Documenter: Olivia Muñoz
Here’s what you need to know
Fresno County received more than $9.2 million in funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA) for transportation related projects.
The TTC agreed to recommend the approval of five grants to different Fresno County entities for the purposes of enhancing the mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities. The grants vary in size, are mostly for the replacement of vehicles, and total more than $1 million. The Policy Board will vote on this next.
There is a public comment period on a proposed Regional Transportation Plan that outlines how the Fresno COG might reach the vision of creating a “region of diverse, safe, resilient, and accessible transportation options that improve the quality of life for all residents by fostering sustainability, equity, a vibrant economy, clean air, and healthy communities’s goals and policies.” The draft is available here. Comments can be sent to Soliz at email@example.com or Prince at firstname.lastname@example.org by June 18.
Fresno COG, in partnership with Madera County Transportation Commission (MCTC), is conducting a study to determine needs regarding: access, safety, and connectivity for all modes of travel, including automobiles, transit, walking, and rolling/cycling. For questions or comments, please contact Braden Duran at email@example.com
Hector Medina was reappointed to the Social Services Transportation Advisory Council for two more years. The advisory group makes recommendations to better serve the needs of transit-dependent and transit-disadvantaged persons, including the elderly, disabled and persons of limited means.
Measure C – senior/ADA, youth, rural mayor, equity seats – Tony Boren
Greg Barfield, City of Fresno‐FAX
Tina Sumner, Fresno Cycling Club
Mohammad Khorsand, County of Fresno
Mohammad Alimi, County of Fresno
Moses Stites, Fresno County Rural Transit Agency
Marilu Morales, City of Reedley
Michael Osborne, City of Mendota
Mike Prandini, Building Industry Association
Debbie Hunsaker, Fresno Chamber
Tony Boren, Fresno COG
Braden Duran, Associate Regional Planner
Jennifer Soliz, Associate Regional Planner
Meg Prince, Senior Regional Planner
Tony Boren, executive director
Peggy Arnest, Senior Regional Planner
Les Beshears, Finance Director
Todd Sobrado, Marketing/Planning Coordinator, Fresno Area Express (FAX)
Jeaneen Cervantes, Office Administrator
Kai Han, Senior Regional Planner
Brenda Veenendaal, Administrative Services Manager, Public Information Officer
Kristine Cai, Deputy Director
Santosh Bhattarai, Associate Regional Planner
Toni Graham, Accounting Manager
This meeting was held on Friday, June 11, 2021, via Zoom. Instructions on the agenda posted online gave instructions for joining via Zoom or by phone, with directions for public comment. The meeting started at 8:30am. There were 41 total attendees logged in to the video call, more than half of whom were committee members or Fresno COG staff. The meeting was recorded. The screen was shared and followed the agenda posted on the agency’s website.
The meeting started with approval of “consent items.” The “consent agenda” was explained in writing and during the meeting as items “considered to be routine and non-controversial by COG staff and will be approved by one motion if no member of the Committee or public wishes to comment or ask questions.” Most items were informational or simply recommendations for the approval of items that move on to the board for final voting. The agency planned to move any items with comment or discussion to the regular agenda if there were requests from committee members or the public, but there were none.
No one had public comment and or further discussion on any of the following, so they were passed in one fell swoop:
Approval of May 14, 2021 minutes of the Transportation Technical Committee.
The Fresno Council of Governments Transportation Technical Committee agreed to recommend the approval of five applications for the Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 grant program, which gives federal dollars to organizations and entities seeking to enhance mobility of seniors and individuals with disabilities.
The potential grantees are: Fresno Area Express, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission, United Cerebral Palsy of Central California, WestCare California, and Inspiration Transportation for operation of paratransit service in Fresno County.
Fresno Area Express applied for $430,080 to purchase three sedans and replace three paratransit buses;
Fresno County Economic Opportunities Commission applied for $270,219 to replace three paratransit buses;
United Cerebral Palsy of Central California applied for $187,950 to purchase two buses;
WestCare California applied for $111,082 to replace two paratransit vans; and
Inspiration Transportation applied for $185,645 to purchase one electric paratransit van.
The applications were graded by volunteer members of the Fresno County Social Services Transportation Advisory Council.
This item next goes to the Policy Board.
The TTC approved the staff’s recommendation for the Policy Board to adopt resolution 2021-29, which would approve $43,000,000 in local transportation funds for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The figure was estimated by the County Auditor/Controller and represents a $3,392,432 (9%) increase from last year’s estimate. It was based on May 2021 population numbers. Item now moves on to the Policy Board.
The TTC approved the staff’s recommendation for the Policy Board to adopt the final State Transit Assistance (STA) estimate, which was updated to reflect the Department of Finance’s May population release. The State Controller’s Office has estimated the fiscal year 2021-22 State Transit Assistance (STA) apportionment at $8,349,702. This is down $1,507,242 (15%) from the May 2020 final estimate. Item now moves on to the Policy Board.
The TTC approved the staff’s recommendation to approve this estimate, with updates based on the Department of Finance’s May population release. The State Controller’s Office has estimated the fiscal year 2021-22 State of Good Repair (SGR) apportionment at $1,785,808. This is up $208,902 (13%) from May 2020.
The TTC recommended the Fresno-Clovis Metropolitan Area Short-Range Transit Plan move on to the Board after a public hearing. This is an annual update to the operating plan and capital programs for Fresno Area Express (FAX) and Clovis Transit, and would guide transit service in the metropolitan area over the next five years.
The TTC recommended the Board’s reappointment of Hector Medina to the Social Services Transportation Advisory Committee for a two-year term. This committee responds to state legislation, coordinates social service transportation, and reviews and recommends action on transit issues. The staff was specifically seeking members who represent minority groups, social service providers for seniors, and potential transit users in an effort to diversify the committee.
The staff requested that the TTC recommend the 2021-22 operations program and budgets for both the Fresno urban and rural Consolidated Transportation Service Agencies for approval, and the TTC moved ahead with this. The proposed budget for 2021/2022 totals $1.3 million for rural social service transportation and nearly $4.5 million for urban social service transportation. Board must make final approval.
The TTC moved to adopt the proposed 2021-2022 budget, sending it to the Board for approval. Estimated ridership decreased in both Fresno and Clovis due to the pandemic, from 50,000 total trips in 2019-2020 to 32,000 trips for both cities in 2020-2021. Trips for Fresno and Clovis are projected to number 38,000 in the 2021-2022 period.
The following items were not part of the “consent agenda” and were proposed for discussion.
Funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA)
The committee approved the request from staff to recommend the Policy Board approve allocating federal funds from this act to the 2021-2022 Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) program, which covers a variety of potential projects. The CRRSAA was meant to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.” Fresno COG received $9,295,806 in CRRSAA funds.
Committee member Mohammad Khorsand with the County of Fresno County, asked how it was decided that the funds would go to the STBG program. “The state actually decided that, Mohammad. There were several workshops held and the state provided stiff guidance based on them. We really have to follow those guidelines,” said Jennifer Soliz, an associate regional planner with Fresno COG. Khorsand asked if this was typical and Soliz confirmed that, yes, this was common practice.
Gregory A. Barfield, Fresno city director of transportation, asked if there were any more questions or any comments from the public, but there were none.
Moses Stites of the Fresno County Rural Transit Agency motioned to approve, Khorsand seconded. Recommendation passed unanimously.
Braden Duran brought forth a request that the TTC recommend the Board approve guidelines and application, and initiate a call-for-projects on the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) and Surface Transportation Block Grant (STBG) programs. The committee passed this and the item will go to the Board on June 24.
There were no public comments.
Khorsand motioned to approve and Mike Prandini, of the Building Industry Association, seconded. This was passed unanimously.
Brought forth by Todd Sobrado, Marketing/Planning Coordinator, Fresno Area Express (FAX), was the request by staff that TTC recommend the Board adopt resolution 2021-20, approving Fresno COG’s 2021-22 Unmet Need Assessment. The study finds that there are unmet transit needs that are reasonable to met. This is a step necessary before approving Local Transportation Fund claims for streets and roads.
Sobrado shared that public outreach was completed completely virtually through:
meetings (five on Zoom and one on Facebook)
a survey on Facebook
a public hearing at the April 29, 2021 COG Policy Board meeting, in which two people spoke. Those comments were included in the report.
In total, 71 comments were gathered and all were included in report, according to Sobrado.
Tina Sumner, committee member and representing the Fresno Cycling Club, asked what this report means for future funding and programs for projects deemed reasonable.
Stites responded, “Essentially, the two identifiable unmet needs that are reasonable to me in working with the transit agencies affected in this particular case — one with City of Fresno FAX and one with FCRTA — staff works with the comment that’s brought forth and seeing how it can be incorporated into each transit agency’s existing SRGP and also funded within the confines for this upcoming year, FY 21-22. So, it really doesn’t have any other effect as far as programming or anything like that. The comments are usually route-related or service-related. They don’t necessarily require capital or infrastructure.” Stites went on to say that most of the service-related comments could typically be covered by existing budgets, programs, and procedures.
There were no comments from the public.
Sumner motioned to approve and Khorsand seconded. The recommendation passed unanimously.
State law requires Fresno COG to survey its member jurisdictions for data regarding the required objectives and factors for developing the Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) Plan. The survey was conducted in March 2021. A summary of the results (16 respondents representing 15 municipalities in Fresno County) was shared via a report. The report indicates:
Farmworker housing was identified as a need by roughly half of respondents (7).
One jurisdiction indicated consideration of migration trends from coastal areas into the Central Valley during COVID.
Report has more information on how respondents viewed opportunity for new housing, the barriers to creating low-income housing, and other housing topics.
Measure C Renewal Update
Fresno COG Executive Director Tony Boren gave a verbal update on Measure C renewal efforts. Boren shared that the current committee of more than 20 members seeks to add about five more seats, representing the following groups: youth; community organization/ social justice/ faith-based; small business/ rural mayor; innovation in transportation; senior/ADA.
Fresno COG, in partnership with Madera County Transportation Commission (MCTC), conducted a study to determine State Route 41’s future transportation needs in the City of Fresno, as well as the southern segment in Madera County. In addition, the study is analyzing future transportation needs along the Avenue 9 corridor in Madera County between SR 41 and SR 99. This project began in July 2020, and makes recommendations in both counties for issues such as: mobility, access, safety, and connectivity for all modes of travel, including automobiles, transit, walking, and rolling/cycling. An online information center is live throughout the project. A final version will be brought to the Board for approval in July 2021.
Associate Regional Planner Jennifer Soliz and Senior Regional Planner Meg Prince presented a draft of the programs and actions necessary to implement the Regional Transportation Plan’s goals and policies. The draft detailed short- and long-term activities that address regional transportation issues and needs, and will address all transportation modes. Fresno COG is the responsible agency for all actions but will collaborate closely with partnering agencies. The draft is available for public review and will be presented for approval in June. Please send comments to Soliz at firstname.lastname@example.org or Prince at email@example.com by June 18.
Chairman Barfield called for any additional comments from the committee or public. There were none. The TTC meeting was adjourned at around 9:06 a.m. Many members were expected to reconvene for the Policy Advisory Committee scheduled for 10 a.m. that same day.
Next meeting is scheduled for July 9, 2021. There is no TTC meeting scheduled for August 2021.