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Center Identification Number:  77903   

Project Title:  Investigation of the Feasibility of Toll and Transit Agency Equity Sharing

Principal Investigator:

Stephen L. Reich, Director, Transportation Finance, Management, and Administration Program
Phone: 813-974-6435
E-mail: reich@cutr.usf.edu

and

Janet L. Davis, Senior Research Associate
Phone: 813-974-6920
E-mail: davis@cutr.usf.edu

Institution:                             

Transportation Program Evaluation and Economic Analysis
Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida
Fax: 813-974-5168

External Project Contact:     

Ed Coven
State Transit Manager
(850) 414-4522
Email: ed.coven@dot.state.fl.us

I.  Start and End Dates

Start Date:  January 2009               Expected End Date: September 2009

I.  Project Objective/Problem Statement

Today, and in the future, transportation agencies face growing travel demand and are required to address that demand with traditional fund sources that are flat or decreasing in actual buying power.  This is occurring in the face of diminishing physical opportunities to establish new routes and alignments for new service and skyrocketing energy costs that are seriously impacting operating budgets and plans.

To meet growing trip demand in our urban centers, an evolution of highways from construction of general purpose “free” lanes, to HOV Lanes, to HOT Lanes is underway.  HOV and HOT concepts often include Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service as an element.  To date, the proposer is not aware of any situations in the US were agencies have created a bus lane with the initial intent of using its capacity as a revenue generator.  There is potential for a Bus-Toll Lane to cover the infrastructure maintenance and operation (M&O) costs, and preservation costs from tolls, and, to create a new revenue source capable of supporting capital-financing.

The concept of Bus Toll Lanes has been developed by Mr. Joseph Waggoner, Executive Director of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Expressway Authority (THEA) in Tampa, FL.  In order to develop this concept further, there are several policy, programmatic and regulatory questions that require investigation.  This project would attempt to frame the institutional constraints and opportunities for equity sharing.

II.  Objectives/Tasks

This “new” concept proposes to move transit forward by making it a partner in the toll road trade.  The idea is to create bus lanes with transit agencies as an equity holder, or full-owner, of the required highway infrastructure.  The bus lanes would be open to use by all light-duty 2-axle vehicles and would be price managed to assure the desired level of service on the facility.  The “Bus Toll Lanes” (BTL) concept could provide transit agencies access to an inflation sensitive toll revenue source that could be used to pay operating costs, or finance construction of new transit service. The transit agency share of “excess” toll revenue would be based on the equity share provided for construction of the BTL facility in a partnership arrangement.

A public-public (P2) partnership between toll and transit agencies would combine transit and highway funding sources to develop a new facility faster than either agency could do individually.  Assembling pieces of the “funding pie” also adds to the potential “buy-down” of construction costs from sources other than the toll revenue. This could mean a greater portion of toll revenue is available sooner as an excess revenue stream.

This project will frame the institutional constraints and opportunities for equity sharing that currently exist in the highway, transit and toll agency realms and to identify statutory, regulatory, or policy changes that may be required.  It will also lay out the pros and cons of the pursuit of bus toll lanes.  The timing of the project’s completion may allow for any constraints that are identified to be addressed in the upcoming multi-year federal transportation reauthorization.

Task 1:  Interviews with Federal Transportation Officials

The effort would begin with consultation with the FDOT Project Manager to gain more knowledge on the known barriers to implementation of the BTL concept.  Next, interviews with Division Federal Highway Administration, local Metropolitan Planning Organizations and district FDOT federal aid professionals will be held.  These early and local contacts will serve to identify issues that have perhaps been raised in the past, take advantage of the knowledge of the local experts, and identify a roster of USDOT and Washington level officials that will be consulted in this task.

After local consultation high level officials at the Federal Transit Administration, Federal Highway Administration and other USDOT offices will be contacted to gain additional insights into any barriers to or issues with implementation of Bus Toll Lanes and to gauge the practicality of any potential changes to federal law, regulation or practice.

The task will identify a preliminary list of institutional, regulatory and legislative barriers at the federal level to the implementation of Bus Toll Lanes in an equity sharing model. 

Task 2:  Review of Regulations and Statutes

Based partially on the results of Task 1, researchers will review federal regulations and statutes, and Florida statutes to review and document instances that could cause conflicts in an ownership sharing Bus Toll Lane arrangement. At a minimum the following questions will be addressed:

What policy and program changes would be needed to allow federal and state transit funds for to be used in the development of BTL as an equity contribution for the construction of necessary infrastructure? 

What policy and program changes would be needed to allow federal and state transit agencies to incorporate the BTL infrastructure and service into revenue distribution calculations for annual grants to support operations and maintenance (i.e. count BTL as a “fixed guideway” asset for transit service), or how might the added lanes of BTL highway be incorporated into FHWA distribution formula for highway funding?

Discussions and interviews will be held with FDOT financial and policy officials and others.  The review will include FDOT practices and programs that may provide opportunities for or constraints to the financing and operating of BTLs that are jointly owned by transit and toll agencies.    

Task 3: Review of Toll Agency Governance

CUTR will interview financial experts from at least two toll authorities to determine whether there are inherent flaws or issues from a “typical” toll credit with entering into an equity sharing BTL arrangement with a transit agency.  Reviews of trust agreements and enabling legislation of the selected agencies will be undertaken.  Discussions will be held with members of the investment community including municipal finance experts to ascertain that stakeholders’ perspective on the concept.

Task 4: Analysis and Presentation of Findings

The results of Tasks 1 though 3 will be analyzed and summarized in this Task.  The findings of the previous efforts will be presented in a scheduled roundtable session held at CUTR in Tampa, FL. with web-enabled conferencing capability to include participants that are remotely located.  The selected participants will include federal, state, local, and private sector representatives that were interviewed during the conduct of the project.  The roundtable will allow the participants and the researchers the opportunity to share and discuss the study findings and to exchange ideas on methods to overcome identified barriers or more fully exploit existing opportunities for Bus Toll Lanes.

Suggestions, comments and ideas resulting from the forum will be included in the white paper produced in the final task.

Task 5:  Final White Paper Preparation

A final White Paper will be developed in draft form. The paper will describe the Bus Toll Lane equity sharing concept and frame the institutional constraints and opportunities that currently exist in the highway, transit and toll agency realms. It will identify statutory, regulatory, or policy changes that will be required in order to expedite the implementation of BTLs.  The draft will also include other recommendations that would assist agencies in entering into these “Public/ Public” partnerships 

After comments are received from the FDOT Project Manager and from the participants in the forum described in Task 4, the final White Paper will be produced and submitted to FDOT.

Work not included in this scope of service is not to be performed and will not be subject to compensation by the Department.

III. Deliverables

The deliverables associated with this effort will be a final draft white paper on the feasibility of toll and transit agency equity sharing and a final white paper.

Progress Reports   The university will submit quarterly progress reports to the Research Center.   The first report will cover the activity that occurred in the 90 days following the issuance of the Task Work Order. 

Reports should be submitted within 30 days of the end of the reporting period.  Reports are due even if little or no progress has occurred (in which case, the report should explain delays and/or lack of progress).  Progress reports should be sent in MS Word to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.us .

Progress reports must include the following information:

1.      Contract Number, Task Work Order Number, and Title

2.      Work performed during the period being reported

3.      Work to be performed in the following period

4.      Anticipated modifications (i.e., to funding, schedule, or scope).  This section is for reporting/informational purposes, not for officially requesting an amendment.
            Note:  To request an amendment to a contract, the contractor must provide the project manager with the appropriate information (i.e., what is being requested       with justification) in the required format.  If the project manager concurs with the request, he/she shall forward it with his/her approval and commentary, as appropriate, to the Research Center for administrative review and processing (pending available funds, etc.)

5.      A Progress Schedule (figures A, B, and C) updated to reflect activities for the period being reported.

Failure to submit progress reports in a timely manner may result in termination of the work order.

Draft Final Reports   

The draft final report will be submitted to Sandra Bell, sandra.bell@dot.state.fl.usIt should be edited for technical accuracy, grammar, clarity, organization, and format prior to submission to the Department for technical approval.  The Research Center expects contractors to be able to provide well-written, high-quality reports that address the objectives defined by the scope of service.  Draft final reports must be prepared in accordance with the Guidelines for Preparing Draft Final and Final Reports (http://www.dot.state.fl.us/research%2Dcenter/Program_Information/Guidelines%20for%20Preparing%20a%20Final%20Report%2012-07.pdf).  This document provides information on all report requirements, including format requirements, the technical report documentation form, disclaimer language, and so forth.

Final Reports   

Once the draft final report has been approved, the university shall prepare the final report.  The university will deliver a minimum eight (8) copies of the final report in MS Word on CD and one (1) unbound original, no later than the end date of the task work order, to

The Florida Department of Transportation

Research Center, MS 30

605 Suwannee Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399-0450

Each copy will be provided on a CD or DVD (i.e., for a total of eight disks).  If the project manager requires additional copies, such provision must be indicated in the scope. 

The project manager will review the final report to insure that all issues identified for correction in the draft final report have been addressed.

Project Certification

The Sponsored Research office or appropriate authority will submit as a final deliverable a project certification prepared according to university compliance standards. 

Project Kickoff Meeting

A kickoff meeting shall be scheduled to occur before any work begins.  At a minimum, the project manager and the principal investigator will attend.   The Research Center staff must be advised of the meeting and given the option to attend.  Other parties may be invited, as appropriate. The subject of the meeting will be to review and discuss the project’s tasks, schedule, milestones, deliverables, reporting requirements, and deployment plan.

IV.  Project Schedule

V.  Project Budget

Salaries and Fringe                                       53,013.72

Fixed Price Sub Total                                     84,839.02

Indirect Cost (fixed price subtotal x 10%)     5,301.37

Total Fixed Price Amount                             58,315.09

 

Total Lump Sum Amount (Salaries and Benefits)                58,315.09

Expenses (Cost Reimbursable)                                                   1,531.73

Cost Reimbursable (Subtotal)                                                      1,531.73

Indirect Costs (cost reimbursable subtotal x 10%)                      153.18

Total Project Cost                                                                           60,000.00

Notes:      This budget does not reflect any federal participation.  The project team will include faculty, students, and secretarial and other support staff who will work directly on the project and whose costs are reflected in the direct costs of the project as listed above.  Budget requests includes salaries for clerical and administrative staff, postage, telephone calls, office supplies, general purpose software, subscriptions, and/or memberships.

VI.  Travel

The travel associated with this project is in state.  A project initiation meeting with the project manager in Tallahassee will best be accomplished by way of a face to face meeting. No out-of-state travel is approved for this project 

All travel shall be in accordance with Section 112.061, Florida Statutes. FDOT employees may not travel on research contracts.

National Center for Transit Research · at the Center For Urban Transportation Research · University of South Florida · 4202 E. Fowler Ave., CUT100 · Tampa, FL 33620-5375 · (813) 974-3120 · (813) 974-5168 · www.nctr.usf.edu · Comments: webmaster@cutr.eng.usf.edu