Minutes from September 24, 2013-RCTC Toll Lanes

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Open Board of Directors Meeting  

San Bernardino Community College District

 114 S. Del Rosa Drive

 San Bernardino, CA 92408


Present:  Dimitrios Alexiou, Don Averill, Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Tom Brickley, Ann Bryan, Ken Coate, Bill Easley, Fran Inman, Mark Kaenel, Ed Kilgore, Ed Lasak, Temetry Lindsey, John Mirau, Tom Nightingale, Susan Rice, Wendy Strack, Phil Waller, and Ray Wolfe.

Guests:  Sara Benoit, Ernie Jimenez, Pam Langford, John Longville and Pete Van Helden  

Announcements: 1) The Inland Valley Development Agency invites the Inland Action membership to a ribbon cutting ceremony commemorating the opening of the newly constructed Mountain View Bridge.  The event will be at noon on Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at Central & Mountain View Ave., San Bernardino.  Please contact Cathie Webber at 909-382-4100 or email her at cweber@sbdairport.com to Rsvp or for more information. 

M/S/P: Minutes from September 17, 2013 

Mark Kaenel introduced Anne Mayer, Executive Director, Riverside County Transportation Commission. 

Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) have a long history and a great relationship.  The two agencies have shared staff and programs working toward the betterment of the Inland Empire. 

In 2005 Riverside began discussing transportation options and congestion relief on both the State Highway 91 and the I-215 in Riverside County, as these routes experienced severe traffic congestion.  Riverside County decided to take a close look at toll road options in part as they live in close proximity with the 91 Express Lanes, operated by the Orange County Transportation Authority.  The 91 Express lanes are the most successful toll lanes in the country both from a financial and traffic congestion reduction basis.  Riverside has chosen to build, operate and control their tolling.  Ms. Mayer stated that toll lanes can be successful but are not a “golden goose” or “fix all”.  In Riverside, all excess toll revenue must be reinvested in the corridor for mobility options. 

In order to fully understand the situation they hired three separate consulting firms to research the financing, engineering and legal aspects of toll lanes.  These studies were an important investment and process that were critical in many aspects but was crucial in educating the board.  The consulting firms’ research confirmed that options such as sales taxes and development fees would not cover the costs for transportation infrastructure needed on the 91 and 215.  The reports sighted that user fees are the only sufficient source of income and must be part of the solution.  Although costly, early consultant work needs to be performed to have a feasible project.   

Riverside decided to create tolling in order to deliver a transportation system.  In addition to the toll lanes their system will provide for a commuter bus line that will travel on the express lanes adding yet another option for commuters.  This element was particularly important for the socio economic concerns of toll lanes equating to “Lexus Lanes” thought of as for the privileged.  The reality is and should be stressed that people have options, use it or not, carpool, or the additional option of the Commuter bus.        

Congestion hurts everyone.  Business runs better when congested corridors open up for shipments and customers.  Toll lanes give users more options for their commute.  Residents can decide to use the toll lanes, the commuter bus or general purpose lanes.   

A Q & A period followed. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:30 a.m.