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RTC selects operating firm
by Jessica Carner
Mar 19, 2011 | 2741 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune File/Dan McGee - An RTC RIDE bus stops to pick up passengers in June 2008. On Friday, the Regional Transportation Commission approved giving MV Transportation a contract to take over the RTC RIDE’s maintenance and operations. Officials said there shouldn’t be any service interruptions.
Tribune File/Dan McGee - An RTC RIDE bus stops to pick up passengers in June 2008. On Friday, the Regional Transportation Commission approved giving MV Transportation a contract to take over the RTC RIDE’s maintenance and operations. Officials said there shouldn’t be any service interruptions.
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RENO — The board of directors for the Regional Transportation Commission on Friday authorized the executive director to negotiate a final contract with MV Transportation Inc. for the operations and maintenance of RTC RIDE fixed-route services.

RTC RIDE, currently operated by First Transit, is a public transit system that provides bus service to more than 8 million riders in the greater Reno-Sparks area each year. Though the operating firm might change, David Jickling, director of RTC operations, said riders will hardly notice a difference.

“The transition will be very seamless,” Jickling said. “The customer will not notice anything other than maybe a different arm patch on the drivers.”

Board Chairman Ron Smith said MV Transportation has transitioned into operations and maintenance services in markets across the country, so he is hoping their experience will allow for a smooth transition in Washoe County.

“They do this all over the country,” Smith said. “So hopefully the transition will be as seamless as we hope.”

Trustee David Aiazzi asked Jickling how current drivers will be affected, and if they will be able to continue working once MV Transportation takes over.

“I know we can’t require that but we would be looking for that in this transition,” Aiazzi said.

Jickling said MV Transportation has indicated current employees would have the highest opportunity for rehire.

Selection of a firm for the fixed-route services contract has taken about one year, Jickling said.

“It was one of the most thorough RFP (request for proposals) processes I have ever seen,” Jickling said.

In February, three finalist firms were presented to an evaluation committee for review. Jickling said on March 4 the three firms submitted their final offers, which were reviewed by a finance subcommittee.

The finance subcommittee evaluated each offer on a cost matrix and ranked each firm, Jickling said, and MV Transportation was selected because it had the highest ranking.

The board vote on Friday authorized Executive Director Lee Gibson to negotiate a final contract with MV Transportation, which will be taken to the directors for review at a regular board meeting. Jickling said he anticipates the final agreement to be ready by April 15.

In other business on Friday, the RTC heard a status report of an ongoing Pyramid Highway and U.S. 395 connection project from Doug Maloy, project manager.

Currently several alignments are being considered for a freeway connection between Pyramid and U.S. 395 in order to meet traffic demands and alleviate traffic congestion on Pyramid and McCarran.

The federally-funded project is currently in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process which requires the federal government to use all practicable means to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony. According to www.epa.gov, Title I, Section 102 of the Declaration of National Environmental Policy requires federal agencies to incorporate environmental considerations in their planning and decision-making through a systematic interdisciplinary approach.

Maloy reported that meetings have taken place to gather input from various stakeholders including residents who would be affected, business owners, church and community organizations and county commissioners.

A community meeting was held in January with Sun Valley residents who could be affected by the freeway connection, and Maloy said RTC learned citizens were grateful for the chance to put in their two cents on the project.

“We were also pleasantly surprised to find out not all of them were in opposition,” Maloy said.

Information gathered during stakeholder meetings is available online at www.rtcwashoe.com, he said.

Three alternative alignments are currently being considered, Maloy said, but it is not clear what the price difference would be between the three. Jeff Hale, RTC engineering director, said a more detailed cost estimate will be available later this year.

“I can tell you we are looking at $150 million to $200 million for the connector between Pyramid and 395,” Hale said.

Susan Martinovich of the Nevada Department of Transportation pointed out that when it comes to the environmental impact study, cost cannot be considered as a determining factor.

“We have to be very careful,” Martinovich said. “Because (the government) will not approve it if it is based on money.”

The alternative route screening process should be complete by the end of the year, and the draft environmental report should be done by 2012, Maloy said. RTC expects a final environmental impact statement by 2013 and hopes to obtain a Federal Highway Administration record of decision by December 2014.

The final design of the Pyramid/U.S. 395 connector and property acquisitions will likely take place between 2015 and 2017. Construction is set to begin between 2018 and 2020, Maloy said.
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