Approved on a vote of 9 ayes to 2 noes to 0 abstentions, the Fiscal Emergency Service Reduction Plan, amended to reflect: 1) requested staff prepare a monthly report updating the status of the reductions, percentage of reductions as an impact to VTA, level(s) of the organization impacted, and the financial implications of those reductions and 2) requested that the bargaining units are included when determining reductions and that comments and suggestions for efficiencies be forwarded in writing to the Ad Hoc Financial Stability Committee with a formal written response from either staff or the consultant.� Received staff responses to public comments made during the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) comment period for the Fiscal Emergency Service Reduction Plan; Adopted a finding that there is a fiscal emergency, as defined by Public Resources Code (P.R.C.) �21080.32(d)(2), caused by failure of VTA revenues to adequately fund VTA services, programs and facilities; Invoked a Statutory Exemption under CEQA, P.R.C. �21080.32 and CEQA Guidelines Section 15285 (Transit Agency Responses to Revenue Shortfalls) for the purpose of implementing the Fiscal Emergency Service Reduction Plan; Approved the service modifications included in the Fiscal Emergency Service Reduction Plan, which means a combined reduction in bus and light rail services of approximately nine percent; and, Authorized staff to implement the Plan in April 2003.� Board Members Mossar and McLemore opposed.
Staff directed attention to the memorandum addressed to the Board of Directors from Peter M. Cipolla, General Manager, noting VTAs financial crisis and indicating a proposed revised recommendation that the Board of Directors approve the full nine percent service reduction plan for implementation in� April 2003.
Queried if staff had any way to judge what VTAs service levels were in 1998 compared to what they would be with the proposed nine percent service reduction.
Ex-Officio Member Beall took his seat at 6:43 p.m.
Expressed concern regarding the suddenness of staffs proposed recommendation of a full nine percent service reduction to be implemented in April 2003.� Queried if there is a process in place for putting service back on the street.
Expressed concern regarding the disproportionate impact additional service reductions will have in the North County.
Queried what suddenly caused the recommendation to change from a proposed three percent service reduction to be implemented in April 2003 to the full nine percent to be implemented in April 2003.
Queried about the process used in deciding to implement the full nine percent service reduction instead of stopping somewhere in between.
Queried about the overall service reduction.
Queried about the impact the nine percent service reduction would have on the entire system.� Expressed concern about the affect on ridership.
Queried if there has been any thought in staggering the nine percent service reduction in order to monitor what impact the service reduction is having on ridership.
Expressed concern about the full nine percent service reduction and noted that VTA is cutting out the public input process entirely.
Noted that the reductions are following under the area of service where they impact the most people whom can least afford taking alternatives.�
Expressed concern that the light rail system is costing VTA more per rider, per month, than bus and noted VTA is not coming up with a revenue stream sufficient to support the operation of light rail.� Queried why the proposed nine percent service reduction does not show a corresponding level of service reductions across the board.
Angi Dixon, VTA Information Service Representative (ISR), addressed the Board of Directors and noted that the ISRs, bus and light rail drivers are the first contacts to hear comments from VTA riders.� She queried if VTA continues to build the light rail extensions, who is going to drive and maintain the trains?� She noted that the Homeless Pass Program should be eliminated.
Jon Wallingsford, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the proposed service reductions on Line 85.
Kevin Kihilo, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the proposed service reductions and potential fare increase.� He noted that the BART to San Jose should be delayed.
Joseph Iwami, VTA Employee, addressed the Board of Directors and noted his disappointment with the Board of Directors.� He noted that big cuts are not the answer, the answer is making management and the consultants actually work for their salaries.� He noted that services cuts� should be the last option, not the first.
James Wightman, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and inquired about the platform retrofitting on the new low-floor light rail vehicles.
Al Triplett, President of ATU (Amalgamated Transit Union), Local 265, addressed the Board of Directors and noted the Unions disappointment in VTAs decision to call for greater service reductions than anticipated.� He expressed concern regarding layoffs.� Mr. Triplett referred to the article in todays San Jose Mercury News regarding VTAs financial plight that contained information contained in the letter to the Union from Mr. Cipolla that the Union received this morning.� He noted that giving information to the press before it is conveyed to the Union, seems like an odd way to move through the crisis together.� Mr. Triplett noted that the letter stated, Its time for everyone in this organization to step up to the plate and help VTA save as much service for our customers and as many jobs for our employees as possible.� He noted that the Union has appeared before the Board many times and has met with staff on numerous occasions to give suggestions for greater organizational efficiency.
Tom Fink, ATU Business Agent, addressed the Board of Directors and directed attention to the letter addressed to VTA from Mr. Fink containing a discussion of a VTA proposal to expand the responsibilities of the Light Rail Training Department.� Mr. Fink noted that his letter contains a counter-proposal for giving active light rail operators, who are experienced practical trainers, responsibility for designing and executing ongoing training programs.� He noted that this has been done in the past and it works.� If the proposal is put into place, it would not only cut cost, it would help advent a long standing VTA goal of increasing employee ownership.� Mr. Fink asked that the proposal be considered and urged the Board of Directors to examine other areas of VTA where similar organizational efficiencies can be accomplished in order to minimize service cuts and layoffs.
Sheila Edwards, VTA Employee, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that the Eco Pass Program should be tightened up and should be extended to employers in the area.� Ms. Edwards noted that the Regional Transit Connection Discount Card (RTC) Program should also be tightened up and that passes should not be provided to persons who do not live in the Bay Area for visiting purposes only.� Ms. Edwards noted that VTA should offer a better incentive program for persons nearing retirement in order to save jobs.
Joseph Devito, VTA Operator, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that VTAs Administration should be cut before cutting bus service.
Donna Wallach, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that cutting service would devastate a lot of peoples lives.� She suggested that construction should be stopped on the Vasona and Capitol Light Rail Lines.������� Ms. Wallach requested that the Board of Directors do everything possible to make sure that the Country does not go to war.
Eugene Bradley, Santa Clara VTA Riders Union, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the $150,000 of service money that VTA is spending on consultants.� He noted if a nine percent service reduction is implemented, the publics trust would be broken.� Mr. Bradley noted that if the service cuts are approved, the VTA Riders Union would be pushing to replace the entire VTA Board of Directors with elected members.
Ross Signorino, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that VTA should be increasing service, not decreasing service.� He expressed concern for persons who do not have automobiles.
Dan Peterson, VTA Operator, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern for his elderly neighbor and others who will be affected by the service cuts.� He noted that the poor and the working poor are the ones that take the brunt of the hit.
Darlene Wallach, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and queried if the employees at the top level will be affected by the budget cuts.� She requested that the Board stop hurting the people that can least afford it.
Noted that Mr. Cipolla and Suzanne Gifford, General Counsel, refused their salary increases for this year.� Noted that all the other salaries are set by Union bargaining and contracts cannot be broken.
Mike Gorman, VTA Operator, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the service cuts and layoffs.� He noted that VTA should look at early retirement and/or cutting service in increments.
Michael Ludwig, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the service cuts.� He noted that persons who travel by bus are preventing air pollution and reducing traffic jams.
Michael Wilhelm, VTA Light Rail Operator, addressed the Board of Directors and expressed concern regarding the number of VTA supervisors.� He queried if the ACE workers and contracted bus services are being cut.�
Robert Chavez, VTA Operator, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that the nine percent service reduction seems to be an easy fix, but is counter-productive to the principal purpose, which is providing service.� He noted that the areas of management and training should be looked at and expressed concern regarding the number of supervisors.
Zakhary Cribari, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that VTA is encouraging the use of cars.� He noted that VTA is working on more road projects than transit projects.� Mr. Cribari noted in order to gain transit ridership, the buses need to be more rapid.
Bruce Stevens, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and noted that this is the last meeting where the public can make their last appeal to their elected officials to prevent the proposed service reductions.� He referred to the implementation of a 15 percent fare increase and five percent service reduction in July 2002 and noted that VTA took a rather significant jump in reduced ridership and revenues when fares were increased and service was decreased.
Erik Schoennauer, Interested Citizen, addressed the Board of Directors and asked that the Board of Directors keep the BART Project on track.
Requested a financial analysis of light rail service with fifteen-minute headways versus twenty-minute headways.� Also requested information regarding financial impacts of postponing the platform modifications for the low-floor light rail vehicles.
Referred to comments made by Mr. Triplett regarding reading about the service cuts in the San Jose Mercury News and queried if there is a formal strategy used as it relates to working with the bargaining units on financial challenges.