Board of Directors Regular Meeting Agenda


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Meeting Date: 04/18/2019  

SUBJECT MATTER:
Receive, consider and act upon the review of a grant application to the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) for a Park and Ride pilot program route to Springwoods Village and ExxonMobil;
FISCAL IMPACT:
Total H-GAC (Federal) 3-Year Investment: $2,181,667
Total Local Share 3-year Investment: $545,417
BACKGROUND:
In January 2019, ExxonMobil approached the Township with interest in developing a Park and Ride service to their Springwoods Village campus.  ExxonMobil stated that 6,000 of its employees travel from Montgomery County every day. Along with the 2,400 employees at the Hewlett Packard campus and other companies relocating to the area, it seems reasonable that there is a demand for Park and Ride service originating in The Woodlands. Given this potential demand, an exploration of providing commuter service to the area was initiated.

Consulting with Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC), there is still funding available in the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant fund for new and innovative commuter and transit pilot programs.  Funds will be awarded competitively on a rolling basis until all funds are allocated. HDR Engineering, Inc., the Township’s transit consultant, assisted staff in preparing a grant application response (See Attachment A for the draft grant application).

The pilot grant provides funding for a maximum of three years with 80% maximum federal participation with a minimum local participation of not less than 20% of net project costs.

Survey
In partnership with ExxonMobil, staff and consultants developed and conducted a survey to gauge demand from ExxonMobil employees for service originating from the Sterling Ridge Park and Ride. Of the respondents, 300 indicated they would use the service if ticket prices were set at $4 roundtrip. Of the 300 positive responses, 175 indicated they would use the service two or more days per week, and 75 would use it three or more days per week showing a sustainable ridership base. It is anticipated that demand for this service could increase as the service becomes established and additional companies finish relocations and express interest in being included.

Funding  
In preliminary planning and cost calculations, staff and consultants have developed the following estimates. Ticket price is set at $4 per round trip. 

 
Operating Costs Forecast ($4 Roundtrip)
Forecast Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 TOTALS Year 4 Year 5
Ops Costs $983,178 $1,008,529 $1,024,752 $3,016,459 $1,044,137 $1,061,877
             
Ridership (yr) 50,200 50,592 51,396 152,188 52,211 53,472
Farebox $100,400 $101,184 $102,792 $304,376 $104,423 $106,944
Net Ops Cost $882,778 $907,345 $921,960 $2,712,083 $939,714 $954,932
GRH2 $5,000 $5,000 $5,000 $15,000 $5,000 $5,000
             
OPS TOTAL $887,778 $912,345 $926,960 $2,727,083 $944,714 $959,932
             
H-GAC Share (%) 80% 80% 80% H-GAC 0% 0%
H-GAC Share ($) $710,22.59 $729,876.00 $741,568.16 $2,181,667 $0 $0
             
Local Share (%) 20% 20% 20% LOCAL 100% 100%
Local Share ($) $177,555.65 $182,469.00 $185,392.04 $545,417 $944,714.46 $959,932.39

Proposed Schedule
The proposed operations will provide service from the Sterling Ridge Park & Ride to Gate D of the ExxonMobil Campus for a distance of 14.5 miles. It is anticipated that service can be expanded in the future as additional companies express interest in being included in the service. The schedule consists of runs every twenty minutes beginning at 5:35 am and staggered to not interfere with other The Woodlands Express services. Afternoon service will also run every twenty minutes starting at 4:00 pm and ending with the final run of the day at 6:00 p.m. Midday service will be provided through an on-demand guaranteed ride home program where riders can request a ride outside of service hours up to three times per year.  The proposed schedule is provided below:

Table 1. AM – Sterling Ridge P&R to ExxonMobil Gate D
Run Departure Arrival Arrival Time
1 5:35 AM Gate D 6:05 AM
2 5:55 AM Gate D 6:25 AM
3 6:15 AM Gate D 6:45 AM
4 6:35 AM Gate D 7:05 AM
5 6:55 AM Gate D 7:35 AM
6 7:15 AM Gate D 8:05 AM
7 7:35 AM Gate D 8:35 AM


 Table 2. PM – ExxonMobil Gate D to Sterling Ridge P&R 
Run Departure Arrival Arrival Time
8 4:00 PM SRPR 4:30 PM
9 4:20 PM SRPR 4:50 PM
10 4:40 PM SRPR 5:10 PM
11 5:00 PM SRPR 5:30 PM
12 5:20 PM SRPR 5:50 PM
13 5:40 PM SRPR 6:10 PM
7 6:00 PM SRPR 6:30 PM

This is the Board’s first review of this program. If the Board is interested in pursuing this pilot program, the Board has several options to consider:

Option 1:             Authorize submittal of a CMAQ pilot grant proposal if a commitment for private funding to                                            support the local 20% local share funding can be secured
Option 2:             Authorize submittal of a CMAQ pilot grant proposal with the 20% local share funded by the                                          Township
Option 3:             Take no action/defer to a later date
Option 4:             Other considerations
RECOMMENDATION:
Board to determine action
Attachments
Attachment A - CMAQ Grant Application - Springwoods Village
Attachment B - CMAQ Springwoods Village Presentation


    

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