transit meeting, 1/2/13

The Fairfield Transportation Center is one of six transportation facilities in Solano County that the Solano Transportation Authority is exploring for a public/private partnership. (Brad Zweerink/Daily Republic)

Solano County

Transportation officials explore new partnerships

By From page A1 | January 03, 2013

FAIRFIELD — Local transportation officials will explore whether the private sector might someday help pay to improve and maintain such local facilities as the Fairfield Transportation Center and Suisun-Fairfield train station.

Among the factors to be considered is what the transportation facilities can offer to the private sector in return, such as advertising rights.

The Solano Transportation Authority in November 2012 hired KPMG consultants to explore whether public/private partnerships would be possible for six transportation facilities. The firm is just beginning its work and on Wednesday made an introductory presentation to public works officials from the county and its seven cities.

Five of the six transportation facilities already exist and are targeted for expansion. They are the Fairfield Transportation Center, the Vacaville Transportation Center, the Dixon Multimodal Transportation Center, the Curtola Parkway and Lemon Street Transit Center in Vallejo and the Suisun-Fairfield train station. The facility that remains to be built is the proposed Fairfield-Vacaville train station targeted for a site near Peabody and Vanden roads.

Public/private partnerships have been used to build transportation facilities in other parts of California. An example is the Route 91 toll road in Orange County that was built and operated by a private firm and is publicly owned, a Solano Transportation Authority report said.

Michael Cowen of KPMG gave an example from Chicago, though he said the scale is bigger there. Chicago has a 99-year contract giving Morgan Stanley the rights for parking, advertising and retail at four parking garages. Morgan Stanley must maintain the garages and rebuild them over time. In return, Chicago got $563 million upfront.

Fairfield wants to build another parking structure and add 1,000 parking spaces to its Transportation Center near Beck Avenue at a cost of $25 million. Once it builds the additions, it will have to maintain them.

Possible alternative revenues and private sector deals might involve solar facilities, parking fees, transit-orientated development and advertising, according to a chart from KPMG.

But Fairfield Public Works Director George Hicks gave the consultants a caution about the parking fees idea. Fairfield has looked at initiating parking fees before. A concern is that more people would park in the nearby parking lots for stores, he said.

Suisun City wants to make such improvements at its downtown Suisun-Fairfield train station as adding signs and security cameras, renovating the plaza and improving seating. The cost is an estimated $220,000.

KPMG could look at such possibilities as parking fees, transit-orientated development and advertising.

Susiun City Building and Public Works Director Dan Kasperson asked whether the city could say no to a business it didn’t want advertising at the station, such as a massage parlor. KPMG officials said the city could address such concerns.

KPMG is to finish the feasibility study by June, doing such things as gauging market interest.

Possible advantages of public/private partnerships include building major infrastructure that otherwise might be unaffordable, building projects more quickly and taking advantage of private-sector innovation, according to a Solano Transportation Authority report.

The Solano Transportation Authority hired KPMG consultants for up to $150,000 to do the feasibility report.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling

Barry Eberling has been a reporter with the Daily Republic since 1987. He covers Solano County government, transportation, growth and the environment. He received his bachelors of art degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his masters degree in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley.

Discussion | 8 comments

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  • Lil MillerJanuary 02, 2013 - 11:18 pm

    Whatever. I haven't been able to use the Fairfield Transit Center on Beck for months because it is always full. I drive to N Concord Bart now and don't even bother. Yes, it costs a lot more (gas, toll, etc) but at least I can find a place to park in the morning. Fairfield doesn't care, they just care about their shiny new train station. From what I heard the auxiliary parking lot has fallen through, there is no money for additional parking structures, the city won't/can't get Target to open their lot, money from the Transit center is being siphoned off to the new train station. As far as the parking fee idea goes and the fear that it would drive people to surrounding businesses to park, what the heck do you think people are doing now? Please put in a fee. It would still not be as expensive as what I have to do now.

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  • EV CHARGING STATIONSJanuary 03, 2013 - 8:12 am

    Be sure to get some electric vehicle charging station manufacturers to put in 10 more electric vehicle charging stations in exchange for ad space on the wall. There are 5 stations at the Court house, very progressive compared to other cities, and almost always full of Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts. Think ahead. There are not enough charging stations at the transportation center in Fairfield. Are you listening SCTA? You're getting good stuff in these comments....from people who USE the transportation center, or who have stopped using it...

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  • LilJanuary 03, 2013 - 9:35 am

    From what I observed, nobody used the charging stations. In fact, I've never seen a car plugged in.

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  • And SoJanuary 03, 2013 - 12:10 pm

    Because you' ve never seen a car plugged in they shouldn't be installed? Do you live in the parking structure?

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  • EV CHARGING STATIONSJanuary 03, 2013 - 1:27 pm

    Well Lil, not "nobody", not "never", because I have personally used the charging stations at the Fairfield transportation center. According to new data Pike Research's forecasts global sales of EV charging equipment will grow from 200,000 units sold in 2012 to nearly 2.4 million in 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 37%. Make no mistake the future of personal transportation will be electrified. Read a great piece that Bill Destler, President of the Rochester Institute of Technology recently wrote, that provides a laundry list of reasons why, within 50 years, a majority of our cars will be electric. Just thinking ahead.

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  • LilJanuary 03, 2013 - 5:10 pm

    Why is it so important for charging stations? People who park here are usually coming in from Fairfield, Suisun, Vacaville, maybe Dixon. They park for 10 hours and take transit/carpool to their jobs. Why do they need to charge their cars here? Why can't they do that at home? They have only driven 15-20 miles max from their house and then another 15-20 miles back, aren't most electric cars now past the 50 mile capacity? Why do they need to charge at the station? And I stand by my statement that I have never seen a car plugged in (except for the guard's golf cart). How many cars in the lot/garage are electric? If there is that great of a percentage, I can maybe see the need for charging stations but if it is only 1%, then no I don't see the need for more chargers. Also, what happens in 50 years is not the biggest worry to me right now. RIGHT NOW, the lot and garage are full past capacity. And in 50 years, hopefully the electric cars will have be upgraded for instant charging and recharging will take the same time as filling up the gas tank does. Don't you think?

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  • Rich GiddensJanuary 03, 2013 - 8:31 am

    The Solano Transportation Authority is big bankrupt government on steroids. You already have CalTrans. Despite your massive overspending and bloated government, the roads around here are never fixed and you cant go anywhere in this horrible state without running into a traffic jam. Chicago as a exemple of something that works? Go ahead, make my day. I'm really enjoying watching your State fail.

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  • FixFairfield.OrgJanuary 03, 2013 - 8:54 am

    Any public to private conversion should seriously try to offer the private jobs to the existing public employees having experience with the facility. Give them a fair chance instead of blaming government for everything. The politics of innovation is about making needed changes without just throwing everything out and starting with the new. Otherwise the fear of change is too strong and people won't embrace innovation. www.PoliticsOfInnovation.com Give it a chance. Steven Kays

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