TRANSPORTATION, ENERGY & UTILITIES SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
April 3, 2017
City Council Chamber
Ground Floor, City Hall
Immediately following the 2:00 Committee meeting.
Attendance: Council Members: Al Ferraro (Chair), Doyle Carter (Vice Chair), Greg Anderson, Anna Lopez Brosche, John Crescimbeni, Reggie Gaffney; Council Member Reggie Brown was excused; Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston; Kim Taylor, Council Auditor’s Office; Jordan Elsbury, Administration; John Jackson, Council Research Division; Legislative Assistant Samantha Lane.
The Chairman called the special committee meeting to order at 2:36 P.M.
The focus of the Special Meeting was a presentation by JTA on Capital Road Projects.
Jessica Shepler, Director of Government Affairs, JTA, provided a brief overview of JTA’s history.
In 1955, the Florida Legislature created the Jacksonville Expressway Authority whose mission was build the City’s expressway system, refinance and issue bonds, purchase land and to build roads and bridges. The Authority’s earliest projects included Interstate 95, Interstate I-10, the Arlington Expressway, the Fuller Warren Bridge, the Mathews Bridge and Hart Bridge. In 1971, the Authority acquired the Jacksonville Coach Company and became the Jacksonville Transportation Authority.
In 1988, in a referendum, the County’s citizens voted to replace tolls on its bridges with a ½ cent sales tax.
In 2000, the Jacksonville Transportation Authority partnered with the City in the Better Jacksonville Plan initiative. A portion of the ½ cent sales tax would fund BJP road and bridge building (Heckscher Drive, Argyle Forest Blvd, Atlantic Blvd, Dunns Creek, Broward River and Beach Blvd Bridges.) The local option gas tax was subsequently extended.
Ms. Shepler introduced Carter Rohan, JTA Vice President for Construction & Capital Programs. Mr. Rohan explained a host of JTA local gas tax projects. He was assisted by Richard Pereira, Program Administrator, who explained some of the components of the Roadway Program. Mr. Rohan also cited his administrative team and their respective educational and professional backgrounds.
In his Powerpoint presentation, Mr. Rohan described, in detail, the scope and status of a number of JTA Mobility Works Projects. The projects included: Old St. Augustine Road/Greenland Road Intersection; Kernan Boulevard (Atlantic Blvd to McCormick Rd); Paramore Road Extension (to Youngerman); Girvin Road (Atlantic Blvd to Wonderwood Dr); Blanding Boulevard Intersections (Collins Road/103rd Street/Cedar Hills Boulevard); Soutel Transit Hub; Alta Drive (I-295 SB Exit to Burkit Lane) Collins Road (Old Middleburg to Rampart Rd); San Pablo Road (Beach Blvd to Atlantic Blvd); McDuff & 5th Street – Phase III (Huron Street to Melson Ave); Collins Road (Blanding Blvd to Pine Verde Lane); Southside Blvd/Atlantic Blvd Intersection – Design only; Tinseltown Intersection (Southside Blvd at Touchton Road/Hogan Road/Gate Parkway – Design only.
He explained the scope and status of each roadway project, noting that “construction start” designation meant the time when a contract is completed and not when shovels are actually in the ground).
Council Member Reggie Gaffney inquired about the process of prioritizing the capital road projects. Who prioritizes the projects? Mr. Rohan explained the process. Assistant General Counsel Paige Johnston explained that the Interlocal Agreement between the City and JTA stipulated that JTA would work on road projects that were separate from Better Jacksonville Plan road projects in exchange for the local gas tax increase; the funds from the local gas tax increase were to fund 13 JTA road projects.
The Chair, Council Member Al Ferraro, expressed his frustration with JTA regarding the status of the Alta Road construction project. He indicated that on numerous occasions, various JTA officials had provided him with conflicting information on the project’s status and projected completion dates. The Council Member had grave concerns about the process (eminent domain) that JTA has for taking residents’ homes, characterizing the process as “horrible.”
Jessica Shepler recounted previous meetings that she had had with the Council Member that addressed his concerns and issues. She made the commitment that the JTA administrators and staff would continue to work with the Council Member to resolve the issues that he raises.
There being no further business, the Special Meeting was adjourned at 3:38 P.M.
John J. Jackson, Council Research Division (904) 630-1729
Posted: 3:00 P.M.