NORTHWEST ARKANSAS REGIONAL MOBILITY AUTHORITY by HC120207125815

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									                   NORTHWEST ARKANSAS REGIONAL MOBILITY AUTHORITY
                           BOARD OF DIRECTORS
                                MEETING

                              MONDAY, JANUARY 12, 2009
                                     1:30 – 3:00 PM
                            NWARPC, SPRINGDALE, ARKANSAS

           “The mission of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Mobility Authority is to provide
              leadership in the implementation of regionally significant highway and transit
        transportation projects and initiatives to meet the present and future mobility needs of the
                                                   region.”

ATTENDEES
  Judge Dave Bisbee, Benton County, Presiding                     PRESENT
  Judge Edwards, Washington County                                PRESENT
  George Butler acted as Proxy for Judge Edwards
  Mayor Frank Anderson, Bella Vista                               PRESENT
  Mayor Bob McCaslin, Bentonville                                 PRESENT
  Mayor Bobbie Griffith, Centerton                                PRESENT
  Alderman Terry Yopp, Farmington                                 ABSENT
  Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Fayetteville                              PRESENT
  Ron Petrie acted as Proxy for Mayor Jordan
  Mayor Wes Hogue, Gentry                                         PRESENT
  Mayor Rob Hulse, Lincoln                                        ABSENT
  Mayor Perry Long, Lowell                                        PRESENT
  Michael Solomon acted as Proxy for Mayor Long
  Mayor Jackie Crabtree, Pea Ridge                                PRESENT
  Mayor Sonny Hudson, Prairie Grove                               PRESENT
  Mayor Steve Womack, Rogers                                      PRESENT
  ML Van Poucke, Siloam Springs                                   PRESENT
  Mayor Doug Sprouse, Springdale                                  PRESENT
  Butch Bartholomew, West Fork                                    ABSENT

    Others attending:
    Todd Butler, Ozark Civil Engineers                    Patsy Christie, Springdale
    Jeff Webb, Garver Engineers                           Scott Van Laningham, NW Council
    Chris Weiser                                          Jeff Hawkins, NWARPC
    Mike Malone, NW Council                               Mike Seither, Razorback Transit
    Phil Pumphrey, Ozark Regional Transit                 Frank McIllwain, Garver Engineers
    Michael Lindsey, Morgan and Keegan                    John McLarty, NWARPC
    Paul Justus, NWARPC                                   Bob Schmidt, Bella Vista
    Jack Williams, Williams & Anderson, PLC               Charles Killian, USI Engineers
    Celia Scott-Silkwood, AICP, NWARPC                    Frank McIllwain, Garver Engineers

    Press: Bill Bowden, AR Democrat-Gazette

1. Call to Order and Introductions

    Chair Bisbee called the meeting to order and introduced the Board Officers – Vice Chair,
    Mayor Doug Sprouse and Secretary/Treasurer, Mayor Sonny Hudson.
    Chair Bisbee introduced Mayor Jackie Crabtree, Pea Ridge, as the newest member of the
    RMA. He also told the Board that Dick Trammel would be sworn in this afternoon as the
    District 3 representative on the Highway Commission.

2. Review of Minutes from December 8, 2008 Meeting of the Board of Directors
   A motion was made by Mayor Hogue and seconded by Mayor Griffith to approve the
   December 8, 2008 Minutes as distributed. Motion Passes.

3. Report on Federal Stimulus Legislation
   Chair Bisbee asked Mike Malone to give an update on the status of the Federal Stimulus
   Legislation. Mr. Malone explained that:
        The stimulus package totals approximately $800B
        Infrastructure project could total as much as $100B
                 Highways likely to get $30-$30B; Transit about $12B; Airports about $5B
                 Arkansas’ share of Federal highway spending could total $400 - $500M
        Priority will be given to “ready-to-build” projects and could be limited to projects
           that could go to contract within 120 or 180 days
        There is some discussion of a time limit of two years for completion of projects
        Arkansas’ Ready-to-Build Highway projects includes:
                 List of 130 projects that could be let to contract within 180 days for a total of
                   $1.1B
                 Nearly $368M of the identified projects are in the 3rd Congressional District
                 Ready-to-build list includes the following projects in Washington and Benton
                   Counties:
                    Bella Vista bypass - $225M
                    I-540 Interchanges short-term improvements - $3M
                    Hwy 412 Siloam Springs - $10M
                    Hwy 59 Bridge at Ballard Creek - $850k
                 Other 3rd Congressional District projects;
                    Hwy 22 in Sebastian and Logan Counties - $60M
                    Hwy 412 in Carroll County - $8M
   Mr. Malone explained that there are several things to take into consideration for the stimulus
   package:
        Total amount of funding to Arkansas
        Whether or not Federal funding contains limitations and what those might be
        Allocation of funding between highway districts – Commissioners may decide to
           give an equal amount of funding to each district
        Turnback to cities and counties
        Capability of contractors to perform work during the permitted time period
        Whether Bella Vista bypass can be finished within two years – if that’s the time
           constraint the Federal government requires

    There was discussion of other scheduling considerations:
        Will there be a second economic stimulus package in a few months?
        Arkansas Legislature convenes this week
        Consideration of the next Federal highway reauthorization bill will begin this spring
                Historically this is the source of the larger Federal transportation earmarks
                This legislation could take a year or more to complete
        Additional severance tax revenues will begin this spring – bringing an estimated
           $57M for infrastructure projects in 2009 and as much as $100M in later years


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    Jack Williams, with Williams Anderson Attorneys, explained that cities, counties, and other
    public agencies are currently unable to sell long-term bonds because the federal funds rate is
    presently so low. An effort is underway to get the legislature to refer a constitutional
    amendment to voters to remove the interest rate limits on bonds issued by government
    agencies.

    Note: The Board of Directors, at the December meeting, approved a resolution calling for
    stimulus funds to be spent on “ready-to-build” projects in Northwest Arkansas. The
    resolution was sent to the appropriate officials on December 23, 2008 and was also included
    in the Board packets.

4. Review and Discussion of Project Development Scenarios
   Chair Bisbee asked Mike Malone to explain the three hypothetical project development
   scenarios that the Board will then discuss, with the end result being a decision as to the
   project(s) it wants to focus on. Mr. Malone explained:
        First column – Complete Entire Projects – This is an approach for building nearly all
           the regional projects that are in the 2030 NWA Regional Transportation Plan. It is a
           comprehensive plan that would cost over $1B and it would create over 30,000 jobs.
        Second column – Strategic Segmentation – This is a scenario that focuses on building
           segments of projects but not entire corridors (except the Bella Vista bypass because it
           only works as a toll project if it is built it in its entirety). This scenario would cost
           more than $500M and it gets projects started.
        Third column – Getting Projects Started – This scenario simply makes down
           payments on the projects to keep them moving but doesn’t really build any
           significant segments.

        Chair Bisbee explained that the RMA has the authority to take projects to the citizens of
        both counties for a vote. He said that he wants the group to recommend a project(s) that
        has the most likelihood of success, both at the polls and for completion. Discussion
        centered on the following:
         The project(s) needs to have the support of voters in both counties.
         What is the most important project in the region? In light of the scenarios presented
            above, the group discussed each one, and selected building the Bella Vista bypass as
            the project most important to the region.
         Local communities should put individual projects aside and support the project that
            best benefits the region as a whole.
         How can the RMA generate revenue to use to supplement the stimulus package?
         The lack of specifics at this time concerning the stimulus package.
         A sales tax of any kind will probably not have a chance to pass in this economic
            climate.
         Voters would not support a sales tax and a project in only one county.
         The RMA has tolling authority, however, AHTD has tolling authority, too. Would
            AHTD toll the Bella Vista bypass?
         A toll road could generate $100 to $130M in construction bonds, which, coupled with
            $80 to $100M from the stimulus package, could get the Bella Vista bypass built.
         Missouri has temporarily moved the $70M reserved for its portion of the Bella Vista
            bypass to other projects in the state. It will move this money permanently if
            Arkansas does not make a decision soon on whether or not it will build the bypass.
         If the Bella Vista bypass is the choice of the Board to pursue at this time, the next
            project it should pursue is the Springdale Northern bypass.


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    Chair Bisbee asked for a motion.
    Mayor Womack made the following motion:
    In order to leverage Federal stimulus funds to complete the Bella Vista bypass in its entirety,
    the RMA Board of Directors encourages AHTD to pursue the Bella Vista bypass as a toll
    project and simultaneously directs development of the Bella Vista bypass as a potential RMA
    toll project.
    Mayor McCaslin provided the second.
    Motion passes, unanimously.

5. Legislative Issues Update
   Chair Bisbee said that Mike Malone had included a summary of the 2009 Transportation
   Legislative Issues in the handouts the Board received today. He asked if there was any
   discussion on the issues. The group agreed to review the issues individually.

6. Other Business
        Set next meeting date – No meeting date was set.
        Web site – NWA RMA web site is www.nwarma.org. Meeting notices and materials
           presented at the meetings will be on the site as well as links to related articles and
           information.

7. Public Comment
    Bob Schmidt, Bella Vista, offered the following comments:
         Concern about the interchange on the Bella Vista bypass, located in the Highlands
           area.
         May save money if the interchange is eliminated.
         Would like the project to be re-visited. What makes the interchange at this location
           necessary?
         The interchange will introduce a lot of extra traffic into the Highlands area and will
           ruin the ambiance of the community of Bella Vista.
         Would like someone to investigate installing cable barriers in the median on I-540.

8. Adjourn
    A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting. Motion passes.




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