The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County Board of Directors today voted unanimously to re-elect Gilbert Garcia as chair of the board and Allen Watson as vice chair.
Lisa Castañeda was elected as secretary, replacing Jimmy Stewart in the position.
The board took no formal action, but announced appointments to the board's standing committees. Committee appointments included:
- Dwight Jefferson was named chair, and Gary Stobb, Allen Watson,Jimmy Stewart and Christof Spieler were named to the Finance/Audit Committee
- Burt Ballanfant was named chair, and Jefferson, Spieler, Lisa Castañeda and Stobb were named to the Capital Programs Committee
- Carrin Patman was named chair, and Ballanfant, Jefferson, Watson, Spieler and Castañeda were named to the Government and Public Affairs Committee
- Stewart was named chair, and Patman, Spieler and Stobb were named to the Customer Service Committee – The incoming board member to replace Stewart in April will be invited to take over as committee chair
- Watson was named chair, and Patman, Stewart and Castañeda were named to the People Committee
The board voted unanimously to approve a $103,831 contract with IMG Worldwide to perform an asset monetization study of METRO's system.
The study will identify the revenue potential of METRO's assets, including bus advertising, externally and internally, naming rights, use of METRO's web site, and other items.
“We don't know what Houston would fetch, if we started advertising, for example, on the sides of vehicles,” METRO President and CEO George Graenias said.
Greanias said the study would “provide data” for the discussion of METRO's policy concerning advertising.
“Right now, all we have is a policy discussion and no data, so we're trying to bring the facts to the table,” Greanias said.
He also said the study includes the value of assets beyond simply advertising.
“I liken this to, we have a garage full of stuff, and these folks are going to tell us what that garage is worth,” he said.
The board voted unanimously to table, for one month, modification of a contract with TransCore, which is performing work associated with the High Occupancy Toll Lanes, increasing the contract by $2,387,346. The increase would extend the contract through March 31, 2013.
Castañeda requested the item be delayed due to several questions she had on the contract item.
Spieler also said he had concerns, noting comments from the public opposed to the planned closure of some of METRO's bus routes.
“This is a big chunk of money,” Spieler said. “This is money that if we weren't spending it on this, some of this could be going towards some of those bus service concerns we had earlier. So, we want to make sure that when we spend the money, we're comfortable that this is the right thing to do.”
The board voted unanimously to approve a $500,000 increase to a contract with Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc., and extending the contract term to December 31, 2013, for additional design support, construction phase services and program management for system improvements related to the HOT lanes project.
The board voted 8-0-1, with Patman abstaining, to approve a contract with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston for pre-employment physicals for two years and an option for three years. The contract totals $167,000 for two years.
The board voted unanimously to approve several contracts for the purchase of non-revenue vehicles.
The contracts total $1,069,079, and included:
- $518,810 with Tommy Vaughn Motors for 15 police patrol vehicles and five compact cargo vans
- $291,490 with Philpott Motors, LTD for 17 half-ton trucks and one police prisoner van
- $167,004 with Grapevine Dodge Chrysler Jeep, LLC for nine full-sized automobiles
- $91,775 with Caldwell Country Ford for one light duty bucket truck
All other items were approved by unanimous vote. All members were present. Agenda
During his report, Greanias updated the board on progress with the light rail expansion project's east and north lines, and discussed METRO's services for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.