Ann Arbor Transportation Authority board meeting (April 21, 2010): On Wednesday, Eli Cooper, the city of Ann Arbor’s transportation program manager, gave the AATA board an update on Phase One of Fuller Road Station – a city-university collaboration to build a combined parking structure, bus station and bicycle amenity south of Fuller Road, abutting the University of Michigan medical campus. The project envisions eventual integration of a train station for east-west commuter rail, if service along the Detroit-Ann Arbor corridor can be established.
Confronted with skepticism from board member David Nacht, who expressed his doubts that the rail service would ever become a reality, Cooper urged a “glass as half full” view of the project. Cooper was buoyed in part by a recent phone call he’d received from the Michigan Dept. of Transportation about another round of funding that the Federal Railroad Administration will be making available.
AATA board member Sue McCormick also gave some shape to the city’s funding strategy for its share of the Fuller Road Station project: Once the environmental impact study is completed, that will make it possible for the local transit agency – in this case, the AATA – to apply for federal funds for the project. That’s consistent with the message thus far from city officials, who have said that whatever the funding strategy will be, it won’t involve city general fund money.
In its main business items of the meeting, the board approved a contract worth $399,805.32 with a consultant, Steer Davies Gleave, to head up the formulation of a transportation master plan (TMP), which will underpin the AATA’s effort to expand its service countywide. The board also approved an allocation of $350,000 for a period ending March 31, 2012, that will allow the AATA to task one of three public relations firms for work, depending on the nature of the project: The Rossman Group, Ilium Associates, and re:group.
Both resolutions passed, with dissent from the board’s treasurer, Ted Annis.
The board made a decision at its March board meeting to change its meeting time and location to Thursdays at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library. Although it was discussed then that the new time and location would begin in two months, board discussion on Wednesday suggested that the target for changing the new time is now August 2010.