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RTC Commissioners,

Over 35 years of service

Below, you will find your August 2014 RTC Board Update e-News. This electronic newsletter will be distributed monthly the week following your Board meeting. Please contact Michael Moreno or me with any questions you may have. Michael can be reached at (775) 335-1869 or email at mmoreno@rtcwashoe.com.

Lee G. Gibson, AICP, Executive Director
Ph: (775) 348-0400 Fax: (775) 324-3503
E-mail: lgibson@rtcwashoe.com

CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES UPDATED ON RTC PROJECTS

Congressman Mark Amodei reviews plans for the SouthEast Connector at a briefing on August 12th.
Congressman Mark Amodei reviews plans for the SouthEast Connector at a briefing on August 12th.

During the congressional recess, elected representatives and members of their staff took advantage of the opportunity to learn about RTC’s projects. Congressman Mark Amodei of Nevada’s second congressional district reviewed plans for the SouthEast Connector with RTC Commissioners Ron Smith and Neoma Jardon and Executive Director Lee Gibson. The first of two phases of the project was recently completed six months ahead of the original schedule.

Amodei was also briefed on efforts by the RTC to secure much needed funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). The RTC is seeking federal funding for critical upgrades at its Villanova Drive bus facility in Reno; two FTA Small Starts projects: the 4th Street / Prater Way corridor improvements, which includes the RAPID extension between RTC’s transit stations; and the Virginia Street Bus Rapid Transit Extension Project, which will support and enhance connectivity to UNR and along Virginia Street in partnership with the City of Reno, UNR and the Washoe County Health District. These projects will serve to connect people with economic and educational opportunities and improve the region’s transportation infrastructure to meet the current and future transit needs in Washoe County.

Staff members from the office of United States Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid were also briefed on RTC initiatives during August. Senior policy advisor and director of appropriations Brigadier General Robert Herbert met with Lee and RTC staff to discuss our grant submissions to the FTA and toured the SouthEast Connector project. From the Senator’s local office, staff attended the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan open house on August 7th.

For information about the projects for the FTA grant submissions click here.

COORDINATED HUMAN SERVICES PUBLIC TRANSIT PLAN UPDATE

Members of the public provided their feedback on the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan at an open house event on August 7th at the Washoe County Senior Center.
Members of the public provided their feedback on the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan at an open house event on August 7th at the Washoe County Senior Center.

The RTC is updating the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan (CTP). The plan helps identify which services are the biggest priorities for the community and where gaps in service exist. The second open house event at the Washoe County Senior Center, held on August 7th, was well-attended with more than 80 participants, providing members of the community with the chance to give feedback to RTC staff. Some ideas from the public include: additional service to outlying areas, launching a new senior transit service and providing private agencies with wheelchair accessible vehicles.

The CTP enables the RTC to secure federal funding under section 5310 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) Act. It also helps guide how funds are allocated, ensuring the programs that are most important to the community are eligible for federal funding. The RTC Board is calling for proposals from entities that are best able to fulfil the community’s needs and identify services which could be developed for seniors, people with disabilities, veterans and the economically disadvantaged.

Building on our partnership with community service providers, the RTC will develop a comprehensive outreach plan to broaden awareness of programs available to these groups and utilize communication tools that reach these individuals. Many service providers currently assist the RTC in sharing this information with the public, but an improved outreach program is needed to maximize awareness and participation in existing and future programs.

The CTP will be presented to RTC advisory committees and stakeholders in September for further input. The finalized plan will then be presented to the RTC Board in October.

Click here for a video presentation of the CTP plan.

Comments may be submitted to Tina Wu, RTC project manager at twu@rtcwashoe.com or (775) 335-1908.

FREE MOBILITY TRAVEL TRAINING OFFERED

Riders await the RTC RAPID at the Liberty Street stop.
Riders await the RTC RAPID at the Liberty Street station.

In partnership with the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, the RTC provides free mobility travel training. Transit is an affordable, safe and convenient way for seniors to maintain their independence. However, for new riders who have mobility issues, it can sometimes be intimidating – that’s why the RTC provides this training.

Mobility travel training emphasizes safety and instills confidence. Seniors are able to practice using ramps and lifts for loading wheelchairs onto an RTC bus. Instructors are also on-hand to help explain how to read bus schedules, plan trips and answer questions.

Through a long-standing partnership with the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, free mobility travel training is offered by appointment throughout the year. To make an appointment, call (775) 353-3599. Training will also take place at Senior Fest, which is September 2nd from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Reno Town Mall.

WASHOE SENIOR RIDE PROGRAM CONTINUES TO HELP THE COMMUNITY BE MOBILE

The RTC is reminding seniors about a great program to help them maintain their independence and get around the community. The Washoe Senior Ride (WSR) program uses coupons called: “taxi bucks.” The taxi bucks may be purchased from the RTC by mail with a check or money order. They may also be bought at the Washoe County Senior Center at 1155 E. Ninth Street in Reno – this is also where participants must first register.
Washoe Senior Ride Ticket Sample

The coupons are sold in books, which are worth $20 and are sold for $15. This program helps subsidize cab rides for those who meet income requirements and are older than 65, or an RTC ACCESS client of any age and income level.
Click here to learn more about the program.

LADDERS OF OPPORTUNITY GRANT APPLICATION SUBMITTED

The bus maintenance facility located at 2050 Villanova Drive is tightly confined under I-580.
The bus maintenance facility located at 2050 Villanova Drive is tightly confined under I-580.

The RTC submitted an application for federal funding for the Villanova Bus Maintenance Facility Renovation and Expansion Project. The project will help the RTC facility at 2050 Villanova Drive in Reno accommodate the most modern buses and meet the needs of the community. Since transit is shown to support jobs and economic development, the project is eligible for funding under the Federal Transit Administration’s Ladders of Opportunity program.

Constructed in 1983, the Villanova facility is out-of-date. Bus bay doors are too low for the most modern buses, making it impossible for diesel-electric hybrid buses and fully electric buses to fit. Space is very limited at the facility as it is bordered by busy roads on all sides – a portion of the building is also tightly confined under I-580. Some buses are being stored on an unused frontage road, which is surrounded by fencing as a result of the lack of space.

An egress is also difficult for 65-foot RTC RAPID buses. The exit requires these long buses to turn out into often busy traffic.

If the grant application is approved, this will accelerate the timeline to address these issues. Boardroom and office space, which is not under I-580, would be removed to make way for needed maintenance facilities. Additionally, a safer and more efficient exit would be designed. The funding would also provide construction of much needed storage space.

About $9.57 million in federal funding is being requested. There would also be approximately $2.4 million in local matching funds.

Click here to view a video presentation on the project.

The grant application may be viewed by clicking here.

TEAMSTERS AND MV TRANSPORTATION TO CONTINUE NEGOTIATIONS

Teamsters Local 533 and MV Transportation are continuing to work on developing a new contract. The union represents drivers, mechanics and dispatchers for RTC RIDE. They are employed by MV Transportation, which has a contract with the RTC.

The previous contract between the union and MV ended June 30th, however it was extended a month for the parties to continue talking. RTC is hopeful for a positive outcome soon. No disruption in service is anticipated, but RTC advises riders to make backup plans for critical appointments.

SAND HARBOR SERVICE UPDATE

The RTC Board received a review of the bus service that was offered on weekends and holidays linking Reno and Sand Harbor State Park at Lake Tahoe. The federally funded demonstration project was concluded on July 16th, due to an unanticipated amount of wear and tear on the buses utilized for the service. The issues were related to the repetitive grades involved in the trip and the record-breaking heat.

While discontinued sooner than originally planned, the service could be resurrected at the RTC Board’s direction at some point in the future. Among the options recommended by staff is to serve Lake Tahoe via I-80 or Highway 50. While adding travel time, this would serve a larger area of the Tahoe basin. Transfers to other transit providers would enable people to reach both the north and south shore.

RTC could also contract with private charter operators. While charter buses do not have fare boxes, an online reservation system is a possibility.

Finally, the service could resume if the RTC purchased new buses that are better able to handle mountain travel. An update will be presented to the RTC Board at a future date.

Upcoming Meetings/Events

August 21
August 21
September 2
This is Your RTC.