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23 a P P E N D I x a Long-Range Planning, Baltimore Metropolitan CouncilâFreight Movement Task Force Background The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) formed the Freight Movement Task Force (FMTF) approximately 10 years ago. The move was prompted by a need to involve a more focused stakeholder group in advising the metropolitan plan- ning organization (MPO) on effects of freight projects in the Baltimore region. The move was also driven by federal regula- tions included in the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transporta- tion Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) from 2005 requiring MPOs to con- sider freight interests in the planning process. The FMTF is a subcommittee of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB), the official name for the MPO in the Baltimore area. Together, the BRTB and the MPO technical committee designated the formation of the FMTF, and planning staff coordinate with local jurisdictions, carriers, and shippers who comprise the task force. The technical committee consists of one representative from each member jurisdiction or agency of the BRTB. The committee is responsible for review- ing and evaluating all transportation plans and programs for the BRTB. The list of FMTF participants and associated freight outreach in the region is constantly evolving based on support from MPO leadership and state support of freight planning. The FMTF has enjoyed the advantage of retaining a core group of participants who have been involved for many years, including the committee chair, from Norfolk Southern Rail- road, who has been in the position for 6 to 7 years. The BRTB staff is interested in identifying additional public- and private- sector champions for the committee as well as expanding the committeeâs role in freight stakeholder engagement through- out the planning process. Stakeholder Engagement Activities There have been substantial changes in the BMC board in recent months that have provided additional motivation for integrating freight in the planning process. The BRTB strives to best inform board members about the opportunities for freight stakeholder engagement and utilization of the FMTF. One recent development of interaction between the BRTB and FMTF includes designation of a BRTB board member to serve on the freight committee. Currently, all public inter- action with the freight stakeholder community is channeled through the FMTF and a majority of information sharing takes place during bimonthly FMTF meetings. Although the FMTF have been involved in vetting freight impacts of region- ally significant projects (such as toll lanes on I-95) and par- ticipating in freight-oriented projects (such as truck or rail studies), the FMTF has not been fully engaged in the long- range planning (LRP) process at the MPO until recently. Freight stakeholder involvement in the LRP process is expected to continue to increase and evolve. One recent example includes the allocation of small amounts of funding ($2,500â$5,000) to each of the local jurisdictions in the MPO for freight-specific projects or studies. This funding will allow additional support to staff for freight planning on the local level or to allow staff members more robust involvement in regional freight initiatives. Historically, there has been a consistent representation of stakeholders involved in the FMTF including the Class I freight railroads (both Norfolk Southern and CSX Transpor- tation), key regional shippers (including McCormick Spices), the Maryland Motor Truck Association (MMTA), and repre- sentatives from the local jurisdictions. The railroads origi- nally became involved through the development of rail access plans during the past decade and have remained consistently engaged. Other stakeholdersâ involvement has centered on providing insight and feedback to originâdestination (O-D) surveys, routing, and measuring volumes of truck traffic on highway facilities for specific studies. According to Louis Case Study Summaries
24 Campion of MMTA, the engagement generally works best when private-sector participants are able to respond to prod- ucts that already have been developed (such as a routing plan or O-D survey results), rather than work from a âclean slate.â The MPO currently is working on developing a regional freight analysis that will help substantiate the freight needs in the MPO area for the near and long term. Feedback from Stakeholders For the FMTF, the bimonthly meetings provide the most effective forum for feedback to the MPO on planning issues. Most meetings consist of presentations on key freight-related issues or initiatives in the MPO area. The opportunity for comments is afforded to meeting attendees on the projects and programs and follow-up arranged by MPO staff as needed. Announcements are made for upcoming public meetings, which stakeholders may wish to attend to provide additional feedback. The LRP process includes project deliv- erables e-mailed to FMTF members and comments collected. In a recent statewide planning effort, the Maryland Statewide Freight Plan, the FMTF was involved in organizing stake- holder response, which included helping to identify members to serve on the advisory task force where they were expected to provide insight on evaluation criteria, visioning, and proj- ect identification. For other regional or statewide projects that required insight or data from stakeholders, this informa- tion has been provided through one-on-one interviews con- ducted by consultants or the BMC staff themselves. For certain projects, more direct stakeholder involvement is required. For example, the ongoing Port of Baltimore Rail Access Study required outreach to the railroads and shippers and a substantial data collection effort. Challenges obtaining data from stakeholders in a timely fashion have historically included data format, propriety nature of the data, and/or difficulty in finding time to provide the data. Decision Points The goal of BMC is to engage the broader public (including the freight community) very early in the process of developing long-range plans. Box A.1 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. Often times, LRP documents are simply updated and there is not a lot of new information provided (evaluation methodologies and funding assumptions remain similar to previous iterations of the plan). Initial engagement of the freight community generally takes the form of public meeting notices provided to FMTF members (as well as other subcommittees under BRTB). There appears to be little understanding of the overall planning process among freight stakeholders, especially among the private sector, which may indicate a lack of awareness of the option for involvement early in the process. Although there is no current role for freight stakeholders in developing the scope of the LRP, they are involved in LRP visioning exercises (LRP 2). BMC has insti- tuted a guest speaker series to provide additional insight on regional issues to the FMTF to help shape the regional vision. There is interest from stakeholders in getting more involved in the LRP process and providing feedback at key decision points but the involvement would require careful management to remain cognizant of time constraints and other priorities. This recent expansion of the LRP process for freight stakeholders in Baltimoreâinput into performance measures (LRP 3)âhas attracted additional input from FMTF members (especially the public-sector representatives). There was some discussion of performance measures during the development of the state- wide freight plan with private-sector participants on the advi- sory committee. At later stages in the planning process (LRP 4), both public- and private-sector freight stakeholders are used for identifying bottlenecks and priority freight corridors. From the perspec- tive of several stakeholders, vetting this list is the most impor- tant part of the process. This information is largely provided to BMC from the local jurisdictions through their own out- reach efforts; this is a different process from most MPOs. Gen- erally, the MPOs inform the local jurisdictions of their issues, instead of being provided a list of issues for aggregating at the regional level. Beyond this phase, according to the private- sector participant interviewed for this case, there is not a lot of value to approve financial assumptions until specific projects are identified; however, there is a strong interest in scenario planning and reviewing draft plans (LRP 6 and 7). There is interest from the freight stakeholder community in being involved in future LRP efforts, but with focused engagement during the later stages in the planning process. Although there currently is no separate category for specific freight projects within the transportation improvement pro- gram (TIP), there are points during the development of the LRP process to help highlight freight-beneficial projects, such as the development of project priorities. In the LRPâs project ranking system, there is a metric that helps promote freight-beneficial Box A.1. Long-Range Planning, Baltimore Metropolitan CouncilâFreight-Movement Task Force Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRP 3: Evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRP 6: Strategies LRp 7: plan Scenarios
25 projects (generally based on proportion of trucks on a particular highway facility). When the draft LRP is developed, there is a section for freight that highlights the role of freight transporta- tion in the region; this section is largely based on feedback from freight stakeholders during the LRP process. Beyond the LRP process, there is little existing role for the FMTF or freight stakeholders. Corridor planning efforts at the MPO have not identified a specific role for the FMTF, although in next yearâs MPO work plan there may be funding available to study key freight corridors. For project programming, there has been some attention to including regionally significant projects in the state TIP (often favoring larger-scale freight- beneficial projects) that would benefit from feedback from the FMTF, although there is no definite plan to do so. Although there is little freight stakeholder interaction in the Baltimore region during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, the MPO does offer its perspective as part of the inter- agency review process for NEPA, which may potentially take earlier freight outreach discussions into account. In the future, there may be an expansion of the FMTF role to help the MPO vet the project priority list, ranking more beneficial projects for freight movement. The MPO also is interested in exploring the discussion of project financing with the FMTF, especially where there is a strong federal role or potential for expediting the projects due to broad financial support. Long-Range Planning and Project Programming, Mid-america Regional Council (MaRC)/SmartPortâRegional Freight Outlook Background The Regional Freight Outlook, developed by the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) and SmartPort (an economic development group based in Kansas City, Missouri) with sup- port from a consulting firm in 2009, is a fresh look at and expansion of a previous freight planning effort in the Kansas City region. The studyâs goals were multifaceted and largely dictated by the interests of SmartPort. First, the study intended to provide insight into the regionâs freight flows and highlight the importance of freight to the region. Second, the study compared Kansas City to other regions around the country, with regard to freight traffic flows and advantages of the Kan- sas City region. Finally, there was an interest in identifying how industry investment and growth could influence projects in the long-range plan and TIP for the MPO. The freight study was initiated in part due to (1) private-sector participants in SmartPort who were interested in learning more about overall freight flows in the Kansas City region in pursuit of a customs clearance center from Mexico and (2) a need to determine how much Mexican freight may be available for preclearance. During the course of the study other freight issues in the region arose, including a substantial expansion of a major rail yard, explored in the Regional Freight Outlook. Stakeholder Engagement Activities During the development of the Regional Freight Outlook, the private-sector freight community was not engaged despite the fact that SmartPort had played such a large role in initi- ating the project. According to interviews with at least two stakeholders, this was due to many stakeholders lacking under- standing about the elements of the planning process, a prelimi- narily unclear definition of roles and responsibilities, and a lack of focus on how the project or study would affect individual businesses. The study used an existing freight advisory group through MARC as well as individual contacts through Smart- Port. The SmartPort director acted as the conduit for much of the freight outreach on the project, identifying and soliciting feedback from key stakeholders at appropriate times. Through this liaison, the project team was able to communicate effec- tively with the MPO and private businesses and maintain relationships with important participants in the process. During the course of the study, the freight stakeholder com- munity was split into different groups to explore issues related to each, shippers, carriers, and others. An extensive survey out- reach program was instituted for the study; the program solic- ited feedback from members in each group. Commodity flow data were purchased for the study, and the stakeholders pro- vided validation of the data. As a result, deficiencies were iden- tified in the interregional and short-haul commodity flows, and a follow-up is planned to the Regional Freight Outlook that will study these issues and build on the findings of the 2009 document. During the study, there also was engagement of the local jurisdictions and the Kansas and Missouri DOTs. The DOTs played a key role in helping to validate data and providing insight into future transportation improvement programs in Kansas and Missouri. Feedback from Stakeholders The most important roles for stakeholders in the study were validating data, identifying needs and bottlenecks, and reviewing the draft document. For some participants, review- ing the draft document was sufficient for their needs to feel involved in the process. Others saw value in reviewing each constituent piece of the study and responding. For the Regional Freight Outlook, multiple stakeholder meetings were held and feedback was solicited on project lists, data, and key findings. According to a discussion with one con- tributor, participants would have been satisfied with a kickoff meeting, periodic updates with the opportunity to respond to
26 specific deliverables, and an opportunity to review a final draft. There is a strong interest from the private-sector par- ticipants to structure meetings similar to those held in the private sector with defined agendas, a strict time schedule, and clear action items; information needs to be provided in easy-to-digest pieces (e.g., bullet points or short presenta- tions). Sometimes, they report, meetings facilitated by public agencies do not always have a clear focus. Private-sector par- ticipants see value and are interested in ongoing involvement with MPO planning efforts but effective communication is the key to keeping stakeholders engaged. SmartPort plays a crucial role in facilitating such engagement. Decision Points For the Regional Freight Outlook there was a goal to engage the freight stakeholder community early and often. Box A.2 pre- sents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. The most important meeting was the first meeting, where there was discussion to identify issues and topics for the study (LRP 1) as well as get validation on the focus of the study. The next most important meeting for many of the private-sector stakeholders was the final summary and presentation. It is the view of MARC and SmartPort that stakeholders are generally only involved at these âfirst and lastâ points, and they may stay engaged if they see value in the materials being produced. For MARC, modal committees at the MPO develop the goals and objectives for the LRP (LRP 2). One of the modal commit- tees is focused on goods movement and does have participation from freight stakeholders. Regional goals have been consistent over the past several years, although there has been some refine- ment. Since the intent of the Regional Freight Outlook was driven by SmartPort, the vision and goals of the project were consistent with MARCâs and presented to the freight stake- holders. During the development of the Regional Freight Outlook, private-sector representatives indicated less inter- est in visioning for the region (LRP 3), and more interest in identifying specific issues and bottlenecks. During committee meetings, stakeholders helped identify the list of regional needs (LRP 4) with validation provided during follow-up interviews. MARC identifies âfreight benefitâ as one of the selection criteria for projects in the LRP. Representatives from the freight committee sit on the Total Transportation Committee (a policy committee), and can provide feedback before the completed LRP goes before the MPO Board. It is noted that, due in part to MARCâs activities, there are few freight bottlenecks in the region, with most improvements to the freight mobility system occurring in the 1990s. There are efforts by MARC to continue to improve the understanding and recognition of freight issues in the region. The discussion of financial assumptions (LRP 5) generally takes place through discussion with specific project sponsorsâMissouri DOT, Kansas DOT, local jurisdictions within the MARC areaâso there is little engagement by the MPO during this phase; however, private-sector participants in the Regional Freight Outlook study indicated a strong interest in discussing revenue options during the planning process to help them in their own long-term planning efforts. Planners at MARC typically flush out plan scenarios themselves, without direct feedback from stakeholders (LRP 6), however, commit- tees, (including the freight committee) review and provide input. In the case of the Regional Freight Outlook, the private sector played a major role in the review of the draft plan (LRP 7) to ensure that the project development team (includ- ing MARC) had gotten it right. The overall planning process provides an excellent opportunity for the private sector to interact cooperatively with government. Once projects are identified during the LRP process, there is an additional oppor- tunity for freight stakeholders to review and comment on eval- uation criteria and project lists included in the TIP and in the state transportation improvement program (STIP), in con- junction with the traditional public outreach process. Evalua- tion criteria are constantly evolving in the MARC region but more attention in recent years [largely due to the Transporta- tion Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) and American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal funding pro- grams] has been directed to economic benefits of projects and linkages with freight transportation. For corridor plans in the MARC region, stakeholders are better engaged in projects with high levels of potential for private investment or where there is a private partner (e.g., railroad), with most of the engagement handled at the DOT level. There is a strong interest on the parts of both Missouri and Kansas to improve their outreach with the freight stake- holder community through more focused meetings and an increased attention to meaningful issues (such as improving truck facilities and construction management). Kansas has been working to enhance the planning departmentâs role in monitoring commercial trucking operations allowing for better data and recognition of larger regional issues. Box A.2. Long-Range Planning and Project Programming, Mid-America Regional Council and SmartPort Case Studyâ Regional Freight Outlook Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRp 6: Strategies LRp 7: plan Scenarios PRO 2: Evaluation Criteria
27 Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, and Corridor Planning, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commissionâ Delaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force Background The Delaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force (GMTF) was created as a result of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Trans- portation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) transportation reauthoriza- tion, which presented a federal mandate for freight planning. Around the same time period (1992), there was a strong push to highlight freight issues through the Pennsylvania DOT on a double-stack rail project in the region. Beyond these insti- tutional mandates, there has been a strong history of freight project work in the region with both the Pennsylvania and New Jersey DOTs, especially with rail assistance programs. The MPO is the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commis- sion (DVRPC), which is the federally designated MPO for the Greater Philadelphia region. The DVRPC has worked hard to build the GMTF from the ground up, largely through direct outreach by the group leaders, and is constantly updating plans and programs to provide value to the groupâs quarterly meetings. Initially, the stakeholder attendee list was formed by coordinating with the ports on project work. Many of the staff representatives from DVRPC have been involved with the group since its outset, testifying to the value of continuity in a freight outreach program. There is strong visibility with the GMTF (which has operated continually for nearly 20 years) both locally and regionally, and participants are interested in staying engaged on freight issues in the region. Key pillars of success for the GMTF include the constant recruiting of new members, the process for invitations to potential new mem- bers (i.e., members invite their friends), and promotion through recognizing group contributions (such as participa- tion recognition). The goal of the organization is to have a 50/50 publicâprivate split in meeting attendance; this goal has been consistently achieved. Stakeholder Engagement Activities Freight stakeholder outreach activities in the region are primar- ily done through the GMTF, but traditional planning outreach tools like public meetings, web outreach, review, and comment of draft documents are also used. Invitations are provided to GMTF members to attend additional planning meetings beyond the quarterly GMTF meetings where new documents are discussed. The GMTF work product also is used as a base- line project and activity list for larger outreach efforts. Freight stakeholders in the DVRPC area prefer to be engaged early and often and have used the GMTF venue to focus the outreach efforts. Members are informed and aware of upcoming topics and hot button issues and are generally prepared to offer feed- back at meetings. Specific efforts used by the GMTF to engage the freight community include periodic presentations on regional freight-oriented topics and the development of prior- ity project lists for the LRP process. The trick to getting stake- holders engaged is to use their insight on solutions on a large issue (such as traffic problems on the I-95) and achieve some kind of tangible outcome (such as a letter of support for a par- ticular solution). This allows the group to build confidence and feel like they are actually providing a useful contribution to the process, rather than just to âcheck a box.â To be most effective, freight stakeholder outreach needs to provide information to the stakeholders on how the planning process works. The three most crucial parts of the planning process for freight stake- holders continue to be the MPOâs work program (which allo- cates funding for planning activities), the long-range plan, and the TIP. The heavy lifting for freight interaction is generally done at the front end of the project to help give the process âlegs.â There are different levels of engagement required for differ- ent users. Highway projects generally have a broader range of stakeholders (although direct users like trucking firms can be more difficult to engage) while rail projects generally having a more refined focus. Much of the work done at DVRPC in recent years benefits the trucking segment, including safety, and oper- ations studies; however, there have been freight rail efforts as well, such as the double-stack clearance project for CSX Trans- portation. In recent years, most freight-beneficial projects high- lighted in the near-term capital improvement program are either operational improvements or projects focused on system preservation, not necessarily capacity improvements. Feedback from Stakeholders At the earliest stages in the process, the MPO is interested in collecting data from stakeholders to help guide the project or program analysis. Beyond data, they have used GMTF mem- bers to provide insight into their operations, transportation needs, and information on existing facilities. They have accom- plished this through the GMTF regular meetings or through directed outreach or interviews with key stakeholders. Mem- bers also are engaged to vet freight-beneficial projects. Gener- ally, according to DVRPC staff, too much involvement with freight stakeholders will bore themâthe organization needs to develop strategies to keep them engaged in creative ways. One example of creative engagement that yielded very interested information for the MPOâs planning efforts was presenting a freight plan showcase, where they brought together the public, stakeholders, and other constituents and presented a âsimulated supply chainâ in which participants walked through the components of a theoretical supply chain. Through this
28 process, about 25 to 30 interviews were conducted with stake- holders to identify facilities and projects, including rail, high- way, and distribution facilities in the region. Decision Points There is engagement of the freight stakeholder community by the DVRPC GMTF throughout the planning process; how- ever, the involvement is more focused during the development of the long-range plan. Box A.3 presents the principal freight- related decision points of this case study. The crafting of the scope of the LRP is done by the MPO staff without the involve- ment of freight stakeholders, with the idea that the plan is expected to serve all users. In the DVRPC area, the GMTF has helped craft a stand-alone freight vision, which is provided to the planners drafting the scope of work for the overall plan. Freight stakeholders and staff work to integrate the freight vision into the MPOâs vision. The GMTF ultimately endorses the vision and goals of the LRP, with continued goal to more directly influence elements of the LRP vision. Following the approval of the vision and goals (LRP 2) of the LRP process, the MPO develops or refines evaluation cri- teria for projects and programs in the LRP. Freight stake- holders currently participate in that process (LRP 3); however, the discussion might not involve the entire GMTF, rather individual stakeholders personally invited by the MPO to offer feedback on evaluation criteria. Coordination with the DOT is crucial at this stageâthey generally know the needs of freight but do not necessarily know how to respond to those needs. During this portion of the LRP process, freight stakeholders provide invaluable information in the identifi- cation of bottlenecks and system deficiencies through the conduct of charrettes, evaluation of data, presentations, sur- veys, and interviews (LRP 4). Freight scans, developed by the DVRPC with input from the GMTF, have helped with identi- fying regional needs at the county level. The freight scans act as a starting point for the bottleneck evaluation and prioriti- zation in the LRP. According to follow-up interviews with private-sector stakeholders, this is one of the most valuable points to engage freight stakeholders. Other recent freight planning efforts that lay the foundation for identifying prior- ity corridors include the development of the âDelaware Valley Freight Corridors,â a stand-alone document. This attention to freight issues has led to additional coordination with local jurisdictions and promoting preliminary planning and engi- neering efforts to position the region for attracting outside funds for larger-scale freight-beneficial projects. For project funding, the DVRPC is very proactive in sharing information with freight stakeholders in order to help build consensus and leverage local/private opportunities to outside funding (LRP 5). There is little attention paid to public- private partnerships (PPP) until much later in the process, since most potential PPPs generally require a long lead time and multiple partners. Private-sector stakeholders see great value in these conversations, if only to better understand the actual implementation time frame for projects. When the long-range plan is developed, the GMTF is presented with the opportunity to review and comment and provide an endorsement of the draft plan. This provides value to private- sector stakeholders, however, it is important for the public- sector organization to balance the amount of review required with the time constraints and level of interests of certain stake- holders. Many stakeholders are satisfied with a review of the final product as a final check as opposed to continually review- ing and providing feedback on draft plans (LRP 6 and LRP 7). One very important element in the DVRPC method is having staff identify pertinent sections in the draft document for the private sector to review, saving the participantâs time and more efficiently soliciting their feedback in the process. Challenges in the LRP process for freight stakeholders include promoting a better understanding of freight benefits to the local jurisdictions. This would help the local stake- holders prioritize freight-beneficial projects to their commu- nities, even if the project itself is outside their jurisdiction. Currently, to many of these local jurisdictions, most freight- beneficial projects are seen as someone elseâs problem, due to their scale. Other challenges include a lack of understanding of freight operations issues (e.g., truck hours of service, truck parking) and how they relate to infrastructure. The activity of freight stakeholders in the LRP process sets the stage for addi- tional coordination in corridor planning, project program- ming, and the NEPA process. The project programming (PRO) and development of the TIP contents at DVRPC are typically driven by the DOT and Box A.3. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, and Corridor Planning, Delaware Valley Regional Planning CommissionâDelaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRP 3: Evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRP 5: Financial Assumptions LRp 6: Approve Strategies LRp 7: Approve plan Scenarios PRO 4: Approve Project Prioritization pRo 5: Reach Consensus on Draft tIp COR 2: Problem Statement COR 3: Goals and Objectives
29 local government planners working to negotiate the key regional priorities. The project list generally evolves organically from the LRP, without too much need for additional feedback. Projects beneficial to freight flows, especially larger, more sig- nificant projects are promoted by the freight community, through the GMTF (PRO 4). Historically, the federal Conges- tion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) pro- gram funding allocation process provided an avenue for using the GMTF to provide official support for funding freight- beneficial projects. During the last year of funding for CMAQ, there were 55 applications in Pennsylvania, and all five major freight projects (e.g., truck electrification facility, rail spur, cross-dock facility) were funded. There has been talk at the MPO to incorporate a section in the TIP for freight projects; however, since the prevailing stakeholder belief is that âall proj- ects are freight projects,â they have moved away from this idea. For corridor planning (COR), the GMTF provides feed- back to the lead agency through identification of one or two active members to act as a partner in the corridor planning effort and to provide the freight perspective to staff. These members help the MPO develop the scope of study for the corridor and ensure that key trade corridors are considered, which may be more expansive than those designated for the highway corridor plan. As corridor plans develop, these mem- bers are available to provide insight into the best solutions for accommodating freight needs in the corridor (COR 6). Cur- rently, the environmental review (ENV) process does not include much coordinated support from the freight stake- holder community, although GMTF members are encouraged to offer support or comment for either the freight benefits of projects or projects that would have a detrimental effect on freight operations during development of NEPA documents. DVRPC has worked hard to cultivate a robust outreach pro- gram for freight stakeholders throughout the planning pro- cess and will continue to work with the GMTF to represent freight interests within the region. Long-Range Planning and Project Programming, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning CommissionâCreating the Freight Transportation Improvement Program and Coordination with Columbus Region Logistics Council Background Freight planning in the Columbus, Ohio, region through the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) began largely as a reaction to the regionâs plan to construct a new inland port in the mid-1990s. A series of inland port studies throughout the decade focused on expanding Port Columbus and Rickenbacker and helped support the recognition of the importance of the movement of goods to the regional econ- omy (more than 14% of total jobs in the region). Although MORPC had their own freight group for a time, they became more involved in the outreach efforts of the Columbus Cham- ber of Commerce, which also had been leading studies on logistics and freight issues in the region. The Chamberâs coor- dination efforts evolved from a council created from partici- pants in the inland port studies, to form the Columbus Region Logistics Council (CRLC). Large regional organizations active in CRLC activities include several of the larger third-party logistics providers in the region as well as representatives from major retailers, including Big Lots, Mattel, and Limited Brands. Participants in CRLC also include air cargo interests, small local and regional chamber of commerce representatives, and key shippers, freight carriers, and other interested parties. MORPC serves as a member of CRLC and is in constant communication with the organization. For many years, there were competing freight advisory groups among the MPO and the chamber of commerceâboth groups had a challenge keeping stakeholders engaged on freight-beneficial projects, especially the MPO group, due in large part to staff turnover issues and regional priorities. The current iteration of CRLC has been active since 2008 and includes four specific committees, including the infrastructure, workforce, technology, and business environment committees, with MORPC being most involved in the infrastructure com- mittee. Committee meetings are run by the chamber of com- merce, with planning and agenda assistance and feedback from the MPO. The current organizational framework enables MORPC to become more directly involved in industry col- laboration. Through CRLC, MORPC was able to better gain access for advocacy efforts, validate regional transportation needs, and explore funding opportunities. The regionâs freight planning efforts and the partnership between MORPC and the chamber of commerce have helped create successes at Rickenbacker and throughout the region in the form of expan- sion activities and other projects both attracting new business and contributing to the regional economy. Support from MPO leadership also has played a major role in effective collabora- tion with the MPOâs transportation and executive director strongly supporting MORPCâs freight planning efforts. Stakeholder Engagement Activities and Feedback In addition to coordinating and providing feedback during the LRP process and prioritizing projects during the TIP develop- ment, CRLC plays a role in soliciting outreach for specific freight planning studies, mostly related to Rickenbacker. CRLC holds regular meetings and has initiated a range of projects in
30 recent years, including the Central Ohio Logistics Roadmap and major access studies to Rickenbacker. Previously, common complaints with freight stakeholder involvement during the public planning process included the long duration and some- time lack of focus during meetings and a limited understand- ing of private-sector interests. Outreach methods for projects have included one-on-one discussions and presentations dur- ing meetings. The feedback is much more effective when the stakeholders have a product to respond to, rather than planners simply inquiring about their needs. Focus groups have played a major role in soliciting feedback from industry, especially during recent studies. For a recent project, the study team found intriguing distinctions between the different stake- holders on the topics they were most interested in exploring. According to Robert Fredman, a member of CRLC, shippers generally were more focused on the high-level issues (such as goals, objectives, and broader system needs) while carriers (such as trucking companies or third-party logistics providers) were more focused on specific improvement projects and implementation strategies, with an eye to local issues. Decision Points The freight stakeholders are generally involved throughout the LRP process, including the development and approval of vision and goals (LRP 2), and evaluation criteria (LRP 3) for projects. Although the development of the scope of work (LRP 1) for the LRP does not require a lot of feedback, members of CRLC do sit on the transportation advisory committee (TAC) for the MPO; the TAC provides technical assistance and recommen- dations to the policy committee. The private sector is involved in the development of visions and goals for the LRP in the same capacity. There are three goals within the transportation plan that support freight. They are efficiency, multimodal, and eco- nomic development. Throughout the planning process, the MPO and chamber of commerce work with private industry to encourage them to respond to information (especially evalua- tion criteria, funding assumptions, and draft plans). For PRO, MORPC has developed a strategy for highlighting projects in the TIP that have significance for the freight com- munity (F-TIP). This idea was adapted from DVRPC in Phila- delphia and helps quantify the freight-beneficial projects in the region. The inclusion of projects in the F-TIP is not a particu- larly scientific process; rather MPO staff, with input from the private- and public-sector freight communities identify the roads and other facilities in the region that access key freight areas (PRO 2). The F-TIP is developed only after the TIP is developed and includes only the projects that are expected to be funded. Truck counts and other readily available data may be used to validate the inclusion of certain corridors. Stake- holders also provide support in calculating the truck percent- age of service to intermodal facilities and potential fuel consumption reductions from improvements. The stake- holders review the draft list to ensure its completeness (PRO 3). The MPO asks questions during CRLC meetings and collects comments to obtain feedback. Box A.4 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. The freight stakeholder community in the Columbus region also takes an active role in project finance. For a recent freight study in the region, CRLC collected $500,000 from private- sector participants to fund the study. Recent legislative devel- opments in Ohio on private development of transportation facilities may provide additional opportunities to engage the freight community to expedite key transportation projects. The Ohio DOT currently is writing the rulebook on how those alternative financing opportunities might be realized, using a project connecting Rickenbacker and U.S. 23 as an example (Pickaway East-West Connector Project). Freight stakeholder feedback also is used to determine the jobs impact for certain projects, raising their profile at the regional and state level and marshalling support for freight-beneficial projects. Although the freight stakeholders provide feedback on freight project priorities (PRO 4), all modes are considered together for the TIP. Based in part on the work and insight that the freight stakeholders provide (including data and a better understanding of regional and local benefits), freight projects have traditionally risen to the top of the list. During the latter stages of the project programming process for MORPC, freight stakeholders do play a role in reviewing the draft TIP/F-TIP (PRO 5). Other ways that freight projects are highlighted in the programming process is through the activ- ities of the MPOâs federal funding group, a subset of the TAC, which also helps identify projects of national significance, a category in which many freight projects are classified. One of the key issues that the MPO has encountered, despite all of Box A.4. Long-Range Planning and Project Programming, Mid-Ohio Regional Planning CommissionâCreating the Freight Transportation Improvement Program and Coordination with Columbus Region Logistics Council Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRP 3: Evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs pRo 2: evaluation Methodology pRo 3: Approve project List PRO 4: Approve Project Prioritization pRo 5: Reach Consensus on Draft tIp
31 this support, is the borderless nature of trade corridors, the improvements on which are generally very large scale and take many years to fund. Improvements to the I-70/I-71 connec- tors have been in the TIP for 20 years with little movement toward final resolution. The state typically leads the process for ENV of transporta- tion projects, including freight-beneficial projects involving freight stakeholders generally only if there is a direct impact to a freight facility. The state generally understands freight planning, but is still trying to identify the most efficient methods for incorporating freight considerations into the NEPA process. State transportation planners use the relation- ships that the MPO has in Columbus to reach out to freight stakeholders in the region. The planning process for freight can be improved in the MORPC MPO region by using the Rickenbacker Infrastruc- ture Coordinating Committee (created by the MPO to identify and prioritize projects, seek funding, and foster cooperation in the Rickenbacker area) to better rank regionally significant projects. There currently are some divergent interests of stake- holders (e.g., rail versus highway, conflicts between certain shippers) that may hinder discussion on ranking one freight- beneficial project over another. The next generation of the freight planning program at MORPC will likely include some scenario planning, which is intended to help inform the LRP. Finally, a large-scale regional freight study in the MORPC area is long overdue due to the development and expansion of intermodal yards throughout the region. In conclusion, the MPOâs coordination with CRLC seems to work well, but may not work in every region of the United States. The strength of the local chamber of commerce coupled with a strong recogni- tion for the benefits of freight transportation in the region makes this interaction a strong partnership. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Freight advisory Boardâ Ongoing Freight Stakeholder Involvement Background This case study documents Seattle Department of Transporta- tionâs (SDOT) success in effectively involving freight stake- holders in the City of Seattle, Washington, to improve freight planning and collaborative decision making in the area. More than a decade ago, public officials realized the potential value of establishing a formal freight advisory committee to advo- cate for a well-functioning multimodal transportation system, which, in turn, would support economic vitality in the city. Freight stakeholders have provided public officials with help- ful insights about freight movement, supply chain strategies, and global and domestic trade and transportation trends. Incorporating freight stakeholder feedback and involving these stakeholders throughout the transportation planning, programming, corridor, and environmental processes has enhanced the quality and inclusivity of these processes, and enabled SDOT to deliver transportation infrastructure proj- ects that improved the flow of goods and services in the area. SDOT works closely and collaboratively with the Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), the MPO overseeing the transportation system in Kitsap, Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties. SDOT is a member of PSRC, and SDOTâs TIP must be aligned with PSRCâs since Seattle is located in King County. There is recognition that freight crosses county borders and, therefore, collaboration with neighboring public agencies is critical. A case study summary is presented separately on PSRCâs freight stakeholder outreach efforts. Stakeholder Engagement Activities The Seattle Freight Mobility Advisory Committee (SFMAC) was established in 2002 as a partnership between SDOT and the Seattle Manufacturing Industrial Council (SMIC) to address freight mobility issues and provide a forum for freight stakeholder input to be aired. In December 2010, the SFMAC sunsetted because its members felt having a board organiza- tional structure would offer additional clout to promote freight mobility. In its place, the Seattle Freight Advisory Board (SFAB) was formed; SDOT is the staff resource to SFAB. SDOT has policy guidelines that require broad engagement of stake- holders from all modes and therefore receives comments in at least the following ways: (1) SFAB submits its meeting minutes to the various SDOT project managers and also writes formal letters to the mayor and city council on various issues; (2) pri- vate individuals and groups provide feedback at public meet- ings; (3) ad hoc stakeholder group meetings furnish input about specific projects; (4) people send e-mails; and (5) people call and write letters to the mayor, city council, and SDOT. SDOT has found that freight stakeholders generally do not like to respond to surveys, but are more likely to offer input through phone or in-person interviews. Recently, a trimodal committee was formally chartered to ensure transportation issues are addressed from the perspec- tive of multiple modes rather than in silos. The trimodal committee is made up of the chairs and vice chairs of the SFAB, the Bicycle Board, and the Pedestrian Board. Because they are peers, members of the trimodal committee have been effective in breaking down barriers by having a forum in which the needs and nuances of their particular modes can be shared and where they can work more collaboratively to achieve better overall outcomes.
32 Feedback from Stakeholders Three instances of successful stakeholder engagement that yielded positive outcomes are described: â¢ SDOT engaged motor carriers very early when it recon- structed the Fremont Bridge over the Seattle Ship Canal, which connects Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and Lake Union. Stakeholders provided truck routing information and operational strategies. The motor carriers were so involved they wanted to know where SDOT was positioning every detour sign and had opinions about them all. â¢ There was a great deal of discussion with and recommenda- tions from the freight community on the State Route 519 project near the Seattle stadium area. This resulted in a plan to construct a multimillion-dollar truck overpass to bypass blocked waterfront area railroad tracks adjacent to the Port of Seattleâs Terminal 46. â¢ Several years ago, SDOT successfully brought together rail and truck interests on a project where the City of Seattle was studying whether to close a truck route that crossed rail tracks. This study enabled the two groups to discuss the interaction between the two modes as well as safety and delay issues from both perspectives, which led to a more balanced outcome. Decision Points SDOT gives freight stakeholders the opportunity to be engaged early and on an ongoing basis in the LRP, PRO, COR, and ENV processes. Box A.5 presents the principal freight- related decision points of this case study. Usually SDOT col- lects information on big picture freight issues at the beginning of the LRP process, but frequently, stakeholders offer specific information. It has been SDOTâs experience that freight stakeholders generally do not like having endless meetings just about big picture issues but appreciate focused inter- action. Often, SDOT receives input from those most impacted by a project, such as private citizens, neighborhood groups, and local policy experts who enjoy weighing in on transpor- tation projects. SDOT and freight stakeholders regularly edu- cate the public about the nuances of cargo movement, the value of freight mobility, and its connection to a healthy economy, job retention, and growth. SDOT involved stakeholders in scoping needs and solutions for past freight plans. The last SDOT freight plan was prepared in 2005. The plan had a short-term focus and included new actions and programmed capital projects that benefited freight. SDOT also works closely with representatives of Seattleâs two manufacturing and industrial centers and the Port of Seattle, critical economic engines of the city. The primary focus is on ground transportation and marine facility landside access. The foundations of the freight plan are the Seattle Comprehensive Plan and the Seattle Transportation Strategic Plan. Both plans contain specific freight plan elements. SDOT has proposed that the City of Seattle prepare a citywide freight master plan. Once funded and programmed, SFAB will be consulted throughout the planning process (LRP 1). SDOT expects to coordinate with freight stakeholders dur- ing the planâs initiation phase. Regarding the past freight action plan, the primary focus of freight stakeholders has been on positive actions, funding, and implementation (LRP 2). SDOT expects to receive input from freight stakeholders on their interests and suggested performance measures as the future freight master plan proceeds. SDOT communicates with a range of stakeholders groups, including bike and pedestrian, in developing multimodal plans in the spirit of fostering an inclu- sive process (LRP 3). SDOT has recognized that freight stake- holders are very interested in reviewing specific project design and maintenance plans that affect major truck routes and other key arterials used for freight movement. Freight opera- tors are very knowledgeable about bottlenecks and perfor- mance concerns, and SDOT is receptive to hearing these anecdotal stories early in the LRP phase as well as during other planning phases. SDOT identifies priority corridors that con- sider connectivity, demand, physical feasibility, and stakeholder Box A.5. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Freight Advisory BoardâOngoing Freight Stakeholder Involvement Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 1: Scope Crafting LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRp 3: evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRP 5: Financial Assumptions LRP 6: Strategies LRP 7: Plan Scenarios PRO 1: Revenue Sources pRo 3: project List pRo 4: Ranking projects CoR 2: problem Statement COR 3: Goals and Objectives COR 5: Evaluation Criteria COR 6-7: Solution Sets COR 8-9: Implementation Priorities ENV 4: Freight Concerns ENV 6-7: Approve Alternatives ENV 8: Draft EIS Comment ENV 9-11: Ongoing Dialogue
33 input. Freight stakeholders provide information on corridor- level and spot improvement needs (e.g., vertical and horizontal obstructions), and intersection geometry (tight radii), traffic control (signals, striping, and signing), conflicts with other modes, and general loading needs. Stakeholder input is recog- nized and the plan is modified as appropriate (LRP 4). SDOT discusses plan costs and financing measures when developing plans and identifies the possibility for public- private partnerships. SDOT tends to solicit external agency participation and private funding more often in the specific projectâs development phase. At the regional level, SDOT has been an active participant in the regional Freight Action Strat- egy for the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma Corridor (FAST Corridor) Partnership, which has funded a series of street and rail grade separations and port access improvements (LRP 5). More information about the FAST Corridor Partnership can be found in the PSRC case study summary. SDOT has involved freight interests in developing past action plan components, including strategies and plan scenarios through ongoing com- munications with SFAB and manufacturing and industrial interests (LRP 6). SFAB has offered input on draft plans at meetings, in meeting minutes, and through formal correspon- dence to elected officials and SDOT on topics of particular interest. SDOT expects to hold public meetings and use other communication practices to give freight stakeholders the opportunity to provide input on the freight master plan. In addition, the Seattle City Council provides an opportunity for public comment prior to plan adoption (LRP 7-11). Since funding is a critical element in project planning, SDOT discusses potential revenue sources with freight stakeholders on both the corridor and project level. Stakeholders do not approve revenue sources unless the funds originate from an external agency or private-sector constituency. For example, SMIC has contributed funding to the intelligent transportation systems program. SDOT also receives support letters for project funding applications. SDOT is not pursuing tolling mechanisms at this time, though the Washington State DOT is expanding tolling in the Puget Sound Region. One specific public-private partner- ship that SDOT fosters is for funding participation to improve paving on industrial area streets (PRO 1). The City of Seattle provides all stakeholders the opportu- nity to comment on the particular improvement program prior to adoption by city council and the mayor. SDOT pre- sents SFAB with information on SDOT projects planned for the calendar year, along with individual project schedules and contacts (PRO 2). SDOT identifies projects that are on sig- nificant freight and port connector routes, and by analyzing annual truck tonnage data (PRO 3). The freight project pri- oritization methodology differs from other modes to some extent, for example, to recognize challenges that include physical clearances and weight limitations (PRO 4). In this regard, the input from freight stakeholders is essential to ensure the project accommodates the special needs of certain products, such as over-dimensional cargo. SDOT and Washington State DOT have formed steering committees and work groups for very large projects, in particu- lar for corridor-level projects. SDOT involves all modal stake- holders in identifying scoping needs and solutions for corridor projects. They plan to consult with the SFAB on the future freight master plan and will coordinate with Seattleâs two man- ufacturing and industrial centers and the Port of Seattle. SDOT has structured project alternatives in an effort to accommodate freight interests in the corridor plans (COR 1). Freight stakeholders are involved in developing corridor study goals and objectives and play a role in developing criteria and performance measures for evaluating the corridor at a very high level (COR 2-5). Once solution sets and specific project alternatives for corridor plans are developed, freight stake- holders are consulted and given an opportunity to provide input to ensure freight needs are addressed and there are no deficiencies in the solutions and alternatives. SDOT has struc- tured project alternatives in an effort to include freight interests in corridor plans. On occasion, the former freight stakeholder committee indicated a preference for one or more plan alternatives. Similarly, Seattleâs manufacturing and indus- trial interests provide their perspective (COR 6-7) for both the project alternatives and implementation priorities (COR 8-9). Freight stakeholders are not formal participants in the envi- ronmental review processes. Freight input is solicited through the public process and SFAB, and by the membership of steer- ing and working committees. In the past, freight stakeholder groups have submitted formal comments on city and state projects of particular interest. Freight stakeholders are not involved in developing the scope of environmental review; however, freight modal considerations are a typical component of the project environmental review process. SDOT does not typically solicit feedback from the freight community on how well the purpose and need reflects freight stakeholder concerns in the early stages of project development. The exception is for projects that significantly improve freight access and circula- tion to freight destinations. Freight stakeholders do have the opportunity to review the draft as part of the typical public review process, so their voices can be heard (ENV 1-3). Feed- back is sought in applicable studies and projects regarding the study area and boundaries. The type of feedback includes level of truck activity, size of trucks, relationships to other transpor- tation modes, operational needs, and detours (ENV 4). During approval of the full range of project alternatives, SDOT works with the freight stakeholder community to a lim- ited extent to evaluate the alternatives and identify a preferred alternative, typically for a project with significant freight mobility importance (ENV 6-7). On the other hand, during the review and approval process of the draft environmental impact statement (EIS), SDOT engages freight stakeholders
34 outside the traditional public review efforts by soliciting SFAB input, and through targeted meetings with manufacturing and industrial stakeholder groups. Other mechanisms for engage- ment include a truck stakeholder Listserv (e-mail alert list), project-specific Listservs for stakeholders to sign up for, and media releases (ENV 8). Once the public comment period for the draft environmental document is completed, SDOT main- tains a dialogue with the freight stakeholder community on the project approval time frame by means of the typical project public review process. SDOT periodically updates the SFAB about larger, more significant projects. On the whole, SDOTâs efforts to reach out to freight stake- holders have proven very beneficial to its ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance the cityâs multimodal transportation system. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Puget Sound Regional Council, Puget Sound Regional Council Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable, and Freight action Strategy for the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma CorridorâOngoing Freight Stakeholder Involvement Background This case study highlights the efforts of PSRC, the MPO over- seeing the transportation system in the Washington counties of Kitsap, Pierce, King, and Snohomish, to increase and enhance outreach to freight stakeholders in the Puget Sound region through the use of two formal freight advisory com- mittees. Establishment of these official freight advisory groups was the result of the public officialsâ growing recognition of the connection between a well-functioning multimodal trans- portation system and the regionâs economic health. Hearing the voices of freight stakeholders became an essential part of the planning, programming, corridor, and environmental processes undertaken at the regional level and led to improved freight planning processes and transportation infrastructure projects that were more beneficial to freight interests. PSRC works closely and collaboratively with SDOT since Seattle is located in King County. A summary of SDOTâs freight stake- holder outreach efforts is presented in a separate case study. Stakeholder Engagement Activities More than a decade ago, PSRC established two freight-related advisory groups: the Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable (RFMR) and Freight Action Strategy (FAST) Freight Advisory Committee (FAC). Though each group has a different compo- sition and focus, they complement one another quite well. RFMR, founded in 1997, is open to any interested party and is chaired by Dan OâNeil, who also chairs the Washington State Transportation Commission. Members come from maritime shipping, ports, railroads, shippers (such as Boeing), and other parts of the private sector, Washington State DOT staff, and legislative staffers from regional governments. Meetings are held at the PSRC office every other month and average 30 to 40 attendees. The agenda is different for every meeting and always concerns topical issues relating to maritime shipping or multimodal transportation and/or specific regional or local projects or issues. Example presentations to educate RFMR members include those by Washington State DOT, the U.S. Navy, FedEx, and UPS staff. At the meetings, discussion is usually open and lively. For review of most projects or programs, feedback is provided to PSRC, but generally no official voting takes place. From the beginning, PSRC was successful in attracting high-powered and interested participants from across the region to RFMR. Originally, the group was made up mostly of quasi-public-sector people, but as time went on, more private-sector representatives joined. According to a long- time RFMR member, PSRC was able to attract the movers and shakers from the region by finding a way to make freight âsexyâ by demonstrating the connections between freight mobility and economic development. There is a good mix of members on RFMR and the group is very vibrant. According to one of the original members, PSRC got the organizational structure right by having co-sponsors and the chair has done a great job maintaining the groupâs objectivity. Another posi- tive is that the group does not meet excessively, so members do not get overwhelmed or lose interest. RFMR has been able to take the various messages out to wider audiences in the community because it ties freight mobility back to job creation and economic health, which resonates with everyone a large constituency. Once it hears from RFMR members about an issue, PSRC takes a position and works the issue through regional and state governments. RFMR members advocate for the issues to local, regional and state government officials. It is rare for the ideas of PSRC and RFMR to conflict. RFMR members gain allies through mem- bership in the committee in their lobbying efforts to govern- ment officials, magnifying their voices. This added bonus makes them more likely to continue their membership. Another important organization for freight outreach, the FAST for the FAST Corridor is a partnership of 26 local cities; counties; ports; federal, state, and regional transportation agencies; railroads; and trucking interests, intent on solving freight mobility problems with coordinated solutions. Estab- lished in 1998, the FAST Corridor partnership was formed to address the 25 most important projects that would improve
35 freight mobility across the region. This consolidated approach resulted in a more successful outcome than doing the projects piecemeal. While originally having access to federal funds to complete the FAST projects, the seed money that assisted the partnership in completing 20 projects so far is no longer available. Despite the loss of funding, the FAST program had institutional knowledge that PSRC wanted to maintain, so the group evolved into an official regional freight advisory committeeâFAST FACâthat provides input and advice to other groups in the regional governance structure. FAST works on regional planning to ensure government planners take freight issues into consideration. It also advises the Transportation Policy Board within the PSRC, which is mostly made up of elected officials, and regional staff com- mittees, which are managers at local governments and senior planners who can speak for their organizations. FAST has served as a technical freight advisory body to provide input related to freight and goods movement for the long-range planning process, while still working to complete the remaining five of the original 25 FAST Corridor projects. Members come from local governments, ports and railroads, and other interested PSRC members may participate. FAST has a co-chair structure and from 10 to 12 members attend meetings held every other month. FAST is a âroll-up-your- sleevesâ type of committee that provides PSRC input and feedback on long-range plan updates and other planning issues for local governments, the region, and the state, often at a detailed, project-specific level. Feedback from Stakeholders In developing previous regional freight strategies, input and lists of recommendations from both RFMR and FAST were included as background material, the final work product, maps, and so forth. PSRC does not use a single method to solicit input from private and public stakeholders. On a project-specific basis, PSRC has learned it must reach out to various stakeholders through one-on-one interviews and focus groups; otherwise the process becomes self-selecting where only the voices of those who speak loudly and fre- quently are heard. These methods are particularly useful in reaching private-sector stakeholders who do not often attend meetings, as they stay in the office performing their daily job functions to keep freight moving. PSRC learned from previ- ous discussions with private industry representatives that freight stakeholders prefer to be engaged early and often. Two recent successful PSRC efforts to engage freight stake- holders are cited as follows: â¢ As part of the process of developing the long-range trans- portation plan adopted in 2010, Transportation 2040, a separate appendix titled âThe Regional Freight Strategyâ was created to cover many of the bigger issues with regard to freight and goods movement. During 2009, PSRC held events at its office and went out to various locations to meet new people who traditionally had not been involved in previous strategic planning efforts. It even held a focus group with local trucking and logistics managers to hear their perspectives. PSRC gathered unique and valuable information by going out and actively soliciting input. â¢ Even though RFMR members generally discuss âbig pictureâ issues, in 2006 a major state highway project was planned that intended to improve connectivity from the Port of Seattle to I-90. However, subsequent to the projectâs concep- tion, two stadiums were built in the area, which drastically altered traffic flow and increased congestion. During a pre- sentation at RFMR, freight stakeholders expressed concern that the project as originally designed would no longer achieve the desired goals for regional freight and goods movement under the existing conditions that included increased activity near the stadiums. After these concerns were brought to the forefront, changes were made to the project scope that helped meet the freight needs for the proj- ect. Overall, the project outcome was better as a result of public discussions with freight stakeholders. Decision Points PSRC starts engaging private and public stakeholders early and throughout all planning processes. Box A.6 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. Stakeholders are asked to identify the larger, regional issues as part of every project scoping process (LRP 1). The earlier PSRC hears about major issues, the better, and PSRC always records public comments throughout every planning process. In a broad sense, PSRC does not engage the RFMR on every issue or every project, as this would overwhelm members. Rather, it uses FAST to deal with more granular issues and small projects. During the planning process (LRP) for spe- cific projects, PSRC solicits feedback from RFMR members after roundtable meetings by setting up an interview room adjacent to the main meeting room where RFMR members can converse with staff members. PSRC also performs tar- geted outreach across the region. PSRC has learned it is easier to gather feedback from private- and public-sector stake- holders on specific projects like the Columbia River Crossing than on LRP or visioning processes, where more technically oriented participants (such as those on FAST) are more inclined to be interested and engaged. PSRC coordinates with its freight stakeholder groups during the regional freight plan refinement process. PSRC generally involves freight stakeholders in the discussion and approval of vision and goals for the long-range plan (LRP 2) to make sure freight interests are addressed, and when discussing evaluation
36 criteria for projects to be included in the TIP, LRP, etc. (LRP 3). Freight stakeholders provide helpful feedback on how to mea- sure project success. When PSRC does LRP, it solicits input from system users about specific bottlenecks and other trans- portation deficiencies, priority corridors, and freight needs, though this information is usually not surprising. Input is included in the plan either as background information, maps, or appendices, or as a combination of all three, generally in the freight component of the plan (LRP 4). Once the general planning needs are identified, PSRC dis- cusses financial assumptions with freight stakeholders (LRP 5) and seeks ideas from members of the two advisory commit- tees about potential public-private partnerships and funding mechanisms. Freight stakeholders are included in discussions during the approval stage of strategies and plan scenarios to ensure that transportation projects address the needs of the freight community (LRP 6). Input on draft plans is solicited at RFMR and FAST meetings, public outreach meetings, pub- lic comment meetings, and so forth, and incorporated into the plan, as appropriate (LRP 7-11). During the development of TIPs, FAST members provide feedback on potential funding sources for projects (PRO 1). If tolling or other user fees are being considered, PSRC requests comments from FAST members, who also provide input on evaluation methodologies to identify project costs and criteria for allocating revenue (PRO 2). FAST also is used as a source of feedback on the inclusion of freight priority projects in the development of the TIP/STIP (PRO 3). Project lists are reviewed by FAST and by freight stakeholders at other public meetings, in focus groups, and through individual interviews. Projects that will benefit freight mobility are spe- cifically called out in the TIP/STIP. FAST provides its opinion on prioritization of projects most important to enhance freight mobility and address other freight-related system deficiencies. PSRCâs methods for ranking and prioritizing projects are com- prehensive and examine aggregate benefits across user classes, and not by mode (PRO 4). After providing comments on the draft TIP/STIP, PSRC continues to engage freight stakehold- ers in discussions. Some members of FAST participate in the Regional Project Evaluation Committee, which takes freight into consideration along with many other transportation functions (PRO 5-9). Freight stakeholder input is solicited at the beginning and throughout the corridor planning process. Stakeholders pro- vide comment when the project scope is being developed (COR 1) and are involved in formulating study goals and objectives to ensure the outcome of the study will be benefi- cial to freight interests. PSRC consults with each FAC about appropriate evaluation criteria and performance measures to judge the projectâs success in meeting freight needs. Both committees provide valuable information about freight flows along and through corridors (COR 2-5). PSRC solicits feed- back and recommendations once solutions and specific proj- ect alternatives have been determined, but stakeholders do not generally hold a vote on the best alternative. However, while RFMR does not make specific recommendations, FAST members may consider drafting letters of support for an alternative to local, regional, and/or state governments, and individual members frequently submit comments and rec- ommendations on behalf of their local government or orga- nization (COR 6-7). Freight stakeholders play a major role in identifying implementation priorities to ensure the most critical issues get addressed timely (COR 8-9). PSRCâs LRP process is not subject to NEPA but is subject to Washington Stateâs Environmental Policy Act under Wash- ington state law. As such, all stakeholders participate through- out the planning process and there is always a public comment period during the environmental portion of a project. PSRC solicits feedback from the freight community on how well the purpose and need reflect freight stakeholder concerns as part of the public comment process. RFMR and FAST members are asked to review the purpose and need statements and the Box A.6. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Puget Sound Regional Council, Puget Sound Regional Council Regional Freight Mobility Roundtable, and Freight Action Strategy for the Everett-Seattle-Tacoma CorridorâOngoing Freight Stakeholder Involvement Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 1: Scope Crafting LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRp 3: evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRP 5: Financial Assumptions LRP 6: Strategies LRP 7: Plan Scenarios PRO 1: Revenue Sources pRo 3: project List PRO 4: Ranking Projects PRO 5-9: Additional Feedback COR 1: Study Scope CoR 2: problem Statement COR 3: Goals and Objectives COR 5: Evaluation Criteria COR 6-7: Solution Sets COR 8-9: Implementation Priorities ENV 1-3: Study Scope, Purpose, and Need eNV 4: Freight Concerns ENV 6-7: Approve Alternatives ENV 8: Draft EIS Comment ENV 9-11: Ongoing Dialogue
37 draft plan to highlight any deficiencies and suggest revisions (ENV 1-3). As in other planning processes, freight stake- holders help the PSRC identify system bottlenecks, recom- mend system improvements, provide comments on specific infrastructure projects, and identify key freight corridors (ENV 4). They also help the PSRC identify performance mea- sures (ENV 5) and vet the range of project alternatives during the environmental review process (ENV 6-7). During the review and approval process of the draft EIS, PSRC engages freight stakeholders outside the traditional public review efforts through special meetings and presentations (ENV 8). Ongoing dialogue with the freight community is maintained via RFMR and FAST meetings and other public outreach events so PSRC will be kept abreast of changing freight-related conditions and trends (ENV 9-11). Using RFMR and FAST as sources of freight-related infor- mation and to vet elements of regional and project-specific plans has enabled PSRC to develop and implement better plans and execute infrastructure projects that more effec- tively address freight stakeholder needs. Corridor Planning, Indiana DOT: Mid-america Freight Coalitionâ I-70 Dedicated Truck Lanes Feasibility Study Background Deteriorating traffic lanes and recognition of increasing truck traffic in and through the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri prompted the participating states to develop a multi- state, collaborative study to implement truck-only lanes on Interstate 70 (I-70) beginning in 2006. All four states are members of the Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC) and the study was facilitated through that organization. The Mid- America Freight Coalition was formerly the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition. The study effort was led by Tom Sharp [Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)] through discussions with Pete Ron [Missouri Department of Trans- portation (MoDOT)], and led to an application for a âCorri- dors of the Futureâ grant that would study the truck lane concept along the four-state corridor. The total study cost was around $6 million, with the $5 million grant covering the majority of the costs for planning in Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio. Driving the study was a strong recognition from all the states that heavy truck movements between Mis- souri and Ohio would benefit from major improvements, including dedicated truck facilities. According to the project manager from INDOT, the most critical needs along the cor- ridor include portions between Columbus, Ohio, and India- napolis, Indiana; however, there is recognition that the bulk of the traffic within the corridor travels less than 500 miles, with a large proportion traveling less than 300 miles. This indicates that there could be substantial user benefits to completing individual sections of the truck lane corridor on the way to promoting a truck lane concept throughout the region. Each state involved in planning for the I-70 truck lanes has over time reported different priorities for the corridor and many already have been involved in substantial individual planning efforts. Missouri had previously done and continues to do extensive planning and environmental review within its portion of the corridor and obtained a record of decision (ROD) concluding the environmental analysis. This provides the opportunity for MoDOT to quickly begin construction on availability of federal funding. There have been other suc- cesses through TIGER grant application processes with INDOT and MoDOT being selected for grants to enlarge truck parking areas adjacent to I-70. Ohio currently is work- ing on its own long-term maintenance strategies for I-70, and several of the states are exploring public-private partnerships (PPP) for improving the corridor within their jurisdiction. There is an expectation that the I-70 truck lane project will not move forward without some kind of PPP, and it is of strong benefit to the project that enabling legislation is not a major constraint for the partners, due to recent agreements. It is clear to all four states that I-70 needs to be improved, and the truck lane concept provides a solid solution to facilitate freight and overall traffic flows on this important regional corridor. Stakeholder Engagement Activities Through the planning process for the I-70 truck lanes, there was positive engagement with the freight stakeholder com- munity, especially with key representatives from the trucking industry. For the project, the MAFC did not form a formal freight advisory committee. Instead, there were focus group discussions held to explore opportunities for the corridor such as longer combinationâhigher productivity vehicles and one-on-one interviews held with shippers, third-party logis- tics providers, and other system users to present the various dedicated truck lane concepts. In 2009, after some preliminary discussions about the project, the state DOTs met with repre- sentatives from each of the four state trucking associations, an owner-operator association, and one large carrier (Con-way) to introduce the project and continue dialogue. Based on follow-up discussions with Indiana and Missouri trucking associations, there was not a great deal of clarity at first on what the goals and objectives of their involvement were; how- ever, both participants interviewed were glad to have been a part of the process for a âvoice at the table.â There was an inter- est in gaining more information about the focus of the project and how this effort was connected to previous corridor plan- ning at each DOT. Throughout the process, the project team engaged private stakeholders through presentations and
38 individual meetings with trucking associations, held meetings with MPOs and conducted survey outreach with key shippers in the region. Other outreach methods included focus groups and radio interviews with truck driver radio shows (estimated 1 million listeners) between 2009 and 2011. One key question asked in all the surveys: What does the truck facility have to do in order for you to use it? INDOT developed the original outreach list with insight from project partners, including each DOT and the trucking associations. The list was vetted by the consultant team, and there was strong attention paid to including a broad range of stakeholders, not just trucking firms, but a broad cross- section of trucking firms [less-than-truckload (LTL), truck- load], in addition to major shippers. The study team also reached out to the railroads due to the potential for a modal shift of cargo with an improved I-70. During the course of the project, one major Class I railroad spent the whole day with the study team to better understand the concept and plan- ning effort. This provided the potential to bring in other views to the process and hopefully ally stakeholder concerns of possible negative effects of the project. The success of the I-70 planning effort was due in large part to personal rela- tionships with key freight stakeholders and focus from the project team. The outreach plan was not institutionalized, with mostly ad hoc interaction. Feedback from Stakeholders There currently is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) or corridor development agreement between all the different coalition partners. Under this agreement, the partners are expected to cooperate and share information and support the process moving forward. INDOT has been the champion of the multistate effort, along with MoDOT. One of the benefits of the agreement is that it is not binding and that it gives states flexibility to move planning and implementation of individual project segments forward within their jurisdic- tions without having to worry about penalties from the other members or delays in the overall project concept. Coalition members participate in the group because they see strong network benefits from completing truck lanes along the entire corridor. Priorities for the private sector were high- lighted early on in the project planning and include identify- ing operational and access effects from the project, resolving revenue and cost issues, and improving the understanding of benefits from the project (e.g., safety). According to the Missouri Trucking Association, the stakeholders who partici- pated from the trucking association saw value in the round- table discussions and focus group meetings on the project goals and intent, although the focus on getting letters of sup- port for the project as proposed seemed to trump gaining additional substantive feedback. Decision Points Generally, freight stakeholders need to be involved early and often, with a clear understanding of the overall project goals to encourage ownership of the project outcomes. If stake- holders (who are users) do not have ownership of the project, it may have difficulty gaining traction and funding commit- ments. For the development of the I-70 Dedicated Truck Lanes Feasibility Study, the trucking industry and other key freight stakeholders were presented with the goals of the cor- ridor (COR 3), and asked to respond. According to the stake- holder follow-up interviews, these goals could have been more clearly defined for them, especially with so many paral- lel planning efforts underway (with each individual DOT). According to the Indiana Motor Truck Association, there was some confusion about which project the focus group meet- ings were addressing. The private sector was most interested in operational and access considerations (COR 2) and the funding options (PRO 1). Box A.7 presents the principal freight-related deci- sion points of this case study. Stakeholders overall were not necessarily opposed to the concept of tolling, however, there is a recognition among stakeholders that the project will not happen without some sort of public-private partnership. There also were differing views among stakeholders on the funding concept with many potential users reserving judg- ment on how such a system would be implemented. There was very strong support for the truck lane concepts (COR 6), especially if it included ability to use longer combination vehicles (LCVs) (approximately 80% of trucking representa- tives endorsed the concepts during outreach activities). Proj- ect sponsors were especially interested in soliciting shipper and carrier feedback on specific design options. The trucking community did raise the issue that supporting a specific con- cept (COR 7) might preclude momentum to allowing longer combination vehicles on the entire Interstate system in the future. There also were questions about corridor priorities (COR 9) exploring issues such as volume and weight benefits Box A.7. Corridor Planning, Indiana DOT: Mid-America Freight CoalitionâI-70 Dedicated Truck Lanes Feasibility Study Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. PRO 1: Approve Revenue Sources COR 2: Problem Statement CoR 3: Goals and objectives CoR 6: Solution Sets COR 9: Priorities/Implementation
39 of users, efficiency in shipments, reduced congestion, and safety considerations. For a major freight facility such as I-70, there was a strong interest in getting stakeholders involved early to solicit feed- back on the concepts being explored. There is a growing recog- nition at DOT of the need to improve coordination between the freight planning staff and corridor planners. Many project managers are not focused on freight, since freight issues are not generally seen as âshow stoppersâ on projects. For the I-70 proj- ect, there was a concerted effort to involve both planners and engineers throughout the agency in developing project con- cepts. For future planning efforts related to the I-70, INDOT is exploring a pilot program on the use of LCVs across I-70 in Indiana and on the Ohio Turnpike. Pilot implementation will require federal legislation but INDOT is pursuing the concept. The MAFC also is exploring a potential NEPA study for tolling on multijurisdictional corridors to continue to improve I-70. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Georgia Department of TransportationâStatewide Freight and Logistics Plan Implementation Background Due in large part to a growing recognition of the importance of freight and logistics to the Georgia economy, in recent years, the governorâs office in Atlanta, Georgia Department of Trans- portation (GDOT), and the MPO in the state, have substan- tially increased attention to freight and logistics. This case study highlights the efforts of GDOT and collaboration with these other organizations to expand their focus on improving freight planning and collaborative decision making in the state. GDOTâs efforts have truly raised the profile for freight projects, in part by using resources from TRBâs NCFRP and other organizations to improve GDOTâs institutional capacity and continue to expand collaboration efforts. The governorâs Task Force on Freight and Logistics coupled with the nearly completed Georgia Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan and implementation program promises to continue the momen- tum for improved freight planning in Georgia. Stakeholder Engagement Activities Although GDOTâs freight stakeholder outreach program is still evolving, previous planning efforts, such as the 2004â 2005 State Transportation Plan and Statewide Strategic Transportation Plan (2009â2010), identified freight as an emerging priority for the state and brought attention to improving the outreach methods to engage stakeholders. For previous outreach efforts, GDOT has generally worked with a small group of stakeholders: Georgia Motor Trucking Asso- ciation, Georgia Ports Authority, and representatives from the rail and airport sectors. Input from these representatives has been used for both long-range and corridor planning efforts. The Georgia Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan (2009â2011) elevated the profile of outreach efforts through- out the state through contact with a broad range of both public- and private-sector stakeholders. A concerted effort was given to form a stakeholder advisory group for the proj- ect to build on interest and momentum for identifying freight issues in the state. For corridor planning, during the develop- ment of four recent studies, including âConnect Central Georgia,â there was a focus on highlighting freight needs, including potential increases in truck volumes to and from the Port of Savannah as a result of the Panama Canal widen- ing. For both long-range and corridor planning, the tools for evaluating the impacts of freight in the region have improved substantially. Several years ago, GDOT did not even have a traffic count program. Now they not only use counts to eval- uate traffic flows but also collect truck counts to measure the effects of trucks on key facilities. Feedback from Stakeholders For the development of the Georgia Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan, a private-sector advisory council provided input throughout the process. The governor of Georgia hosted a committee of high-level executives (from UPS, Home Depot, railroads, and key trucking firms) with special guests from the Georgia Ports Authority, legislative commit- tees, and the Center for Logistics Innovation in the state. GDOT has played a major role in this coordination. This pro- cess had evolved through efforts from the previous governor of the state who had formed a series of task forces to explore transportation issues, including the Georgia Task Force on Freight and Logistics. This attention to freight at the highest level helped highlight the importance of the issue with the private sector and signaled official support for transportation improvements that would serve freight interests. One way that these issues were codified was through an annual summit at Georgia Tech to identify freight transportation issues in the state. Beginning in 2007â2008, and through an evolving process, GDOT and the Georgia Task Force on Freight and Logistics worked with the Georgia Center for Logistics Inno- vation to organize the summit. GDOT was a major partici- pant at the summit and stakeholder attendees had the opportunity to meet with staff to discuss issues and needs for freight and logistics in the state. GDOT currently is working on strategies to integrate findings from the Task Force on Freight and Logistics into the stateâs existing planning and
40 project selection processes. The governorâs role in support- ing freight projects has assisted greatly in illuminating the importance of freight issues. Recent discussion topics between the governor and industry include cost/benefit analysis for transportation projects. Feedback from industry has helped immensely to identify project categories, review high-level net- work analyses, and identify projects that have greatest benefit. Decision Points Box A.8 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. During the GDOT process to update the long-range transportation plan, freight stakeholders have gen- erally not been involved in crafting the scope; however, the agency recognizes the value of identifying the interests of key stakeholders and garnering participation through informal outreach, such as phone calls or off-the-record discussions at meetings. During subsequent phases, freight stakeholders have been more involved. During the development of the Statewide Freight Plan, the efforts of which informed the LRP process, GDOT involved freight stakeholders in the creation and vetting of the vision and goals (LRP 2) and development of evaluation criteria (LRP 3). The process was iterative and took the form of meetings with a defined agenda and solicitation of comments and responses. There also was extensive outreach in the identi- fication of bottlenecks and other transportation deficiencies (LRP 4, COR 2). Since most of the outreach is done by the MPOs, GDOT generally acts as a repository of information, collating the findings from the MPOs and providing a state- wide perspective. The insight from the freight stakeholders on bottlenecks and deficiencies is generally provided through sur- vey outreach or Q&A at meetings. For later phases in the LRP process, freight stakeholders at the statewide level have been involved in the approval of strategies (LRP 6) by helping the MPOs identify priorities. The state facilitates discussion with the MPOs and codifies the statewide benefits of regional proj- ects. During the planning process, GDOT held one-on-one interviews with the MPOs to identify regional issues. The MPOs in Georgia are largely very involved in the process and recognize the value and necessity of their input. During the approval process of the LRP inputs (LRP 7-11) comments from stakeholders are integrated and draft documents pre- sented to the group for their buy-in. Following the approval of planning documents, freight stakeholders facilitate outreach through support of projects most beneficial to freight in their discussions with elected officials. For PRO, since most of the inputs are developed by the MPOs, GDOT has a passive role in collating the regional information for the state TIP (STIP). At the state level, there is little required involvement for freight stakeholders. GDOT maintains a stakeholder mailing list, but there is no formal outreach effort. Currently, there is no separate funding source for freight projects, and thus no separate category in the STIP. GDOT is exploring ways that the TIP/STIP process can be used to highlight freight-beneficial projects (such as truck turning radii improvements) and are considering a pilot pro- gram to identify strategies (PRO 2). Freight stakeholders are not generally involved in the very early stages of COR; however, GDOT tends to solicit feedback and insight from stakeholders during the development of goals and objectives (COR 3) and evaluation criteria (COR 5). This feedback is provided during the course of corridor studies and in the context of larger project advisory committee meetings. Only certain corridor studies with a major freight interest or issue (COR 2) have had separate outreach with a comprehen- sive freight stakeholder group. Generally, one or two key stake- holders within the corridor, such as a major shipper, may be invited to be part of the larger stakeholder group that includes representatives from all interest groups, including freight. As part of an advisory group, stakeholders discuss and respond to solution sets (COR 6) but there is generally not any official action for approval of a particular solution set at this point in the process. For corridor planning in Georgia, depending on the facility (i.e., major trucking route), GDOT will engage the freight stakeholders about every 3 to 4 months (4 to 6 formal meetings during the duration of the project). For recent corridor planning efforts with a major freight component, such as a 2007 truck lane feasibility study, GDOT involved several trucking industry representatives. The study explored the development of truck-only and managed lanes, and overall improvements along an important goods move- ment corridor in the state. Generally, GDOT tries to use Box A.8. Long-Range Planning, Project Programming, Corridor Planning, and Environmental Review, Georgia Department of TransportationâStatewide Freight and Logistics Plan Implementation Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. LRP 2: Vision and Goals LRp 3: evaluation Criteria LRp 4: Issues and Needs LRP 6: Strategies LRP 7: Plan Scenarios PRO 2: Evaluation Criteria CoR 2: problem Statement COR 3: Goals and Objectives COR 5: Evaluation Criteria CoR 6: Solution Sets ENV 6/7: Approve Alternatives
41 creative outreach approaches when engaging freight stake- holders. A stakeholder advisory group formed for the Con- nect Central Georgia study (an initiative spanning the middle of Georgia from the Alabama border to the South Carolina border and encompassing the cities of Columbus, Macon, Warner Robins, and Augusta) explored access to major min- ing areas and industrial production facilities for kaolin. Kaolin is a mineral used in making paper, plastics, and other products. The group helped conduct an assessment of freight connections to the region and even attended a festival with kaolin producers. In summary, outreach methods for corri- dor plans are most effective when customized for the local environment with feedback from regional planning agencies and economic development and other industry associations. Preliminary interviews with these organizations can solidify the understanding of the key players in the region. There is little engagement of freight stakeholders during the ENV, although, if community advisory groups are formed (as they typically are on larger or more controversial projects), there may be representatives from freight or the economic development community involved. Typically, stakeholders would be interviewed or brought in for feedback on the full range of project alternatives (ENV 6/7). According to GDOT, the effectiveness of freight outreach really depends on the region and local support for identifying and engaging stakeholders. In locations around Georgia, where there is a relatively less organized population of shippers or a divergent group of carriers (e.g., small drayage firms) engage- ment has been more of a challenge. These users of the trans- portation system are often so focused on micro-level access issues that anything beyond is of little immediate interest. GDOT also has experienced challenges in engaging stake- holders in very rural areas, since system users are often more concerned with operational improvements of local facilities. For future freight planning efforts in Georgia, there is the expec- tation that the Statewide Freight and Logistics Plan will be âupdatableâ and the process will continue to improve. GDOT currently is considering that the freight committee formed for the project is used for an ongoing discussion of funding oppor- tunities and potential public-private partnerships. Corridor Planning, San Diego association of Governmentsâ Corridor Planning for SR 905 and SR 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Background The San Diego area, with its bustling seaport and border con- nection with Mexico, offers an opportunity to evaluate freight considerations during the corridor planning process, based on two ongoing corridor initiatives: the SR 905 extension and the SR 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry (POE) project. In the San Diego region, there is a challenging environment for freight planning. Due to the interest of commuters and extensive con- gestion issues, there is more interest in highway capacity man- agement than capacity additions as well as a focus on alternative modes of transportation, such as rail transit. In many parts of the region, physical constraints, cost, and congestion issues have reduced support for additional capacity expansion of the highway system. Based on these considerations, there is not a huge constituency for freight improvements. In spite of these challenges and due in large part to the availability of funding from a variety of federal, state, and local sources, the SR 905 expressway has been planned and constructed piece by piece, intended to provide key benefits by improving safety, reducing congestion, and improving operational efficiency for the movement of goods in the region. Major issues influencing the corridor plans and subsequent projects are congestion and access to the Otay Mesa border crossing, issues that have been gestating for many years. Planners began noticing the problem in the 1980s when Otay Mesa Road (SR 905) opened. Previously, to access the border crossing, all truck traffic was routed to the parallel Virginia Avenue, a local street. The California Department of Transportation ( Caltrans), in the 1990s, developed a project to widen Otay Mesa Road, although this was only seen as a temporary measure. There remain 11 traffic signals on Otay Mesa Road that contribute to extensive idling and poor efficiency standards for the large vol- ume of trucks using the roadway. Later in the 1990s, Caltrans and the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) began planning a more permanent solution, a limited access expressway connecting I-805 to the west with the Otay Mesa border crossing, which not only would serve passenger vehicles accessing the border but also would enhance the mobility for trucks serving the export assembly plants in the United Statesâ Mexico border areas (maquiladoras) and points north. The success of freight planning in the region largely stems from the coordination and relationships between SANDAG and Caltrans, as well as positive personal relationships with the chambers of commerce and the railroads. The region benefits from the recognition of the importance of the border region for the larger state economy and availability of fund- ing sources, such as the Proposition 1B bond bill for goods movement at the state level. Additionally, flexibility in fund- ing through SANDAGâs Transnet (the San Diego regional sales tax for transportation improvements) sales tax allows the exploration of projects with regional benefits. Stakeholder Engagement Activities Generally, within the region there are not a lot of resources to do freight planning. For the SR 905 corridor planning pro- cess, freight stakeholders participated in the alternatives
42 analysis during the project development team process. The process also benefited through support from the chamber of commerce, trucking firms, and the railroad. Key regional stakeholders, such as representatives from the maquiladoras help raise awareness for freight movement issues; however, other constituents are largely absent. Throughout the pro- cess, these key stakeholders were interested in sharing infor- mation to help the MPO better understand the different planning time frames and operational issues for their busi- nesses. Issues discussed during stakeholder meetings included tolling and financing opportunities and trucking and rail operations. A challenge was helping many of the stakeholders better understand the planning process and maximizing their ability to stay engaged. One strategy included minimizing the number of meetings for the stakeholders in attendance. For the development of most corridor plans in the SANDAG region, including the SR 905 plan, the process generally begins with initial outreach and one-on-one follow-up on local access issues with users of the facility. For the SR 905 process there was a strong effort to identify the vision for the border with input from the freight stakeholders. Background studies helped to support this vision (e.g., traffic counts, truck volumes, delay). The key finding from this preliminary evaluation was extensive congestion in the Otay Mesa area, back-ups at the POE, and a clear recognition that demand for traffic, especially truck traf- fic, was outstripping supply on the corridor. The ultimate cor- ridor vision, beyond the improvement of SR 905, was a second commercial POEâOtay Mesa East, 2.5 miles from the existing crossing. The MPO had conversations with trucking firms to share the vision and solicit their feedback. Value of time improvements and a tolling option were the stated priority preferences for short-term implementation. The process also helped to establish partnerships with transportation counter- parts in Mexico and local planning entities. At SANDAG, there is a separate borders committee that is focused on the new POE. The Borders Committee has a standing commercial forum and includes many public offi- cials, which helps raise the profile of planning efforts asso- ciated with the border. The Borders Committeeâs efforts overlapped with the SR 905 corridor planning effort and involved interviews with stakeholders, surveys for tolling rev- enue (included responses from more than 2,000 border users), and a discussion of ITS solutions. SANDAG and Caltrans jointly managed an ITS and revenue study that sup- ported the goal to substantiate the border crossing project. Stakeholder outreach during this process also was done through maquiladoras/Otay Mesa Chamber of Commerce. Building the outreach efforts for each project concurrently helped mitigate the âheavy liftâ for staff time to conduct sur- veys and engage key stakeholders. For each of the projects, SR 905 and SR 11, the projects have been developed as fund- ing becomes available (federal, state, local, tolling). Feedback from Stakeholders Throughout the process, and especially at the outset, it was crucial to identify the benefit for private-sector stakeholders and explore how the project might impact operations. There are three main types of freight stakeholders in the region with different interests that were engaged relative to those interests: customers, transportation providers, and the railroads. Cus- tomers (including shippers) are focused on how the project will influence freight rates (more efficient operations leads to lower costs). Transportation providers (carriers) are focused on operational issues (i.e., congestion, delay) and how the issues will influence their ability to compete and make a profit. Railroads have the interests of both and often have a similar outlook to the public sector on long-term operational ben- efits of transportation improvements. It is the experience of SANDAG that the customers and shippers are the most chal- lenging stakeholders from whom input is sought. Information from these stakeholder types most helpful to planners is a bet- ter understanding how customers and shippers make location decisions. Chambers of commerce can play an important role here, helping to ferret out information and interpolate bene- fits to the larger freight community. Decision Points In corridor planning in the San Diego region, there is extensive collaboration between Caltrans and SANDAG, and the deci- sion points are related to their collaboration. Box A.9 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. Caltrans, as the DOT, has responsibility for overseeing and maintaining the highway system in the state and SANDAG, as the MPO and the regional transportation planning agency, has responsibility for improvements to the system. Corridor man- agers designated by Caltrans (shared employees between SANDAG and Caltrans) exist to help promote planning and improvements on a broader regional scale. Within the corridor manager framework, a dedicated staff member focuses on Box A.9. Corridor Planning, San Diego Association of GovernmentsâCorridor Planning for SR 905 and SR 11/Otay Mesa East Port of Entry Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. COR 2: Problem Statement CoR 5: evaluation Criteria CoR 6: Solution Sets CoR 9: priorities/Implementation
43 freight gateways that help manage and expedite projects in the freight portfolio. This portfolio includes highway projects, rail projects, and port access projects. The highway corridors ini- tiative began about 5 years ago and originally designated the major Interstates in the region as warranting a staff member to focus on corridor-wide issues on I-5, I-15, and I-805. These corridor planning efforts have been used to identify early action projects funding through Transnet, regional sales tax for transportation improvements. There also has been a growing recognition of the value of evaluating all transportation modes within the corridors (including transit, managed lanes, and trucks) as a unified system. Generally, the engagement of freight stakeholders is done on an ad hoc basis, based on specific projects and builds on a list of stakeholders involved in previous efforts or the Borders Committee. In addition to helping define logistics issues within corridors (COR 2), freight stakeholders are involved in forming evaluation criteria, and vetting, and assigning scores for projects (COR 5). SANDAG has project evaluation criteria for projects allowed to receive additional âpointsâ associated with freight benefits. Freight considerations also are included in the multimodal evaluation, and freight projects have the opportunity to compete for $1 billion in statewide funds pro- vided through the Goods Movement Emission Reduction Program (program). The program is a partnership between the state Air Resources Board (ARB) and local agencies (like air districts and seaports) to quickly reduce air pollution emis- sions and health risk from freight movement along Califor- niaâs trade corridors. For later stages in the corridor planning process, such as the approval of solution sets or specific proj- ect alternatives (COR 6), stakeholders have provided input as solutions are developed, however there is no official action (i.e., resolution) from the private sector. The implementation plans (COR 9) do necessitate feedback from private-sector freight stakeholders to see how the plan will affect business. From SANDAGâs experiences with outreach with the private-sector freight community on the SR 905/SR 11/POE projects in the Otay Mesa area, a distinction between larger network effects and local effects are very important and help break down barriers between the MPO and the state. The ad hoc groups formed for different issues need to be maintained and the engagement with stakeholders kept active. The MPO can continue to improve engagement with private-sector freight stakeholders by better identifying the key benefits of projects (i.e., what is âin itâ for them). Targeted outreach and one-on-one interviews provide the best medium to codify the understanding of these benefits. There also exists a public lack of awareness of the benefits of freight projects that needs to be improved. For projects to gain traction in the region, both the freight community and the motoring public at large need to recognize the benefits. It also is important for the study team to describe and promote the benefits to users outside the immediate region (especially for larger-scale border crossing projects where benefits might be to consumers outside the region or state). Corridor planning representatives at Caltrans are crucial to the success of SANDAGâs efforts. Unfortunately, there is little focused support at the broader state level for freight planning. For improving the effectiveness of freight planning, the state needs to be more involved in the process to provide the broader perspective as MPOs generally are not well equipped to manage freight network issues. Environmental Review, Columbia River Crossing Project Background Columbia River Crossing (CRC) is a bistate transportation infrastructure project that is designed to study and select an alternative to improve the Interstate 5 (I-5) Bridge crossing the Columbia River between the states of Washington and Oregon. This case study documents how the two project co-sponsors, the WSDOT and ODOT, the governors of Washington and Oregon, and CRC staff used various stakeholder groups, including freight stakeholders, during the six-year process to develop the draft EIS. The case study presents stakeholder engagement activities and a description of the lessons learned from the perspective of freight-related decision points from three freight stakeholders, all of whom participated in the CRC project and were involved in its predecessor committees. At the projectâs outset, CRC staff identified the need for heavy involvement of the freight community because the CRC serves two ports (Portland and Vancouver USA) and is located on a nationally significant freight corridor. Additionally, the project is focused on multimodal transportation needs, including freight, commuters, and transit users. On imple- mentation, the CRC project is expected to become a national model, including a range of innovative improvements such tolling, light rail between two states, and bike and pedestrian solutions. Project planners have taken great care to involve a wide range of stakeholders and provide numerous opportuni- ties and methods for stakeholders to weigh in with feedback. On December 7, 2011, FHWA and FTA signed a ROD for the CRC project, which completes the environmental review process and formally identifies the federal agenciesâ selected alternative for the CRC, which is a replacement I-5 bridge with light rail. According to a joint press release by the governors of Washington and Oregon on December 7, 2011, âa final EIS on the locally preferred alternative was released in September 2011. Through that process, advisory groups, partner agen- cies, and the public worked with CRC staff to generate and screen 70 project ideas, narrow them to 12 multi modal repre- sentative alternatives, before selecting five alternatives to study
44 for the draft environmental impact statement. One locally preferred alternative was selected.â The CRC projectâs techni- cal and public process was validated and permission was granted to move forward with construction planning. Specific design features will be refined so that construction can com- mence around 2013. The ROD also allows the project to be eligible for future federal funding, an essential element for the project to advance. Stakeholder Engagement Activities The CRC project planning process itself got under way in 1998 when a business task force was assembled to determine whether I-5 Bridge congestion was a problem for businesses in the region. The task force met over the course of about 2 years and concluded that the I-5 Bridge presented issues to users and would require a range of solutions. Subsequent to the business task force, the I-5 Trade and Transportation Partnership was established in early 2001 and met for several years to help ODOT identify possible solutions, which would need to include a multimodal approach, transportation demand man- agement (TDM), and a land use component. The partnership also refined the corridor to be improved and settled its focus on the I-5 Bridge and adjacent interchanges on both the Washing- ton and Oregon sides of the Columbia River, plus the inter- change to Hayden Island. The ports of Portland and Vancouver USA each played an active role. Bill Wyatt, executive director of the Port of Portland, was a member of the partnership, and the Port of Vancouver USA, under the executive directorship of Larry Paulson, became involved in the CRC project when the port served as one of the partnership sponsors. The CRC project formally entered the required decision- making process under NEPA in 2005, and a 39-member task force was established to determine the projectâs vision, values, purpose, and needs. The task force comprised freight stake- holders on both sides of the river, including the ports of Portland and Vancouver USA, motor carriers, shippers, and business people, as well as environmental groups, munici- palities, and other government agencies. Bill Wyatt and Larry Paulson served on the task force. In 2007, a 13-member freight working group was established to address more detailed requirements and designs and to ensure freight needs were adequately addressed. Members served on the freight working group until 2011. The group helped educate CRC staff, government officials, and the public about the nuances of how freight moves and how the multimodal transporta- tion system is used in the region. The group provided valu- able insights and technical details that were incorporated into the work of the CRC staff. The project currently is transition- ing to a new bistate committee that will have freight interests represented. In addition, CRC staff has committed to provide continued updates for the freight community. When setting up the task force and freight working group, CRC staff tapped internal and external knowledge to identify participants to represent the various freight interests in the region. To accomplish this, CRC staff gathered names from the ports, the Columbia Corridor Association, and Jubitz Corpo- ration (a truck stop operator), as well as others. During this long, complex process, the CRC project gained several cham- pions in every stakeholder sector, those who participated in the task force and freight working group as well as those outside the formal groups. Key champions were both ports and the City of Portland Freight Bureau. This ensured that all interests were represented and heard, and kept the momentum going. Formal freight stakeholder engagement evolved over time. The chronology of the establishment of the various advisory groups is as follows: 2005, task force; 2007, freight working group, Marine Drive Interchange Stakeholders Group, and Perfor- mance Measures Advisory Group; 2008, Project Sponsors Council (members selected by the governors of Washington and Oregon); and 2012, future bistate Citizens Advisory Com- mittee. The project did have a prescribed process for determin- ing the length of time each group remained active. Each group sunset at appropriate times with some overlapping responsi- bilities due to project and stakeholder needs. CRC staff used formal working group meetings, open houses, listening sessions, the project website, phone calls, presentations out in the field, and a huge e-mail distribution list to provide project updates and solicit feedback from interested parties. The various methods of engagement have proved very useful. It also has been helpful that the CRC proj- ect support team is knowledgeable, has authority to speak on behalf of the project, has a consistent message, and maintains continuity in the information provided to stakeholders and the general public. The amount of interaction that stake- holders desire about this project has been a function of geog- raphy and transportation system use. CRC staff members had frequent interaction with the two ports and motor carriers, with extensive engagement with environmental and neigh- borhood groups and MPOs. CRC staff has solicited technical feedback throughout the entire project about such things as commodity flows, freight corridors, and bottlenecks. For example, CRC staff members worked closely with the Port of Portland regarding different alignments for the Marine Drive interchange. They discussed the portâs volume forecasts and how that would impact the interchange in the future in order to make sure the project modeling reflected these forecasts. CRC staff also got input about truck volumes from Jubitz Corporation and existing travel flows on the various port access roads from Port of Vancouver USA. These data were used to calibrate and fine tune the CRC travel demand model. One example of a project outcome that changed as a result of freight stakeholder involvement concerned the movement
45 of wind energy components. Freight stakeholders in the wind energy industry provided feedback about the access routes (Mill Plain and 4th Plain) from the Port of Vancouver USA to I-5 and beyond to wind farms in the Columbia Gorge along I-84. This information enabled the CRC staff to better model wind energy transport vehicles from vertical, horizontal, and volume perspectives to ensure road turning radii and tunnels could accommodate movement of this over-dimensional cargo, so vital to the Port of Vancouver USA. The modelers also were able to study congestion at key interchanges. Feedback from Stakeholdersâ What Was Done Well 1. According to freight stakeholders involved in the develop- ment of the CRC EIS, the freight community generally cooperated and provided valuable feedback during the environmental review process. CRC staff did a reasonably good job of keeping freight stakeholders engaged during key decision points, critical to maintaining their support. 2. Having the freight working group involved in addressing day-to-day operations and technical issues such as the Marine Drive interchange has been vital to the projectâs progress and better solutions were developed as a result. Freight stakeholders believe it is essential to gather technical input from freight stakeholders about what matters most to them, beyond just count trucks in key areas around the project. Data included (a) transit time reliability, (b) travel times, (c) issues encountered in moving over-dimensional cargo like wind energy components, (d) design decisions relating to spatial and geometry issues like turning radii at intersections and height restrictions, and (e) behavioral issues like truck acceleration and the impact of the steep- ness of a particular grade. 3. The project gained support when businesses and freight stakeholders coalesced under the framework of the CRC Coalition, sponsored by the ports of Portland and Vancou- ver USA and the Portland Business Alliance, the cityâs chamber of commerce. The coalition became an important component external to the official CRC groups and process and functioned as an advocacy group, counterbalancing some perspectives of stakeholders. Members of the Portland Freight Committee, which provides advice on transporta- tion and freight issues to Portlandâs mayor, city council, and city bureaus as well as to the Portland Business Alliance, also constantly lobbied government officials and provided verbal and written testimony in support of the CRC project. This involvement, crucial to demonstrate the projectâs broad base of support, likely lengthened the timeline for completion. 4. Local governments have veto power over the project since they must enter into agreements with the federal govern- ment to build the project, making it necessary for CRC staff, various committees, and stakeholders to address issues to obtain support from the local governments. To move the public agencies toward consensus took great effort and continuous input from the freight community about the critical importance of improving freight flows across the Columbia River. Support from WSDOT and the Washington state governor especially helped in this effort. 5. Progress has been made in getting regional legislators to better understand the value of freight mobility. The Obama Administrationâs focus on promoting exports helped reinforce the urgency of the CRC project, the value of freight, and its linkage to a healthy economy, job reten- tion, and growth. The project process has created an impe- tus for the City of Portland and State of Oregon to understand how businesses operate and how products move from source to market. All the research that has been done during the project planning process has allowed leg- islators to become more knowledgeable about freight issues. These are very positive ramifications that will likely be amplified in future transportation infrastructure projects. Feedback from StakeholdersâWhat Could Have Been Done Better 1. According to one freight stakeholder, the CRC project is not a good example of a positive public engagement pro- cess. There is a sense of frustration that neither side of the discussion actually got the project that they wanted. Freight stakeholders have not been opposed to bicycle and transit solutions, but they feel the project should have focused more on commuter traffic, less on recreational travel. In the end, there was a concern from some freight stakeholders that the project will not substantially improve the movement of goods and people as it really was envi- sioned to do. 2. The project has taken too long and is not a good way to manage scarce resources. Although public input is essen- tial, public involvement has spanned almost 15 years. It makes it difficult for project staff to plan so far in advance and account for increases in costs and changes in political dynamics. According to a freight stakeholder who partici- pated in task force activities, the project progressed in fits and starts, not always having a clear direction. Neighbor- hoods and environmentalists often disagreed with busi- ness interests about the need for increased capacity over the bridge. It has been difficult for the public, legislators, and CRC staff to understand the variety of uses and myriad of ways products move from origin to destination, and accommodate the needs of all users. Education of the public, government officials, and stakeholders has been necessary to reach agreement on potential project designs.
46 3. CRC staff could have found more creative ways to keep businesses engaged. CRC staff held countless public open houses that attracted citizens, but this form of outreach was not found to be the most effective means to reach freight stakeholders. Because of the projectâs duration, it has been challenging for regional businesses to stay involved. CRC staff might have done more to reach out to industry associa- tions, not just motor carriers, and to local employers who generate freight. Project ambassadors could have been recruited to disseminate the message to a wider audience and generate support for the project. The Port of Vancou- ver USA leadership felt compelled to help get freight stake- holders to the table and formed the Vancouver Freight Alliance (80 members), which was invited to CRC project meetings and has provided testimony and written letters to the governors of Washington and Oregon and other legislators supporting the project. 4. There is a perception that the political process at times allows, if not facilitates, stakeholders who get involved late in the process to impact a project decision more than those who are engaged throughout the process. At times the charter of a stakeholder process might be ill under- stood or stated, such as when the governors of Oregon and Washington formed the Project Sponsors Council in 2008 to âcontrolâ the process, seen by some participants to replace the CRC Task Force that had been doing the heavy lifting for three years. Council members revisited old issues, cited new issues, and made decisions, sometimes contrary to what was done by the task force. This lead to questions about the role of each stakeholder group and whose voice should carry the most weight. 5. When a business leader testifies or provides input on the project, he or she is actually representing numerous jobs, not only himself or herself. Often, outside voices, speaking only for themselves or for a few others, drown out the opin- ions of the business community. Though every stakeholder should have a seat at the table, someone with background information and a clear understanding of the issues should carry more weight. CRC staff has had a difficult time man- aging people with unorthodox ideas or people who simply did not like the project without offering support for those views. All citizens should be afforded equal access to the process, but that should not guarantee equal impact to the project decision making, which should be more dependent on the quality of the information imparted. 6. There was some frustration that the CRC project did not lead to a substantial net increase in transportation system capacity, since no more lanes will be added to I-5 Bridge. In many ways, this project is really about new transit, bicycle, and pedestrian solutions. Freight-related solutions (such as additional highway capacity) were largely subsumed by other interests in the planning process. Decision Points Box A.10 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. In 2005, one of the CRC Project Task Forceâs first missions was to create a vision and values state- ment that provided guidance about what the project should accomplish. The next task was to develop a concise, big pic- ture project purpose and needs statement that demonstrated to FHWA and FTA (which are co-leads on the CRC) why the project is critical to the region (ENV 1). CRC staff felt early involvement from the freight community was essential to address the purpose and need and develop an evaluation frame- work (which came out of the vision and values statement) to ensure the designs met the purpose and need (ENV 2). CRC staff used dozens of ways to evaluate alternatives to ensure they meet the projectâs purpose and need statement, includ- ing actively soliciting stakeholder feedback and official public comment and establishing the freight working group. The freight working group was the first group to review early design details and evaluation criteria to make sure freight needs were addressed. A focus group also was formed to eval- uate various plans for the Marine Drive Interchange between I-5 and the Port of Portland and industrial areas, as well as a Performance Measures Advisory Group. Freight interests participated in both of these groups (ENV 3). These focus groups also helped CRC staff address freight issues within the study area such as whether freight-only access and/or lanes made sense, and how to accommodate over-dimensional cargo like wind energy components that arrive at Port of Vancouver USA (ENV 4). The groups met every few months to get project updates from CRC staff and provide feedback. Moreover, from time to time, CRC staff vis- ited various businesses in the region and adjacent to the proj- ect boundaries, and organizations, including the Oregon Transportation Alliance, Portland Freight Committee, and Vancouver Freight Alliance to present information about the projectâs progress, solicit new ideas and feedback, and seek Box A.10. Environmental Review, Columbia River Crossing Project Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. eNV 1: Scope Development eNV 2: purpose and Needs eNV 3: evaluation Criteria eNV 4: Freight Concerns eNV 5: performance Measures eNV 6-7: Approve Alternatives eNV 8: Draft eIS Comment ENV 9-11: Ongoing Dialogue
47 evaluation of ideas. This work was designed to ensure a bal- anced view of stakeholder needs was received. Adjustments to the project details were often made as a result of feedback from freight stakeholders. CRC staff engaged freight stakeholders very early to help identify project performance measures (ENV 5). Moreover, CRC staff solicited input from the task force and various focus and working groups during the entire NEPA process (ENV 6-7). It was the task force that helped narrow 70 original ideas to address problems on I-5 to 12 preliminary alternatives and then to the five that were studied in the draft EIS process. The task force concluded its work in 2008 after recommending a locally preferred alternative to the project sponsors. After commenting on the draft EIS, the various groups and freight interests have still been involved even though the draft EIS was submitted to the federal government in the fall of 2011 and the ROD was granted in December 2011 (ENV 8). CRC staff members continue to make project status presenta- tions in various forums and venues and solicit feedback par- ticularly about finer bridge design details, rather than having the focus groups meet formally, in order to be respectful of stakeholdersâ time. The CRC project website also is active and project status e-mails are sent to the wide distribution list of interested parties (ENV 9-11). From the perspective of CRC staff, the entire CRC project has been an example of successful public and freight stake- holder involvement; however, freight stakeholders have mixed feelings. Environmental Review, Los angeles County Metropolitan Transportation authorityâ Interstate 710 (I-710) National Environmental Policy act Process Background Building on recognition of growing deficiencies on a major highway facility accessing the preeminent port complex in the nation coupled with years of detailed planning led to the com- pletion of a major corridor study (MCS) in 2005, exploring the implementation of major improvements on the Interstate 710 (I-710) corridor in south Los Angeles County. Once the MCS was completed a partnership of the several agencies elected to develop an environmental impact report/environmental impact statement (EIR/EIS) to comply with state and federal environmental statues to move the project forward. The orga- nizations involved in both the MCS planning effort and the ongoing environmental review include the San Pedro Bay Ports, Gateway Cities (consisting of nearly 30 cities in southern Los Angeles County adjacent to the I-710 corridor), and California State University Long Beach (through their METRANS pro- gram). It was the recognition by the ports and other stake- holders of the truck issues in the corridor (including air quality, safety, and access) that has helped define the project issues and highlight the potential benefits to improve the highway. The study effort built on historical involvement by many of the key stakeholders in regional transportation planning; it contributed to the ports opening up their engagement with the community, where they had previously been very insular, and involved the Gateway Cities on addressing the health effects to the commu- nities adjacent to the corridor with increasing truck traffic. This case study will build on previous analyses on the robust public outreach program set up for the project and primarily focus on the outreach of freight-oriented stakeholders during the envi- ronmental review process. Stakeholder Engagement Activities There were several tiers of outreach during the I-710 environ- mental review process (still ongoing). Tier I outreach included the formation of local committees around key interest groups including trucking, labor, and economic issues (The California State University at Long Beach Economic Development Depart- ment represented economic interests.). The trucking interests were represented via the California Trucking Association. The outreach process, which included large group meetings, focus groups, and interviews, was intended to memorialize priorities of each stakeholder group. Some interests (such as labor or the California Trucking Association) were expected to act as prox- ies for other industries during the early phases of the report. A key finding early on was that meetings needed to provide real value for industry participants and provide them information from which they could respond. Strategies proposed by Jerry Wood (a consultant working on the project through the Gateway Cities Councils of Gov- ernment) for engaging the private sector based on his experi- ences with the I-710 project and other recent planning efforts with the Gateway Cities include doing outreach early and often, but with clearly defined goals for the engagement. There needs to be an understanding of the different time frames for business planning between governments and the private sec- tor. Although industry operations planning often happen on a quarter-by-quarter basis, major transportation investments, such as the I-710 improvements, can sometimes take decades to plan. A major key to engagement with private-sector stake- holders is trust and personal relationships. These relationships can best be built through one-on-one interaction with the stakeholders. Once relationships are established, the stake- holders can be brought together in smaller groups. It makes for more effective engagement if planners are well informed of industry issues ahead of time so that they can speak intelli- gently. Engagement depends on freight âstakeâ in the project;
48 the level of involvement required depends on magnitude of potential impact on freight operations. On the I-710 project, it was discovered that the industry was often afraid to take a stand on an issue definition or project concept, since they did not want to be tied to it moving forward or be inundated with comments from customers or other interest groups. The industry is much decentralized in the region and it was diffi- cult to identify appropriate stakeholders. One major issue that galvanized the freight stakeholder community in the I-710 corridor was an initial project con- cept that did not meet the needs of anyone (a large number of residential and commercial âtakesâ). Sometimes it takes an initial project concept that is wrong in order to light a fire under the stakeholder community and solicit feedback. According to Jerry Wood, a consultant through the Gateway Cities Council of Governments, for the I-710 project attention to community and freight stakeholder involvement (including 200â300 community meetings) and countless discussions with industry have led to tremendous ownership of the project from many sides, which has kept it moving. Feedback from Stakeholders For the duration of the I-710 study (from early evaluation to the MCS), there has been an unprecedented attention to out- reach efforts with the stakeholder community. For outreach to freight stakeholders, much of the engagement was done prior to the inception of the actual environmental document, during the MCS and technical studies exploring goods move- ment issues and transportation operations supporting the environmental document. Freight stakeholders have been important in exploring not only the effects on freight move- ment but also community impacts associated with freight (especially trucks). The level of cooperation from the freight stakeholder community throughout the process has yielded mixed results. Many stakeholders, such as California State University at Long Beach (representing economic develop- ment interests in the corridor), have been involved through- out the process; however, some freight representatives (such as shippers and terminal operators at the port) have not been engaged, despite extensive outreach efforts. The San Pedro Bay Ports have generally been very cooperative and also are contributing one-third of the funding for the environmental studies. Other stakeholders, such as the Harbor Trucking Association (drayage operators) have been engaged at the periphery of the project but have expressed disappointment about the involvement of other stakeholders. Generally for the stakeholders in the region, there is a focus on involvement if there is a perceived threat to their interests. One issue that brought stakeholders out in force during the environmental review was the discussion related to a health impact assess- ment, which was developed as part of the EIR/EIS process. Since this assessment would likely designate responsibilities for certain environmental impacts, stakeholders that had not previously been engaged got involved, helping defend their interests. Decision Points Box A.11 presents the principal freight-related decision points of this case study. For developing the scope of environ- mental review (ENV 1) there was some engagement by the freight stakeholder community, especially the ports, with both ports being major funding partners. The original scop- ing meeting also included some representatives from indus- try, who likely attended to gather information, not necessarily to contribute to the discussion. The Tier II report from the MCS included outreach with freight stakeholders, and those findings were integrated into the scope of work and pur- pose and need for the environmental document (ENV 3). The views of various interest groups were captured during this stage of the environmental process. The Tier II report was officially used as âprescoping guidanceâ for the EIR/EIS. Since the project was intended in large part to improve freight flows within the study area, freight stakeholders were involved more to screen possible concepts during the major investment study and initial environmental review. Interviews with freight forwarders, shippers, and carriers during the development of technical studies helped identify project impacts and appropriate performance measures to measure impacts (ENV 5). During the course of developing the MCS, one key goal was to identify candidates for public-private partnerships. Private-sector stakeholders were interviewed during the screening of alternatives, traffic/air quality, and goods movement study. This helped lead to the development of âgoods movementâ scenarios, largely derived from infor- mation provided by freight stakeholders (ENV 6). During these MCS studies, scenarios were explored that maximized Box A.11. Environmental Review, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation AuthorityâInterstate 710 (I-710) National Environmental Policy Act Process Case Study: Freight-Related Decision Points Key Decision points Are in Bold. ENV 1: Scope of Environmental Review ENV 3: Purpose and Need eNV 5: performance Measures eNV 6: Full Range of Alternatives eNV 7: Approve Alternatives to be carried forward ENV 8: Approve Draft EIS
49 goods movement benefits within the corridor, including a transportation system management and technology alterna- tive. During review of the alternatives, there were focused meetings with the industries proximate to the areas that would be impacted by the various alternatives. For one alternative (which would have led to the closure of the Washington Boule- vard interchange) industry voiced their displeasure for the alternative and it was modified. There was extensive vetting and consensus building during the development of the MCS. Although the review and approval process of the alternatives for the draft EIS for I-710 has not yet commenced (ENV 7/8), there is expected to be engagement of key stakeholder groups (including freight) to ensure that key environmental impacts are considered. Throughout the planning process for I-710, there have been some complaints by industry that there was too much engagement. During the development of previous planning documents such as the Air Quality Action Plan, freight stakeholders were somewhat hesitant to get too involved, since project planners were still trying to build trust with industry groups. As trust increased, there were addi- tional meetings and enhanced dialogue actually coordinated by industry (i.e., industry conferences). Additionally, there were one-on-one phone calls and discussion of project alter- natives with key stakeholders. Preparatory to the release of the environmental document, there are expected to be open houses and presentations to various stakeholder groups. The project team has continued to speak at trade organization meetings such as Future Ports and provided presentations to port staff, the Los Angeles Economic Development Corpora- tion, the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), and the chambers of commerce for several cities in the region. There is expected to be ongoing engagement with the freight stakeholder community even after the project is completed. The project is still exploring conventional versus zero emis- sion trucks and financing alternatives that will be refined once the environmental review process is complete. There has not yet been a tolling and revenue study but there likely will be one once an alternative is selected. The Harbor Trucking Association and other trucking representatives are expected to be more involved in that part of the process. The project sponsors may have to shift their focus from identifying the appropriate improvements to the I-710 to managing expecta- tions of implementation and operations. The planning process for freight outreach could be improved by soliciting additional guidance from federal sources on how to evaluate corridors of federal and international significance. There is an inconsistent role that federal agencies played on the project, including conflicts between participating environmen- tal agencies [e.g., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers]. The outreach on the I-710 project was extensive, and some of the most effective outreach tools were the use of specialized working groupsâenvironmental, transportation, and community designâfor each stage. The lead agency (LA Metro) worked diligently to balance the inter- ests of the different stakeholder groups; however, it was an even greater challenge to identify specific freight stakeholders (rather than proxies) that would stay involved throughout the process. For the final stages of the process, including environmental approval and implementation planning, there is more specific outreach for freight stakeholders planned. These discussions will likely focus on specific corridor geometrics, green technol- ogy, and project funding partnerships.