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RTC Commissioners,

Below, you will find your January 2016 RTC Board Update e-News. This electronic newsletter will be distributed monthly following your Board meeting. Please contact Michael Moreno or me with any questions you may have. Michael can be reached at (775) 335-1869 or email at mmoreno@rtcwashoe.com.

Lee G. Gibson, AICP, Executive Director
Ph: (775) 348-0400 Fax: (775) 324-3503
E-mail: lgibson@rtcwashoe.com


A scraper at the SouthEast Connector

With legal challenges now resolved, construction continues on the SouthEast Connector project. To educate the community about what to expect as construction progresses, the RTC will hold an open house event on Thursday, February 11. The open house will be held at the Best Western Airport Plaza Hotel, located at Plumb Lane and Terminal Way in Reno from 11 am to 7 pm. This will be an excellent opportunity for members of the public to learn more about the project and meet the project team.

When completed in late 2017, the SouthEast Connector will be a new roadway linking Sparks to south Reno, alleviating traffic congestion throughout the area. This innovative project also involves creating a new 80 acre wetland complex, 90 acres of riparian corridor and creating a 5.5 mile long paved path for bikes and pedestrians. Already, 3.7 million pounds of trash have been removed from the environment, and 469 million pounds of Whitetop and soil containing Whitetop will also be removed.

The project will be open for public tours beginning February 25. Tours will be held once a month, and groups interested in taking a tour should sign up at: http://southeastconnector.com by clicking on the Stay Involved tab. There is limited seating on each tour.


President Obama signed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation or FAST Act into law on December 4. This is the first long-term surface transportation authorization since MAP-21 was passed in June 2012. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2016, federal highway funding for Nevada will increase 5.1 percent over MAP-21 levels to approximately $368 million. Funding will eventually increase to about $402 million by FY 2020, an increase of 14.7 percent.

More federal dollars will also come to Nevada for transit. There will be an increase in funding of 2.4 percent over MAP-21 levels in FY 2016, gradually increasing to 10.9 percent by FY 2020. Additionally, the FAST Act includes $6.8 million for surface transportation funding in the Reno/Sparks area, increasing to $8 million by FY 2020.

The new law is primarily funded with federal gas tax of 18.4¢ per gallon and 24.4¢ per gallon for diesel fuel. Additional funds come from proceeds from selling oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and Federal Reserve surplus funds.


Access to Healthcare Network (AHN) is now providing free transportation for seniors and the disabled for healthcare-related trips.  The service is a partnership with the RTC and Washoe County.  Anyone may schedule a ride who is 60 or above, disabled or who meets income requirements (whether or not they are a senior or disabled).  The service can be used for doctor appointments, picking up medications, getting home from a local hospital, getting to and from outpatient procedures and stopping by designated Walmart locations to buy groceries.

The program received $269,941 in federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration Section 5310 of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).  The RTC administered the public process, gathering input from key stakeholders and members of the community, to help allocate these important federal dollars through the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan (CTP). These funds were used to purchase minivans and to establish the phone line.

For more information on this new service, go to: http://accesstohealthcare.org.  To schedule a ride, call (844) 469-4932.


A rendering of one of the new transit statoions
An artist rendering shows a historically themed transit station that will be installed in the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor.

The RTC wants to hear ideas from the community for naming a new transit line that will serve 4th Street in Reno and Prater Way in Sparks debuting in early 2018. The new line is part of the 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project, which will better connect downtown Reno and downtown Sparks, giving everyone improved access to employment and educational opportunities and support economic revitalization.

The RTC wants to hear the community’s ideas about how the line should be branded and what color scheme would look the best. Now through February 19th, everyone may submit their name ideas for the new transit line by going to the RTC’s Facebook page at: http://facebook.com/rtcwashoe. Some early suggestions include: the Lincoln Line, the Lightning Line and the Zephyr Line. The community’s input will be valuable in the ultimate branding used for the service in this historic corridor.

Everyone who submits a name and provides their contact information will receive a free 2-RIDE bus pass! Complete details and guidelines are available on the Hot Topics page on the RTC website. Paper versions of the submission form are also available at RTC 4TH STREET STATION and RTC CENTENNIAL PLAZA. More than 100 submissions have already been received.


traffic on US 395

With continued growth in the region, the RTC is studying transportation needs in the North Valleys region. The first public workshop will take place from 5 pm to 7 pm at O’Brien Middle School at 10500 Stead Boulevard. A brief presentation will also be given at 5:30 pm. This hands-on event will be an opportunity for members of the public to share their ideas and provide feedback. The North Valleys Regional Multimodal Transportation Study involves the area from McCarran Boulevard north to Cold Springs and throughout the US395 Corridor. The study is taking place in coordination with a NDOT study of traffic on US395 in the North Valleys region. More information is available on the Hot Topics page of the RTC website.


Image of RTC Facebook page
RTC Project Manager Michael Dulude discusses the plan with Sen. Don Gustavson of Nevada's District 14.

The RTC had a successful series of open house events, stakeholder meetings and focus groups as the FY 2017-2021 Short Range Transit Plan (SRTP) is updated. The plan involves what transit services will be provided to the community in the next five years, and public input is critical in prioritizing services and programs. Two public open house events were held Thursday, January 21 at RTC 4TH STREET STATION. These open house events provided the public with more information about the plan, and allowed the community to share and discuss their ideas. Ideas and comments may continue to be submitted through the SRTP website: http://www.rtctransitplan.com.


Image of RTC Facebook page

The RTC is dedicated to enhancing safety and mobility for all modes of transportation through Complete Street enhancements. The RTC is developing a Complete Streets Master Plan and comments and ideas from the public are central in planning future improvements. Among the goals of the plan are to enhance safety and provide everyone transportation choices. Two workshops are planned during the month of February. The first workshop will take place on February 17 at Dilworth Stem Academy at 255 Prater Way in Sparks, and the second workshop will take place on February 23 at The Discovery Museum in Reno at 490 S. Center Street. Both workshops will be from 5 pm to 7 pm with brief presentations at 5:30 pm. More information is available on the Hot Topics page of the RTC website.


Image of RTC Facebook page

The RTC will be giving away a free 31-day RIDE bus pass randomly for every 100 new likes on the RTC’s Facebook page starting this month. This contest will enable everyone in the community to stay updated on the RTC’s public involvement opportunities and receive other messages about transportation through social media. Already five winners were randomly chosen from those who already like the page. To like the page, just go to: http://facebook.com/rtcwashoe and click Like. A sample of information people will receive from the RTC Facebook page includes: announcements about public meetings, information about programs for seniors and the disabled and videos about projects and programs.


Reno skyline daytime

The RTC accomplished many important projects in 2015 that further the agency’s guiding principles. This past year, the RTC completed the second phase of a project to enhance safety and capacity on SE McCarran Boulevard. The roadway was widened from four to six lanes from Mira Loma Drive to Greg Street, and a new paved multi-use path was also installed. The path includes a pedestrian bridge over the Truckee River. The RTC also began demolition of vacant homes near the intersection of Pyramid Way and N. McCarran Boulevard. In the coming year, the RTC will begin significant safety enhancements at the intersection, which is a high-crash location used by 60,000 vehicles a day.

The RTC also completed multimodal improvements and enhancements to make the community accessible to everyone under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). These included projects on Harvard Way and Keystone Avenue in Reno.

Plans for future improvements were also advanced in 2015. The RTC Board adopted the Sun Valley Corridor Study, which will result in projects to create safer crossings, new sidewalks and other enhancements. The RTC also advanced plans for multimodal improvements on Virginia Street near the University of Nevada, Reno and in Midtown. These plans include enhanced RAPID bus service to better link the UNR campus to Downtown Reno and Midtown. The RTC continued to work with property owners and other stakeholders as plans moved forward to create multimodal improvements in the 4th Street/Prater Way Corridor. The 4th Street/Prater Way Bus RAPID Transit Project also includes adding four new all-electric, zero emissions buses to serve this route.

In February, the RTC Board adopted the Coordinated Human Services Public Transit Plan (CTP). The CTP adoption enables funds to reach important programs in the community that provide transit to seniors, the economically disadvantaged and the disabled. Important transportation services receive federal funding through the plan, including free transportation for seniors to medical related appointments. Meanwhile the RTC’s successful vanpool program now transports nearly 600 people every day with 77 vanpools now operating. The RTC also began construction at 2050 Villanova Drive to accommodate more buses and enable the RTC to utilize new bus technology. This project will be finished in early 2017.

Throughout 2015, the RTC has remained dedicated to involving the public in all of its initiatives, programs and planning. During the calendar year, approximately 140 public meetings and events took place. The RTC also recorded 48 episodes of The Road Ahead with RTC, which airs on local television. Social media continued to grow with the RTC’s number of Facebook likes more than doubling and 158,499 reached during the year.

The projects and programs we deliver were possible because of the public participation and input we had to develop them. For more on the RTC’s accomplishments, visit the Hot Topics page of the RTC website.


Marsha Berkbigler

The RTC welcomes Commissioner Marsha Berkbigler, representing Washoe County on the RTC Board. Commissioner Berkbigler is Washoe County's District One Commissioner and a respected legislative advocate at the federal, state and local levels.


Art showing New Year's Eve and Buses

The RTC’s New Year’s Eve FREE Safe RIDE continues to be a success and is helping keep the community safe. All regularly schedule transit services were free from 6 pm on New Year’s Eve to 2 am on New Year’s Day and during this time 11,531 rides were taken. This is the second highest total, surpassed only by last year’s record ridership.

This service would not be possible without the support of our generous sponsors: Renown Health, the Northern Nevada DUI Task Force, KOLO 8, Wood Rodgers, Inc., Club Cal Neva, REMSA, Morrey Distributing, Reno Firefighters Local 731, the RSCVA, Reno News & Review, Washoe County Honorary Deputy Sheriff’s Association, Cumulus Media and the DJ Benardis Memorial Fund.


upcoming events

Jan. 6 Citizens Multimodal Advisory Committee (CMAC)
Jan. 6 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC)
Dec. 31 North Valleys Regional Multimodal Transportation Study Workshop
Jan. 15 Complete Streets Workshop
Jan. 21 RTC Board Meeting
Feb. 4 Complete Streets Workshop
Feb. 4 SouthEast Connector Open House


Your RTC. Our Community.