Author Topic: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....  (Read 42397 times)

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2021, 02:11:47 PM »
Uh… we don't have the size, density, water table, or tax base to build like LA does. Sure, FDOT seems happy to pour billions into more and wider highways, but at some point the bill comes due on maintaining them, and the sprawl we have doesn't justify the cost without subsidy by other communities. We really can't afford to just build more highways forever.

JTA seems to at least be claiming that using the Skyway infrastructure for anything other than a public transportation system (I'm not entirely sure how the U2C qualifies as that but I digress) triggers federal payback demands, in which case converting it into an elevated pathway won't work.

I'm confused how you say that building path/trail infrastructure will not change behavior, but building new Hart Bridge ramps means "they will come," which is a change in behavior? Not to mention that the ramps have been there for decades and if anything, they took people away from Downtown more than making them come? Maybe it was an error to tear them down before the promised development was a sure thing, but nonetheless the local, state, and federal government have all invested in removing them, so we'll have to lie in that bed.

The reason a lot of the population doesn't get around on a bike is because we poured billions of dollars into building highways instead, and designed a city where most people live pretty far from much of anything. If we have infrastructure that makes it possible to bike places, and then build housing and job centers and shopping destinations around that infrastructure, people will use it. There's nothing inherently special about Amsterdam that made biking big, just that it was what they chose to invest in. We can choose that too.

So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

jaxjags

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2021, 03:06:45 PM »
I still want to see documentation from FTA about the alleged "payback".

I sent a email to Cumber, Carlucci and Hazouri on defunding the U2C from the LOGT, doing Emerald Trail, etc. I asked that they approach Nate Ford for the paper work about paying back FTA and the threat of "future funding denial." I personally think Nate is just blowing smoke.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2021, 07:18:21 PM »
I still want to see documentation from FTA about the alleged "payback".

I sent a email to Cumber, Carlucci and Hazouri on defunding the U2C from the LOGT, doing Emerald Trail, etc. I asked that they approach Nate Ford for the paper work about paying back FTA and the threat of "future funding denial." I personally think Nate is just blowing smoke.

Ford made this claim again at Hazouri's town hall tonight, to someone pointing out that it sounded odd:

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Well not straight from the horse's mouth but I received our third letter from the Federal Transit Administration a couple of weeks ago because they're hearing this discussion, They not only said that we'd have to pay back their remaining use amount because we have always assumed with depreciation on their original investment it would be a lesser amount than the grant, they emphasized in this particular letter that they could actually go back and get the entire amount of the original grant, as it related to the invest their investment in the Skyway so they are part owners of the Skyway and that would be the tire 100 million dollar grant, and they would be on top of that the cost of the demolition and we estimate that it to be about 40 to 50 million. So it's about $150 million discussion.

The thing is, when you look across the country and, you know, we talked about the $2 trillion, from the federal government for infrastructure projects, they can ill afford for communities to take the money, then change their mind or do something different with their investment. So Jacksonville frankly would be held up as an example because you have communities across the country that have taken large federal grants, and for them to do an exception for Jacksonville in the Skyway really open a can of worms across the country with other communities.

Now, funny thing here is, "about a $150 million discussion" isn't what I was told when I visited. They seemed to suggest it'd be closer or more than the proposed U2C conversion cost.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

vicupstate

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2021, 07:40:44 AM »
^^ Does anyone know of an example of a city or county or state having to pay back the Feds for a project that was abandoned?  By project, I mean any type of project, not just transportation related. 
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thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2021, 07:47:58 AM »
I don't but the paying the Feds back thing should not be a thing. There's no reason they can't leave the Skyway up and still not pay $240 million to convert it into a road for driverless cars. All of this is just grasping at straws to get justify spending hundreds of millions on a gimmick.
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jaxjags

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2021, 10:22:32 AM »
+1000. Keep Skyway and start the discussion on street cars to feed it from UF/Springfield, Avondale/Riverside, San Marco/Southside and Eastside.

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2021, 11:07:01 PM »
^^ Does anyone know of an example of a city or county or state having to pay back the Feds for a project that was abandoned?  By project, I mean any type of project, not just transportation related.

Aside from the fact JTA offers a differing account of exactly what they would owe the Feds for abandoning the Skyway without ever showing us the documentation that supports their claims, I have repeatedly said that, politically, after 30 years of a money-draining continuous and disastrous failure that proves this "demonstration project" is not a viable mass transit solution (the point of this whole exercise thus being accomplished in that regard), we would be unlikely to be asked to refund all or any of the Fed's "penalty" dollars.

I also have never seen JTA admit or describe a real concerted conversation with the Feds or an appeal to our Congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle  regarding relief from this supposed "obligation."
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 11:10:58 PM by jaxlongtimer »

jaxoNOLE

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2021, 11:39:10 PM »
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2021, 12:57:41 AM »
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?

It's actually both for the infrastructure and for the vehicles themselves. Interestingly enough, JTA actually has published a letter from the FTA regarding the Skyway vehicles, which you can find here. Why they haven't done the same regarding the infrastructure is a mystery.

Either way, the larger frustration remains that JTA is actively refusing to consider any downtown transportation solution beyond autonomous vehicles (to the point of outright denigrating fixed transit, as if every other city has somehow done this wrong), is using hypothetical capability and particularly hypothetical economic effects to defend their decision, and City Council remains broadly more concerned about passing a gas tax at all than about what we could use it for. The outstanding question seems to be whether an amendment could mandate the remaining $247 million be directed to alternatives or if funding the Emerald Trail was enough and that remainder will get an up-down vote with the rest of the bill.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

jaxoNOLE

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #24 on: May 21, 2021, 09:25:26 AM »
Is it the elevated guideway that we're on the hook for to the feds? I struggle to understand how we can be on the hook for the "remaining useful life" of the system on one hand, while at the same time being told the monorail cars are no longer supported by the manufacturer and can't be maintained. If the technology is obsolete and you can't get parts, how is it still considered to have decades of remaining useful life?

It's actually both for the infrastructure and for the vehicles themselves. Interestingly enough, JTA actually has published a letter from the FTA regarding the Skyway vehicles, which you can find here. Why they haven't done the same regarding the infrastructure is a mystery.

So that's the crux of my question. We are effectively, if not technically, off the hook for the vehicles as long as we replace them with something (buses included). What about the guideway? Can we tear it down and replace it with at grade transit ROW as like kind investment?

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Either way, the larger frustration remains that JTA is actively refusing to consider any downtown transportation solution beyond autonomous vehicles (to the point of outright denigrating fixed transit, as if every other city has somehow done this wrong), is using hypothetical capability and particularly hypothetical economic effects to defend their decision, and City Council remains broadly more concerned about passing a gas tax at all than about what we could use it for. The outstanding question seems to be whether an amendment could mandate the remaining $247 million be directed to alternatives or if funding the Emerald Trail was enough and that remainder will get an up-down vote with the rest of the bill.

I think JTA has enough of the "yes" votes onboard with some version of the U2C that complete defunding is a stretch, but it's still worth a shot. Cumber is probably the only no vote pragmatic enough to attempt to improve a bill she won't vote for, but even her amendments didn't axe the Skyway. I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.

thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #25 on: May 21, 2021, 11:27:50 AM »
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I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.

75% of the Skyway project should be funded with state and federal dollars and not LOGT funds. JTA being given $240 million for the U2C and already having $44 million for Bay Street, is a hell of a lot more than the 25% local funds they should be receiving. They've made out like a bandit if this passes. No pork has been cut from this project.
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marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #26 on: May 21, 2021, 11:46:46 AM »
Here's what I came up with for an amendment:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1syWnDTiLa-fmqYftMyIQ9_6ozLMmKSXE/view?usp=sharing

It would reduce the Skyway Conversion to simply Skyway Rehabilitation, convert the Skyway Fleet purchase line into vehicle overhauls, increase the funding for the JRTC Rail Terminal so that we actually get to build a rail terminal versus just planning to, partly (pretty substantially I think) funds a Phase 1 Commuter Rail project to St. Augustine, and still includes $33 million for transit improvements, which in theory could be enough for an entire new BRT corridor or widespread frequency improvements, whatever they can make work.

It's probably not perfect, but I think it's quite a bit better than blowing $240 million to remove a concrete beam.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

jaxoNOLE

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #27 on: May 21, 2021, 12:28:44 PM »
Quote
I think cutting the more popular (or the least unpopular) component -- neighborhood extensions -- was not the best approach. Flawed as it is, even if nothing changes, I still hope the bill survives.

75% of the Skyway project should be funded with state and federal dollars and not LOGT funds. JTA being given $240 million for the U2C and already having $44 million for Bay Street, is a hell of a lot more than the 25% local funds they should be receiving. They've made out like a bandit if this passes. No pork has been cut from this project.

I agree. It would just be a net loss overall for $700M in legitimate, beneficial projects for the city to die at the altar of a $240M black hole. If we can't change the $240M by next Wednesday, I hope to see 11 councilmembers hold their noses and press the green button. Then we can commence harassing them to change the project list and the "no" voters may be useful allies in redirecting funds after the fact if the issue of the tax is already settled.

Here's what I came up with for an amendment:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1syWnDTiLa-fmqYftMyIQ9_6ozLMmKSXE/view?usp=sharing

It would reduce the Skyway Conversion to simply Skyway Rehabilitation, convert the Skyway Fleet purchase line into vehicle overhauls, increase the funding for the JRTC Rail Terminal so that we actually get to build a rail terminal versus just planning to, partly (pretty substantially I think) funds a Phase 1 Commuter Rail project to St. Augustine, and still includes $33 million for transit improvements, which in theory could be enough for an entire new BRT corridor or widespread frequency improvements, whatever they can make work.

It's probably not perfect, but I think it's quite a bit better than blowing $240 million to remove a concrete beam.

I'll happily share it/support it with my CM (Morgan) with your consent.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #28 on: May 21, 2021, 01:01:12 PM »
Assuming no one has any suggested changes, sure. I'll probably put something together justifying some of the numbers too.
So, to the young people fighting in this movement for change, here is my charge: march in the streets, protest, run for school committee or city council or the state legislature. And win. - Ed Markey

BridgeTroll

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #29 on: May 23, 2021, 07:08:27 AM »
In a boat at sea one of the men began to bore a hole in the bottom of the boat. On being remonstrating with, he answered, "I am only boring under my own seat." "Yes," said his companions, "but when the sea rushes in we shall all be drowned with you."