Author Topic: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....  (Read 130018 times)

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #315 on: May 16, 2023, 09:51:05 AM »
Just scrolling through it ...
Maybe they saved money on photography - on pages 8-9 is a two-page spread with a picture of a Flyer bus and a Skyway vehicle on the Acosta Bridge with ... wait for it ... the beautiful orange roof of the Jacksonville Landing in the background.

Page 20, Strategy 1.01 - is it even legal in the New Florida?
Quote
1.01 APTA Racial Equity Commitment Program
Participate in the Pilot Racial Equity Commitment Program to advance diversity, inclusion, and equity by implementing the principles recommended by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to initiate a comprehensive racial equity action plan. This strategy addresses APTA’s first principle of equity by reconfirming the JTA’s commitment to advancing racial equity. The remaining four principles are addressed as tactics.

Page 24 - interesting ...
Strategy 1.06 Employment and Support Services
Tactic 10.06.01 Workforce Housing
Quote
Develop affordable housing options for operators as a way to attract and retain talent. JTA would provide 20 units of subsidized workforce
housing. Program can be implemented initially as a housing subsidy but over the long-run JTA may have the opportunity to develop housing as
part of future TOD.

I will take a deeper dive later on.

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #316 on: May 16, 2023, 10:31:19 AM »
Please do.. I'm not super knowledgable on how transit agencies work, but there was enough here that made me go "what?" several times.

Ken_FSU

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #317 on: May 16, 2023, 10:59:50 AM »
Bad news/good news.

The Bad news:

The newest PE study into the possibility of rail won't be completed until end of FY 2027.

The Good news:

JTA may have a virtual avatar by 2025 to hold us over.



Pretty wild when you look at the proposed spend outlay.

HUGE majority of five-year budget going into the "innovation" bucket, even though we can't even figure out how to keep the Main Street Bridge from breaking every time we open it.



Bonus points for no Skyway expansion into Brooklyn.

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #318 on: May 16, 2023, 11:51:04 AM »
Not to be a doomer about this but like what in the actual (insert word of choice here) is going on at JTA? If this was any private business, I'd just straight up say this is money laundering. There are so many 6-8 figure budget items that will just literally get wasted and never seen.

Here's some:

Teamworks
- 1.01.01: Undertake Annual Assessment $100,000
- 1.02.03: Human Capital Management Platform $882,000
- 1.06.01: Workforce Housing $2,400,000

Customerworks
-  4.01.01: Unified Mobile App (UMA) $10,800,000
- 4.03.01: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning for
Customer Service $340,000
- 4.03.02: Avatar JTA Brand Ambassador $120,000 (as mentioned)
- 4.03.03: Wayfinding Strategic Plan and Technology $1,200,000
- 4.05.01: Stand-up a TDM Department within JTA $1,000,000
- 4.05.02: Behavioral Science-based Incentives $200,000
- 4.05.05: Mobility Wallet Subsidy $500,000
- 4.05.06: Travel Training and Customer Education $200,000

Regionalworks
- 5.04.01: Mobility Hub Visioning Plan $500,000
- 5.05.01: Regional Satellite Facilities $1,000,000 (for what??)
- 5.05.02: Modernize Myrtle Ave. Operations Campus $12,000,000
- 5.07.02: Establish Data Interoperability Standards $500,000
- 5.07.04: Regional Transportation Governance and Coordination Assessment $500,000

Innovationworks
- 6.01.01: Water Management $950,099 (water?)
- 6.01.02: High Efficiency Facility Upgrades $1,188,671
- 6.02.05: Long-Range Funding Strategy $100,000
- 6.03.01: Expand AV Shuttle Pilots throughout the Region $6,000,000 (lol)
- 6.04.01: Corridor Planning $800,000 (already done)
- 6.06.01: Advocacy Effort to Drive Changes in State and Federal Laws, Rules and Policy $500,000
- 6.06.02: New Scorecard for Transportation Funding $500,000

Communityworks
- 7.02.01: Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) $800,000
- 7.02.02: Transit-Oriented Development Leasing $500,000
- 7.02.03: Joint Development Initiative $500,000 (all three will be completely wasted)
- 7.03.01: Alternative Fueling P3 $800,000
- 7.03.02: Support Expansion of Broadband $500,000
- 7.06.01: Commission Art for JTA Assets $250,000 (lol)
- 7.06.02: Employee Art Program $250,000 (lol^2)
- 7.06.03: Artist in Residence Program $250,000 (lol^3)

I felt like I was being nice too. WTF is this. Straight up, someone connected enough needs to do something. JTA needs to be absolutely embarrassed by a large public voice. I'm waiting for the day.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #319 on: May 16, 2023, 03:13:06 PM »
This is probably better suited for the specific thread on MOVE 2027 that’s been around for a while now:

https://www.metrojacksonville.com/forum/index.php/topic,37363.0.html

I’m not sure about the cost of the plan, but it was developed by a number of consultants and led by InfraStrategies.

I’ll talk about some of those broken-down projects later, but overall the real problem here is that JTA’s current project outlook represents perhaps one of the largest missed opportunities in the history of American transportation: the federal infrastructure bill only lasts for five years, during none of which JTA has any transit capital projects planned aside from the U2C, which they appear to be seeking no additional federal funding from in that time.

Despite knowing that the BIL would be a thing for over a year and a half now, they are outright avoiding pretty much any chance of being in line for that funding before the funding goes away, with no clear path towards another bill in the future. Between rail funding and transit funding, there is over $100b in federal money out there, but JTA has essentially taken the $12.5 million it received for the U2C, plus some ferry funding, and gone home because they have no serious plans outside of that. No further BRT expansion, no light rail, no commuter rail (besides what sounds like some early work towards a PD&E study in four years with no funding to go beyond that), no intercity rail.

The real answer is, unfortunately, that Jacksonville’s political leadership has to actually decide to take an active role in transportation planning and push for action beyond what JTA leadership is interested in. Orlando got SunRail and Brightline because they spent decades fighting at the state and federal level to make that happen, and formed the local structures (like the CFCRC’s interlocal agreement) to enforce it. Jacksonville is never going to get anywhere like that if we keep letting JTA and FDOT drive the bus on all transportation policy for their own benefit. The city has to get its crap together, that’s really all it is.
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

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #320 on: May 16, 2023, 04:52:30 PM »
The North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (NFTPO) is doing preliminary work for the next (2050) Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) and will begin public outreach this summer. Typically, they take the JTA and FDOT plans as "givens" - but there is no reason they "have" to. This may be a way to introduce some sanity into transportation planning. There's nothing on the NFTPO website about it, yet, but keep watching, and maybe sign up for their newsletter which should announce public activities.  Besides public meetings, there will be a "Steering Committee" that I am sure some people here could join.

The importance of the LRTP is that, unless a project is included, federal transportation dollars cannot be spent on it.

https://northfloridatpo.com/

jaxlongtimer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #321 on: May 16, 2023, 11:27:15 PM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

Charles Hunter

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #322 on: May 16, 2023, 11:39:24 PM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

Well, she can change out 3 of the 7, the Gov. has 3 appointments, plus the FDOT District Secretary (so, the Gov. has 4 votes).

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #323 on: May 17, 2023, 09:21:23 AM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

I spoke to the new head of the U2C program. He's a nice guy.. but lacked some background on the whole thing of course being new to it. He did tell me that the U2C "is 100% happening" and there is basically no way to stop the Bay St conversion at this point. I did ask, how they will determine weather to do the skyway conversion and the later phases, and there really wasn't a metric of any kind.. just a funding question. Which is concerning imo..

The big elephant in the room is the supplier. They have to be US-based, and there are no US-based companies anymore. The only other markets that produce EV's are Germany & Eastern China.. which means just Germany for our case. That's a limited pool, and a tough ask to both the federal govt, and for a company to expand to the US from Germany. I guess they are coming to the end of the timeline for that waiver process, and if that is denied.. well this entire program could be shut down. I do feel like they will likely be granted that waiver though..



marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #324 on: May 17, 2023, 10:38:01 AM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

I spoke to the new head of the U2C program. He's a nice guy.. but lacked some background on the whole thing of course being new to it. He did tell me that the U2C "is 100% happening" and there is basically no way to stop the Bay St conversion at this point. I did ask, how they will determine weather to do the skyway conversion and the later phases, and there really wasn't a metric of any kind.. just a funding question. Which is concerning imo..

The big elephant in the room is the supplier. They have to be US-based, and there are no US-based companies anymore. The only other markets that produce EV's are Germany & Eastern China.. which means just Germany for our case. That's a limited pool, and a tough ask to both the federal govt, and for a company to expand to the US from Germany. I guess they are coming to the end of the timeline for that waiver process, and if that is denied.. well this entire program could be shut down. I do feel like they will likely be granted that waiver though..

New head? Is he replacing Bernard Schmidt or Angie Williams?

I do think he’s right that Bay Street is locked in at this point. But City Council could decide tomorrow (or July 1st) to revise the Jobs for Jax project list and move the $250m to other projects for JTA to implement, just like they did with the Emerald Trail.

However, I do wonder, if the FTA were to deny the waiver, would they then allow the AV element to be abandoned or replaced with more of a BRT element? Or would they withdraw the grant entirely if it turned out the project wasn’t feasible?

And another thing, I think it’d be a really good idea for some of the folks here with a lot of experience or interest in transportation here to prepare some kind of outreach from a transportation policy standpoint that might be useful for the administration. With how much Deegan talked about the federal grant money we’d been leaving on the table and the infrastructure bill being such a limited opportunity I think it’d be helpful to provide some context.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 10:42:55 AM by marcuscnelson »
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

thelakelander

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #325 on: May 17, 2023, 11:06:25 AM »
I don't even consider Bay Street to be much of anything, except a seldom used, but very expensive AV demonstration project that we're calling public transit. We're essentially running AVs (with a human driver) on an existing street. From the transit side of things, you can already do this and other places like Gainesville and Lake Nona have already done or continue to do it. We're just going to spend millions on some technology toys that that other demonstration projects have not. However, for the rider going to the stadium, they are still jumping on a plastic minivan that moves slower than the scooters already operating on downtown's streets. From a true public transit perspective, talk to me when we're ready to close and tear up the Skyway.
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Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #326 on: May 17, 2023, 12:28:00 PM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

I spoke to the new head of the U2C program. He's a nice guy.. but lacked some background on the whole thing of course being new to it. He did tell me that the U2C "is 100% happening" and there is basically no way to stop the Bay St conversion at this point. I did ask, how they will determine weather to do the skyway conversion and the later phases, and there really wasn't a metric of any kind.. just a funding question. Which is concerning imo..

The big elephant in the room is the supplier. They have to be US-based, and there are no US-based companies anymore. The only other markets that produce EV's are Germany & Eastern China.. which means just Germany for our case. That's a limited pool, and a tough ask to both the federal govt, and for a company to expand to the US from Germany. I guess they are coming to the end of the timeline for that waiver process, and if that is denied.. well this entire program could be shut down. I do feel like they will likely be granted that waiver though..

New head? Is he replacing Bernard Schmidt or Angie Williams?

I do think he’s right that Bay Street is locked in at this point. But City Council could decide tomorrow (or July 1st) to revise the Jobs for Jax project list and move the $250m to other projects for JTA to implement, just like they did with the Emerald Trail.

However, I do wonder, if the FTA were to deny the waiver, would they then allow the AV element to be abandoned or replaced with more of a BRT element? Or would they withdraw the grant entirely if it turned out the project wasn’t feasible?

And another thing, I think it’d be a really good idea for some of the folks here with a lot of experience or interest in transportation here to prepare some kind of outreach from a transportation policy standpoint that might be useful for the administration. With how much Deegan talked about the federal grant money we’d been leaving on the table and the infrastructure bill being such a limited opportunity I think it’d be helpful to provide some context.

I didn't ask who exactly he was replacing, but his name was Javier. (Hope I spelled that right). The alternative option is on their website, it is basically a Ford van that they would convert to a bus. That's the last option if none of the EU options work.

Agreed on the Deegan point! Hopefully that changes... the federal govt is more aligned than ever to pour $$ into transit.

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #327 on: May 17, 2023, 12:35:31 PM »
https://u2c.jtafla.com/

Goto Vehicle Spec - "EV Star"

From my understanding of what he mentioned to me, this is it.

Jax_Developer

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #328 on: May 17, 2023, 12:43:22 PM »
Hoping Deegan takes on U2C early in her administration and frees up $400 million immediately and millions more inevitably in the future for some worthwhile infrastructure projects, not this boondoggle.  She can change out the JTA board if they don't play along.  Remember what Curry did to his boards when he became mayor?

I spoke to the new head of the U2C program. He's a nice guy.. but lacked some background on the whole thing of course being new to it. He did tell me that the U2C "is 100% happening" and there is basically no way to stop the Bay St conversion at this point. I did ask, how they will determine weather to do the skyway conversion and the later phases, and there really wasn't a metric of any kind.. just a funding question. Which is concerning imo..

The big elephant in the room is the supplier. They have to be US-based, and there are no US-based companies anymore. The only other markets that produce EV's are Germany & Eastern China.. which means just Germany for our case. That's a limited pool, and a tough ask to both the federal govt, and for a company to expand to the US from Germany. I guess they are coming to the end of the timeline for that waiver process, and if that is denied.. well this entire program could be shut down. I do feel like they will likely be granted that waiver though..

And another thing, I think it’d be a really good idea for some of the folks here with a lot of experience or interest in transportation here to prepare some kind of outreach from a transportation policy standpoint that might be useful for the administration. With how much Deegan talked about the federal grant money we’d been leaving on the table and the infrastructure bill being such a limited opportunity I think it’d be helpful to provide some context.

Last reply sorry lol. I mentioned to them how the U2C does not meet federal TOD guidelines for TIFIA grants & similar. I do genuinely think they were unaware of this. There really should be some type of community response or document made imo. I'd be for helping with parts of it.

marcuscnelson

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Re: Is U2C serious? Help me make it make sense....
« Reply #329 on: May 31, 2023, 07:31:16 PM »
Spent today at JTA's National Autonomous Vehicle Day event. You can see a live stream of much of the day's events here.

Unsurprisingly, they are incredibly confident about what they are building. Nat Ford was unable to attend due to being in Spain, but Project Manager Angie Williams says that they will be running autonomous shuttles on Bay Street by June of 2025. Specifically June. They are apparently also soon unveiling a new domestically manufactured shuttle that it appears is intended to be ready in time for that opening date. They would not specify which manufacturer.

I took a moment to ask, right about here, about what's being done to ensure that we are not going to repeat the previous history of the Skyway in terms of ending up stuck with somewhat of a dead-end technology because of an initial excitement about its promise. You can see their response for yourself.

I found what I saw today similar to what I saw at that same facility two years ago: a lot of potentially promising experiments and elements and very excited people, but a lot of outstanding questions as to not only whether this technology is ready for revenue passenger service but also why it is Jacksonville's responsibility to be the first to attempt to spend substantial public funds to try and find out. There were still plenty of bugs with the vehicles they showed off today, with software issues causing display problems on the new Holon shuttle and the EV Star van's tablet having to reboot, which resulted in a long wait and a rebuke by JTA staff at my mention to an NJ Transit employee of the cost escalations over the last two years on the Bay Street corridor alone (from $44 million in 2021 to $50 million in 2022 and now $57 million in 2023). JTA doesn't appear to be dissuaded by any of the issues they've previously encountered. I guess we'll get to see the outcome of that.
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