What is the Capital District Transportation Committee?
The Capital District Transportation Committee (CDTC) is the desginated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Albany-Schenectady-Troy metropolitan area. Every metropolitan area in the United States with a population of over 50,000 must have a designated MPO for transportation in order to qualify for any federal transportation funding.
The CDTC provides a forum for state and local officials to discuss transportation issues and reach a concensus on transportation plans and specific programs of transportation projects. The CDTC is composed of elected and appointed officials from each of the four counties (Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady); from each of the eight cities in the four counties; from the New York State Department of Transportation (NSYDOT), the Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA); and the Capital District Regional Planning Commission (CDRPC); the New York State Thurway Authority (NYSTA) and at-large members representing the area’s 70 towns and villages. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) serve as advisory members.
Every MPO must develop a long-range transportation plan for their Region. CDTC’s plan, New Visions 2035, serves as the core of CDTC’s planning activities and policies. New Visions strives to have the region recognize the importance of land use design and smart growth management to maintain the quality of the region as well as the quality of the transportation system. New Visions frames the policies and principles that guide the way the Capital Region views the elements of the system including transit, urban reinvestment, roundabouts, sidewalks and congestion issues, just to name a few.
New Visions recognizes that the Capital Region could experience growth related to the nanotechnology research and development activities that are currently making a home in our region. This potential growth presents a significant challenge to transportation and CDTC is positioned well to meet that challenge. CDTC’s approach to transportation planning strives to answer questions related to how different the expectations and role of the transportatin system will be in the future than they are today; the type of future development pattern that should be encouraged through strategic transportation investments; the ways the transportation system can be managed or improved to enhance the quality of life, protect the environment, and sustain economic vitality; and the financial resources needed to provide the desired system and how those resources can be secured.
What is the Capital District Clean Communities Coalition?
The CDTC hosts a number of coalitions and working groups that meet regularly to discuss specific modes and/or issues. One of these is the Capital District Clean Communities Coalition (CDCC). CDCC is part of the U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities program. The program was established in response to the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPAct) which required certain vehicle fleets to acquire alternative fuel vehicles. The objective of the program is to provide information, technical and financial resources to EPAct-regulated fleets and voluntary adopters of alternative fuels and vehicles. Today there are nearly 100 Clean Cities coalitions nationwide with more than 8,400 stakeholders. These stakeholders include private companies, fuel suppliers, local, regional and state government agencies and various other organizations and non-profits. The Clean Cities program has saved nearly 3 billion gallons of petroleum since 1993.
The CDCC has over 80 stakeholders in the Capital District, including government agencies, fuel suppliers, universities and various private businesses. The CDCC planning area includes Albany, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Fulton, Montgomery, Schoharie, Otsego, Warren, Washington, Green and Columbia Counties which represents a population of over 1 million people. CDCC works closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and helps promote their funding opportunities for Alternative Fueled Vehicles, Fueling Infrastructure and Research. The coaliton also works on projects with NYSERDA, such as the ongoing Georgetown Transportation & Climate Initiative’s (TCI) Northeast Regional Electric Vehicle Network Planning. CDCC is part of an eleven-state consortium which includes sixteen Clean Cities coalitions developing a plan and accompanying guidance documents to accelerate the introduction of a network of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States.
Many of the CDCC stakeholders have employed alternative fuel and advanced vehicle technology, with CDCC’s assistance. Some have received grants through Clean Cities to aid in the cost of converting vehicles, purchasing new alternative fuel vehicles or installing fueling infrastructure. As can be observed at many Capital Region area gas stations, fourteen E-85 fuel pumps are available to the public and several fuel companies offer bio-diesel at the pump and for residential heating oil. The Albany International Airport installed a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station using airport funds, and with grants was able to purchase six CNG parking lot shuttle vehicles and several CNG pick-up trucks used for airport maintenance. CDTA uses 71 full sized hybrid electric transit buses in their fixed route fleet. National Grid recently constructed a public CNG station on site at their Menands facility; much of the station was paid for using ARRA funds.
In 2009, CDCC was able to aid local entitities purchase 71 alternative fuel vehicles using funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) bringing the estimated total of alternative fuel and advanced vehicles in the Capital District to 3,531 (2,261 light duty and 1,270 heavy duty). The 71 vehicles purchased through ARRA alone reduced annual petroleum use by over 70,000 gallons. Combined with CDTC and CDCC’s carpool and vanpool programs, it is estimated that in 2011 petroleum use was reduced by over 1.2 million gallons in the Capital Region. ARRA attracted a lot of new players to the alternative fuel vehicle arena. Some of these new players were Coca-Cola, school districts, Verizon, NYS agencies and universities and the vehicles purchased included hybrid electric, compressed natural gas, propane, and plug-in electric light- and heavy-duty vehicles. This variety reflects the “all of the above” approach to alternative fuels of the Clean Cities program, noting that a range of fuels and technologies is necessary to achieve the ultimate goal of displacing petroleum use in the United States.
The CDCC generally meets quarterly at the CDTC offices in Albany. Meetings are generally held on Thursdays at 10am at CDTC’s offices on Wolf Road. For March 2012, however, the meeting will be held on Friday, March 16 at 10am at the Albany International Airport featuring the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Office of Fire Prevent and Control’s E-85 training trailer that has been touring fire departments across NYS training firefighters how to safely fight E-85 related fires and emergencies. This is one of the vehicles purchased through ARRA. If you would are interested in attending, or would like to be put on the email list for future meetings, events and news updates, please email Jen Ceponis (firstname.lastname@example.org).