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BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION ON EAST BATON ROUGE PUBLIC TRANSIT June 15 th, 2011 Final Recommendations.

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Presentation on theme: "BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION ON EAST BATON ROUGE PUBLIC TRANSIT June 15 th, 2011 Final Recommendations."— Presentation transcript:

1 BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION ON EAST BATON ROUGE PUBLIC TRANSIT June 15 th, 2011 Final Recommendations

2 Mayor Holden asked the Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) to develop a comprehensive list of transit-related recommendations by June  The BRC was charged with the following items relative to the future of transit in East Baton Rouge Parish:  Gathering extensive community input regarding the prioritization of FuturEBR projects in order to prepare a phased implementation plan over the immediate-term (24 months)  Estimating the costs of the prioritized FuturEBR projects and examine, first, the sustainability of transit funding in Baton Rouge to support those immediate-term projects and, second, consider alternative and sustainable revenue sources that may be necessary to fund the projects  Analyzing and determining the best mechanism by which to present a transit-related ballot initiative to the East Baton Rouge voters  Consider all other factors that the BRC deems significant to successful FuturEBR project implementation and the sustainability of Baton Rouge transit

3 The Blue Ribbon Commission operated under a three- phased timeline in order to meet the June deadline March 24 th April 7 th April 21 st May 5 th May 18 th June 2 nd Introductory Meeting Problem Identification Refine and Discover Solutions Formalize Options Make Recommendations Draft Proposal Overview of mission Introductions Discussion of workplan and resources Review current FuturEBR study Meet with transit leaders Collect BRC opinions & recommendations Conduct/Review comparative cities & benchmark Deliverable: Set of problems facing transit Relative scale of problem’s impact Initial estimate of resources required for each Refine problems - Solicit public / community opinion -Meet with: transit leaders; city/ state leaders Develop initial recommendations -Solicit BRC input -Solicit input from transit and community leaders -Examine funding options & develop funding strategy -Draft recommendations and align with problems/issues Formulate 3 options Define option pro/cons Develop implementation plans for each including -Funding -Election strategy -Timeline Align on recommended option Draft formal proposal to Mayor Deliverable: Initial set of recommendations & solutions aligned with each problem Deliverable: Three options (one recommended) in formal proposal to Mayor/Council 2 1 3

4 The Blue Ribbon Commission is comprised of business, civic and religious leaders of East Baton Rouge Parish Raymond Jetson (Chair)Star Hill Baptist Church Nancy McPherson (Vice-Chair)AARP David AguillardCatholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge Jay CampbellAssociated Grocers, Inc. John Carpenter*Office of the Mayor-President Homer Charles*Together Baton Rouge Helena CunninghamNational Housing Consultant Services Dr. Myrtle DorseyBaton Rouge Community College Cassie FelderCassie Felder and Associates, LLC/Forum 35 Bill HolmanBaton Rouge General Medical Center Joseph LandsTransit Patron Dr. Kofi LomoteySouthern University Meg Mahoney*Baton Rouge Area Chamber Dr. Mike Martin Louisiana State University Ralph NeyEmbassy Suites Graham ThompsonWhitney Bank, retired Ann Forte’ TrappeyForte’ and Tablada, Inc./BRAC Transportation IssueCouncil Mike Walker*Baton Rouge Metro Council Leroy WattsLiberty Bank and Trust Carmen WeisnerNational Association of Social Workers Ronald Williams4 th District Missionary Baptist Assn / Midcity Community Fellowship *Ex-Officio Member

5 The Blue Ribbon Commission Phase I Committee on Problem Identification analyzed five categories of transit obstacles 1. Inefficiency of System & Route Design Long wait times & time consuming transfers Unpredictable and unreliable on-time performance Existing service area not always based on ridership potential Poor “internal connectivity” 2. Public Perception Perception is that current transit system is not an option for most citizens Low per-capita ridership compared to peer cities 3. Transportation Design & Amenities Shelters are in poor condition or do not exist Poor and uninformative signage at bus stops 4. Funding: Structure & Amount Absence of dedicated funding source makes Baton Rouge a national outlier, limits system expansion, and risks losing federal match funding and grants 5. Governance Accountability: need for single transit entity responsible for leadership, vision & performance

6 The Phase II committee proposed 3 alternatives to address the most pressing transit concerns in East Baton Rouge (1/4)  Proposal A: Basic Reform Decrease wait times from 75 minutes to 30 minutes Increase service from 19 to 31 routes Increase peak buses from 32 to 42 Build 3 new transit hubs to replace “spoke” system with “grid” system Overhaul bus stops with new shelters, covers & benches Add tracking to fleet, with exact arrival times accessible on cellular phones New signage with route and time information Dedicated revenue source for transit

7 The Phase II committee proposed 3 alternatives to address the most pressing transit concerns in East Baton Rouge (2/4)  Proposal B: Ridership Expansion Decrease wait times from 75 minutes to 20 minutes Increase service from 19 to 37 routes Increase peak buses from 32 to 57 Build 3 new transit hubs to replace “spoke” system with “grid” system Overhaul bus stop shelters and benches Add tracking to fleet, with exact arrival times accessible on cellular phones New signage with route and time information Dedicated revenue source for transit 3 new Express Lines: Downtown to LSU Florida Blvd. Plank Road (with service to Airport)

8 The Phase II committee proposed 3 alternatives to address the most pressing transit concerns in East Baton Rouge (3/4)  Proposal C: Broad “Rider-of-Choice” Appeal Decrease wait times from 75 minutes to 15 minutes Increase service from 19 to 39 routes Increase peak buses from 32 to 98 Build 3 new transit hubs Overhaul bus stop benches and shelters Add tracking to fleet, with exact arrival times accessible on cellular phones New signage with route and time information Dedicated revenue source for transit Bus Rapid Transit on Florida Blvd. Start-up for streetcar from downtown to LSU 6 new Express Service Lines for Florida Blvd., Airline Highway, Scenic Highway (serving Southern University), Plank Road (servicing Airport), Acadian Thruway (servicing BRCC) and O’Neal Lane New limited-stop routes for Zachary/Baker, Denham Springs and Highland Road

9 The Phase II committee proposed 3 alternatives to address the most pressing transit concerns in East Baton Rouge (4/4)  After receiving survey input from over 1,000 respondents, the BRC determined that Proposal B (Ridership Expansion) most closely represented the will of the public  COST: ~$18.3 MILLION/YEAR ADDITIONAL REVENUES

10 The Phase III committee evaluated potential Transit Proposal B funding mechanisms (1/2)  Revenue generating sources identified by the BRC:  Sales Tax Citywide Parishwide  Property Tax Citywide Parishwide  Transit District  Economic Development District

11 The Phase III committee evaluated potential Transit Proposal B funding mechanisms (2/2) With assistance from City-Parish and others, the BRC concluded that the creation of transit district was the most viable transit funding option for East Baton Rouge Parish  Tax proposal that includes both sales and property taxes, generating approximately $18 million annually  Will likely require less than.3% sales tax and under 4 mills property tax  Requires enabling legislation giving additional taxing authority, since City/Parish is at constitutional limit for local sales tax  Requires a local election to create a dedicated revenue source for transit through the Capital Area Transit District (election likely to be held in the Fall of 2012)  Areas not included in the transit district may “opt in” through an election process

12 Final Recommendations  Recommendation 1 – Implement BRC Proposal B/B+ (Ridership Expansion)  Recommendation 2 – Support New Public Transit Board Member Nominating Process and Criteria  Recommendation 3 – Overhaul Existing Public Transit Legislation, Reforming Governance Structure and Creating New Capital Area Transit District  Recommendation 4 – Create a Dedicated Revenue Source for Transit  Recommendation 5 – Launch Public Engagement Campaign and Election Drive

13 Recommendation 1 - Implement BRC Proposal B/B+ (Ridership Expansion)  Decrease wait times from the current average of 75 minutes to minutes  Build 3 new transit hubs to replace “spoke” system with “grid” system  Overhaul bus stops, with new shelters and benches  Add GPS tracking to fleet, with exact arrival times accessible on cell phones  Overhaul all signage for transit stops, providing detailed route and time information  Increase service from 19 to 37 routes, expanding to high-demand areas that currently are not served (eg. O’Neal Lane, Coursey Blvd., Essen and Siegen Lane)  Increase peak-hour buses from 32 to 57  Create 3 New Express Lines: Downtown to LSU; Florida Blvd (from Airline to Downtown); Plank Road (with service to Airport)

14 Recommendation 2 - Support New Public Transit Board Member Nominating Process and Criteria  Criteria should include requirements that board members constitute a diverse representation from the following categories:  Riders and consumers who rely on public transit as their primary means of transportation  Leaders from organizations that have a vested interest in a robust transit system (such as higher education and health care facilities) or have a large constituency of transit users  Executives from not-for-profit, human service organizations  Other business leaders with related executive experience in areas such as transportation or civil engineering

15 Recommendation 3 – Overhaul Existing Public Transit Legislation, Reforming Governance Structure and Creating New Capital Area Transit District  Support an amendment to existing public transit legislation, which will include reform of the board-member nominating process and criteria, system performance standards and the creation of and capacity to generate revenue through transit sub-district  Legislation should include the ability for the Capital Area Transit Service to levy a sales tax (excluding food and drugs) and/or an ad valorem property tax within the boundaries of the sub-district  Adopt Capital Area Transit District boundaries to include areas currently served and expected to be served by mass transit, in accordance with the analysis of the FuturEBR Transit Report  Areas not included in the Transit District as originally drafted can “opt in” subsequently through an election process, to allow for growth of the transit system as population density and ridership demands expand

16 Proposed Capital Area Transit District

17 Proposed Capital AreaTransit District (with routes)

18 Recommendation 4 – Create a Dedicated Revenue Source for Transit  Under enabling legislation of the Capital Area Transit District, hold election to create a dedicated revenue source  Dedicated revenue source should produce approximately $18 million annually, allowing for a total transit budget of approximately $29.9 million (including federal match funding, rider fares, and other revenue sources)  Cease dependence on $3 million in Metro Council funding for core operational costs  Recommend use of funding for pedestrian infrastructure improvements connected to transit system  Proposed revenue source should include a combination of sales and property taxes, with the proposed sales tax at about.25% of a cent and the proposed property tax below 4 mills  Exact rates will depend on precise yield estimates from Transit District

19 Recommendation 5 – Launch Public Engagement Campaign and Election Drive  Hold large-scale public engagement and media campaign, engaging all elected officials, Metro Council districts, businesses, neighborhood associations, constituent organizations and citizens about the Transit Reform proposals and the new vision for transit.

20 Other Recommendations  Foster implementation of “complete streets” principles  Infrastructure designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transport of users  Explore fee-for-service relationships and other long- term revenue options with school system, major non- profits, and other transit stakeholders  Assure ongoing accountability and timely implementation of entire transit reform package


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