proposal for the SR 37 improvements and long term operational needs.
Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has agreed to sponsor legislation that would support proceeds on excess parcels around Soscol Junction to be prioritized for highway improvements in Napa County. We are still working with the Assembly Woman on the bill language.
Lastly, I am happy to announce that Caltrans has finally certified the environmental document for Soscol Junction. Caltrans signed the Initial Study with Mitigated Negative Declaration/Environmental Assessment with Finding of No Significant Impact on February 13th. NVTA staff has also released the request for proposals for the design phase of the Soscol Junction project. In March, we will request that the Board award the contract to the successful engineering consulting team.
Our next Board of Directors meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
NVTA Executive Director