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1996-03-14 Town of Truckee SPECIAL COUNCIL MEETING March 14, 1996 7:00 P.M. Truckee Donner Public Utility District Board Room 11570 Donner Pass Road, Truckee, CA MINUTES CALL TO ORDER. Mayor McCormack convened the workshop at 7:11 P.M. ROLL CALL. Town Manager Wright called the roll w/th Council Members Cross, Drake, Eagan, and Mayor McCormack being present. It was noted that Councilmember Carpenter was excused from the meeting. Also present were Town Manager Stephen L. Wright, Community Development Director Tony Lashbrook, Public Works Director Tom Covey, and Executive Secretary Barbara Johnson. PUBLIC COMMENT. None WORKSHOP 4.1 Southern Pacific/Union Pacific Railroad merger workshop with Railroad Committee Councilmember Eagan explained to those in attendance that the plan for this meeting was to review the impacts, alternatives, conclusions and strategy regarding the Town of Truckee position related to the proposed Southern Pacific/Union Pacific Railroad merger. She further informed those attending that potential costs involved and the likelihood of success would also be discussed. Mr. Gordon Shaw of Leigh, Scott and Cleary stated that Iris firm had conducted P.M. peak hour traffic studies in the downtown area, however these figures do not reflect traffic during the peak summer hours. Those attending the meeting examined the traffic studies. Mr. Shaw reflected that the 267 Bypass would not solve the traffic problem in downtown Truckee. The Railroad Committee discussed alternative solutions to the impacts which will be created by the proposed merger. Those included a possible West Side Underpass, an East Side Underpass and the extension/expansion of West River Street to include four lanes with turning lanes approaching West River Street being extended. The possibility of closing the railroad crossing once the second East Side Undererossing is completed was also discussed. Town Council Minutes Page I Consultant Mike Christensen of Nolte and Associates addressed the Council informing them that the Railroad Committee did consider relocation and raising of the train tracks themselves, however, this alternative would not be viable due to the existing grade on the rail line. Councilmember Eagan addressed the cost issue. It was estimated that the cost for the West Side Undercrossing would be between $3 to $5 million. The cost for both the West Side and East Side Undemrossings would be in the neighborhood of $6 -$I0 million. Further discussion took place regarding these two alternatives. Councilmember Eagan stated that an underpass did exist in the late 1800's at the foot of High Street, however, in the Book of Maps dated 1917 the undemrossing does not appear. The Railroad Committee considered the additional traffic created by the merger through the "mouse hole". It was determined by Larry Telford, special legal counsel, that it would be very hard to include the "mouse hole" impacts in the mitigating measures. Public Works Director Covey stated that the West Side Underpass alignment radius still needs to be checked to verify that it is a viable solution. Mr. Shaw stated that he has looked at the location three times and thinks that location of the underpass is feasible. Councilmember Cross informed the group that the Railroad Committee recently met with engineers from Union Pacific in an attempt to get them involved with possible solutions. At the recent meeting Mr. Bill Wimmer of Union Pacific informed the Railroad Committee that he concurred that the 267 Bypass would not solve local problems, although it would help alleviate regional problems. The West Side Underpass would alleviate much of the local traffic congestion. Upon development of the mill site, the construction of the East Side Underpass could be realized. Councilmember Eagan informed Council that the meeting with Union Pacific was very positive and that Union Pacific representatives did ask a lot of questions. Councilmember Cross explained that funding is usually provided if a project eliminates at-grade crossings, which the East Side Undercrossing is proposed to do. Town Manager Wright stated that March 29, 1996 is the deadline to submit Verified Statements to the Surface Transportation Board. Union Pacific has agreed to come back to the Town with some sort of proposal by next Tuesday. It would be most beneficial for the Town if they came to an agreement with Union Pacific prior to the March 29, 1996 deadline. Town Council Minutes Page 2 Councilmember Eagan summarized what the Town of Truckee is going to ask as a condition of approval of the Railroad merger application, first being the West Side Undercrossing. Councilmember Cross stated that the East Side Undercrossing would be most beneficial to the mill site developer and could be controlled through land use. The East Side Undercrossing would also be eliminating the at-grade crossing therefore being eligible for some funding. Councilmember Eagan stated that the Railroad Committee has been strongly advised to be very careful in what it asks of the Railroad. Should the Town ask for too much it may cause the loss of everything it is asking for. Councilmember Cross informed Council that Mike Di Giordano from Congressman Wally Herger's office is putting the pressure on the Department of Transportation to fund the 267 Bypass. Further comments were addressed. Councilmember Eagan stated that the Town will be asking for no net PM-10 increase and will ask that Union Pacific participate in the woodstove buy out program. The Town will also ask that the Railroad reduce traffic through the at-grade crossing during P.M. Sunday traffic with no switching to occur during all peak traffic hours and no scissor moves. Councilmember Eagan further informed the group that the Town will be asking for no net increase in HAZMAT traffic through Truckee. At this time lengthy discussion ensued regarding the inclusion of the 267 Bypass in the Town's Verified Statement as part of the mitigating measures. Much argument was given in favor of including the 267 Bypass since without the bypass the other mitigating measures will have very little affect. It was determined that the 267 Bypass is a solution to a regional problem that currently exists which will not be caused by the Railroad merger. The Railroad Committee strongly urged those attending to write to their State Legislators urging them to support State funding of the 267 Bypass. Councilmember Cross stated that Robert Dugan from Senator Leslie's Office has committed to act as a lead for the Town of Truckee in the 267 Bypass funding effort. Special Counsel Larry Telford stated that all Verified Statements must be received by the Surface Transportation Board on March 29, 1996. This written testimony (Verified Statements) are subject to cross examination. Should this occur, those filing Verified Statements will have to appear before the Board in Washington, D.C., said cross examination can be conducted by anyone who wishes to discredit the Statement provided. The Town will submit three (3) Verified Statements; one from Town Manager Stephen L. Wright; one from Mike Christensen of Nolte and Associates; and one from Gordon Shaw of Leigh, Scott and Cleary. Should these persons be called upon to testify in Washington, D.C., at that time Town Manager Wright can talk about the experience of 20 minute gate down occurrences. These Town Council Minutes Page 3 statements will actually oppose the merger unless mitigating measures are imposed, which will be listed in the Statement. The Town has to decide what it will be asking for and it has to be very careful in the asking. An estimated 500 copies of the Verified Statements will have to be distributed in order to serve all agencies involved with the merger proceedings. Discussion ensued regarding air quality and environmental impacts. Town Manager Wright stated that Rod Hill of NSAQD has been involved in the preparation of the Verified Statements. Councilmember Eagan stated that to date the Town has incurred an estimated $28,000 cost in this effort. There is a risk that the three signers of Verified Statements will be called to Washington, D.C., if the signers of the Verified Statements are called the Town will incur an additional $20,000 expense. The Railroad Committee, in attempting to determine how to pay for the cost of this effort, is asking for partners. Town staff and the Railroad Committee cannot canvass contributions and get the Verified Statements to the Surface Transportation Board by March 29, 1996. Councilmember Eagan asked that Carol Hester of TNT/TMA if she would be willing to ask for contribution on behalf of the Town for the Railroad merger effort. Counciimember Cross stated that any mount of money will help the Town. The cost of this effort as estimated by Councilmember Eagan does not include the use of Town staff time. The inclusion of stafftime would add $10,000 to the total. Councilmember Eagan informed those attending that now the community/region is being called upon to write letters to legislators. Letters should be written to Drew Lewis of Union Pacific and should ask Federal Delegates and the Railroad to support the Town's position in its Verified Statements. Letters to the California Transportation Committee and California Legislators should stress the need for the 267 bypass. At this time instmction handouts were distributed to all those attending. Said handouts asked that all letters written be copied to the Town of Truckee, fax all correspondence, where possible; provided a list of rail merger impacts to the Truckee/Tahoe region; and the address, telephone numbers and fax numbers of Federal, State (California and Nevada) Legislators, Drew Lewis and the California Transportation Commission. Discussion took place regarding charter trains (fun trains) which will be traveling through Truckee. Tim Douglas informed Council that there is an effort to provide a new mn from Sacramento to Reno. Mr. Douglas also informed the Council of the different concerns/impacts which will occur in Placer County and how Placer County intends to mitigate the impacts created by the merger. Town Council Minutes Page 4 Councilmembers Cross and Eagan stated that the Town is receiving information daily and is working very hard on this effort. Councilmember Cross stated that Union Pacific has responded to the Town of Truckee and would like to express his appreciation for their cooperation. The Railroad Committee thanked all those attending for their continued cooperation and assistance. 5. ADJOURNMENT Mayor McCormack adjourned the meeting at 9:45 p.m. Respectfully Sub~mitted, Town Clerk Passed this 2nd day of May, 1996. Town Council Minutes Page 5