File #: 2015-1375   
Type: New Business
Body: Transportation Commission
On agenda: 2/25/2015
Title: Approve TIGER Grant Application: Naval Air Station Alameda Multimodal Regional Connections Project
Attachments: 1. Exhibit 1 - NAS Alameda Multimodal Regional Transportation Connections Project Briefing Packet
Approve TIGER Grant Application:  Naval Air Station Alameda Multimodal Regional Connections Project
Joint Transportation Commission and Planning Board Special Meeting
February 25, 2015
Item 6
Approve TIGER Grant Application:
Naval Air Station Alameda Multimodal Regional Connections Project
The Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program is a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) grant available to municipal governments and transportation agencies looking to invest in road, rail, transit, and port projects. Since 2009, Congress has dedicated more than $4.1 billion to the program, with the most funding ($1.5 billion) being available the first year. In subsequent years annual funding for the program has been in the $500 million range.
TIGER grants come in two variations: planning grants, which have no minimum grant amount, and the more highly lucrative and competitive capital project grants, which range from $10 to $200 million. Including both planning and capital grants, USDOT awards between 40 and 50 grants annually across the United States and its territories. The 2014 TIGER grant process declined to award any capital grants in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Under the Obama Administration, TIGER has specified that grants will be awarded to projects that accomplish the following goals:
·      Maintain existing transportation infrastructure
·      Increase economic competitiveness
·      Improve citizens' quality of life
·      Improve safety
·      Use innovative technology and funding mechanisms
·      Incorporate disciplinary integration
It is expected that the Notice of Funding Availability (NoFA), the formal announcement of the rules and deadlines for the 2015       TIGER grant cycle, will be announced imminently. Previous years have allotted less than three months for applicants to assemble a highly comprehensive and lengthy grant application, so City staff is beginning its application early.
The City of Alameda, along with Alameda Contra Costa Transit (AC Transit), will be applying for a TIGER grant in 2015 to build $20 million in complete streets infrastructure in and around Alameda Point.  This proposed federal grant application is referred to as the Naval Air Station Alameda: Multimodal Regional Connections Project. The City has prepared a briefing packet regarding the proposed project (Exhibit 1).
As you know, the 1,000+ acres of Alameda Point offer the potential to create a new mixed-use neighborhood within the heart of the Bay Area. The planned large-scale transit-oriented development is specifically designed both to help replace some of the 18,000 jobs lost when the base closed and to minimize traffic impacts. By applying for $10 million in matching federal funding for transportation infrastructure improvements to be constructed before Alameda Point is fully built, the City will leverage its existing resources and help create a transit-focused foundation for the future development. Building this infrastructure in advance will preemptively reduce traffic impacts, stitch the City's existing transportation system into the regional multi-modal transportation network, and position the development to self-select transit-dependent residents and employees. To that end, the project calls for building multi-modal complete streets throughout western Alameda. These streets include dedicated lanes for bus rapid transit, queue jump lanes for buses allowing expedited tunnel access for public transportation riders, protected bikeways, bike lanes, and pedestrian walkways.
The new multimodal streets would serve existing and future residents and businesses of west Alameda as well as offer improved access to a new Veteran's Affairs outpatient clinic and columbarium, the College of Alameda, 200 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless veterans, survivors of domestic violence, and families, and a new transit hub for buses and ferries at the Seaplane Lagoon.
The proposed project includes improvements to three major thoroughfares: Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway (RAMP), Stargell Avenue, and Main Street/Central Avenue. More specifically, the work - which is all consistent with the Alameda Point Master Infrastructure Plan - entails the following transportation improvements:
1.      RAMP Improvements
·      Multimodal trails and dedicated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lanes on RAMP between Webster Street and Orion Street in Alameda Point
·      Signal improvements and transit priority at RAMP and Webster Street
·      Intersection modifications and signal improvements at RAMP and Main Street
2.      Stargell Avenue Improvements
·      Stargell Avenue Class I trail between Main Street and Fifth Street
·      Stargell Avenue queue jump lanes at Main Street and Fifth Street
3.      Main Street and Central Avenue Improvements
·      Reconstruction of Main Street between Pacific Avenue and RAMP, adding rain gardens and multimodal trails
·      Realignment of Central Avenue
·      Central Avenue bicycle improvements between Pacific Avenue and Crown Drive
These improvements were selected to be included in the TIGER grant application for the following three reasons:
1)      The list intentionally excludes streets where sub-surface utility infrastructure improvements are planned to occur after the first phase of development at Alameda Point. If the City were to use TIGER funds to make surface improvements on these streets, they would then need to be torn up again in a relatively short amount of time to install water, sewer, and electrical conduits.
2)      The streets were selected specifically because they are key corridors that feed directly from western Alameda into the Webster Street/Posey Tubes. By diversifying the travel modes along these routes and by giving signal priority and queue jump lanes to buses, the project aims to attract travelers out of their cars and into buses or on bicycles. The City aims to create a feeder system of diverse modes of transportation serving the west end of the island, effectively maximizing the efficiency of our existing crossings.
3)      The project is scalable. TIGER grantees are often offered a fraction of the amount they request and are asked if they can still accomplish the majority of their goals with reduced funding, and if so how. By grouping the TIGER projects into three categories, it allows the flexibility to focus any funding received on one or two fully-contained projects that each contribute to the same goal, thus strengthening the City's application and maximizing the effects of the funded improvements.
If Alameda is selected as a grantee, due to the restrictions of the grant the City will have approximately two years to obligate funds and begin work.
Budget Considerations/Fiscal Impact
The funding for the proposed project would come from three sources: $10 million in TIGER funds, $2.5 million in private developer contributions from the Site A development planned at Alameda Point, and $8 million from the recently approved Alameda County Measure BB. Staff is in the process of creating a detailed cost estimate. The project will not impact the General Fund.
Approve the NAS Alameda Multimodal Regional Connections Project concept for the 2015 TIGER grant process.
Respectfully submitted,
Lev Kushner. Project Manger
1.      NAS Alameda Multimodal Regional Transportation Connections Project Briefing Packet