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RFD- 3363 Business Items   Item #   10. b.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 07/16/2018  
Title:    Edmonton Metropolitan Region Transit Commission Memorandum of Understanding - Levasseur
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Spruce Grove is an easy and convenient City to get around in, with a high degree of ease of mobility for transportation, walkability and connectivity.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
The City of Spruce Grove has been invited to participate along with other Metro Edmonton Municipalities in the establishment of a Regional Transit Services Commission.The next phase of work will see a transition team create the draft bylaws of the commission and prepare a three year operational plan and budget. By signing a Memorandum of Understanding, the City of Spruce Grove will have the opportunity to participate on the transition team. No funding is required from Spruce Grove to participate, and participation does not commit Spruce Grove to becoming a member of the Commission. Previous work with our regional partners on the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan and the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee on transit will proceed, as it focuses on local service within the Tri-Municipal Region whereas the Regional Transit Services Commission will initially focus on commuter service into Edmonton.
 
Proposed Motion
That the City of Spruce Grove enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Edmonton and the City of St. Albert to participate in the Phase 2 discussions on the development of an Edmonton Metropolitan Region Transit Commission.

Background/Analysis
Since 2010, there have been discussions regarding the formation of a regional transit commission for the Metro Edmonton Region. Most of these discussions were facilitated by the Capital Region Board (CRB) Transit sub-committee. During this time there were four reports/studies conducted which resulted in the 2014 CRB Inter-municipal Transit Governance Study. The report concluded that a regional commission in the long run would represent a more effective and efficient way to address the region's long term growth, management goals and objectives as opposed to continuing to operate separate municipal specific transit services.

Many of the Capital Region municipalities did voice concerns about the report's recommendations and conclusions. Before the CRB could address these concerns, the cities of Edmonton and St. Albert announced they would be moving forward to explore the possibility of integrating their systems. Since then, the cities of Edmonton and St. Albert have completed Phase 1 of the Regional Commuter Service Phased Implementation Plan (2016). The overall plan includes three phases: 

Phase 1:  Governance Design (Completed with a MOU dated September 2017)
Phase 2: Entity Establishment and Transition
Phase 3: Service Operation

The Regional Transit Services Commission will initially provide inter-city bus transit service (i.e. commuter service). In the future the commission may expand to provide additional transit services, such as local intra-city service, specialized transit service, and light rail transit.

On December 5, 2017 the Mayors of Edmonton and St. Albert wrote a letter to the Alberta Ministers of Transportation and Municipal Affairs requesting provincial support in creating a regional transit commission (Phase 2). On March 27, 2018 the Minister of Municipal Affairs approved funding of $3.735 million allowing Phase 2 to proceed with the following mandate:
  • Outline the regulatory, technical, financial and operational framework of a Regional Transit Services Commission (RTSC) to serve the Metro Edmonton Region;
  • The parties acknowledge that any other municipality within the Metro Edmonton Region may agree to become a party to this MOU.
  • The RTSC will assume responsibility for service operation only after the municipal council of each party has approved the proposed bylaws of the RTSC and the Transit Services Transition Plan.
 All municipalities joining Phase 2, along with Edmonton and St. Albert, will appoint two elected representatives and may appoint up to two administrative representatives to a transition team, which will act as an interim Board of Directors of the RTSC until the coming into force of a provincial regulation creating the RTSC. The RTSC will assume responsibility for the service operation only after the municipal council of each Party has approved the proposed draft bylaws of the RTSC and the Transit Services Transition Plan.

The City of Spruce Grove has been presented with the opportunity to join the Regional Transit Services Transition Team by way of a joint letter dated June 4, 2018 from Mayor Iveson of the City of Edmonton and Mayor Heron of the City of St. Albert. An information session was held on June 29, 2018, hosted by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board – Integrated Transportation & Transit Systems Working Group. At this session, the Mayors of Edmonton and St. Albert requested that each municipal council review the proposal and, if they agree, by resolution they should sign the Memorandum of Understanding to become members of the transition team.

It should be noted that the Town of Stony Plain and Parkland County councils, have both endorsed participation in the Transition Team. 
Options/Alternatives
It would be in the best interests of the City of Spruce Grove to participate in Phase 2 of the Regional Commuter Phased Implementation Plan for the following reasons:
  • No funding is required to participate and participation does not commit Spruce Grove to become a member of the Commission.
  • To be an active partner by working through the concerns/issues identified in the 2014 CRB Inter-municipal Transit Governance Study.
  • Bring our strong record of working in partnership with Edmonton Transit Service (ETS), the County of Parkland and the Town of Stony Plain.
  • Being a active participant and advocate for the City of Spruce Grove and our Tri-Municipal partners.
  • Participate in our ongoing collaboration with our regional partners to find viable, efficient and accessible transportation options for our residents.
Work that has taken place with respect to the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan and the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee - Transit sub-committee, should continue to proceed as, our local requirements for transit cannot wait for the local transit phase of the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Transit Commission. It is not anticipated that this work will proceed in the near future.
Consultation/Engagement
N/A
Implementation/Communication
Once the  implementation team is established in the fall, it is anticipated that regular progress reports will be made available.
Impacts
The risks and opportunities associated with this include the following:
  • Potential for increased costs due to increased overhead by the Commission administration;
  • Loss of local autonomy and possibly less responsive customer service;
  • Transferring of capital assets;
  • Greater access to partnership funding from provincial and federal funders;
  • Region wide standards of service which may or may not meet the City of Spruce Grove's standards;
  • Better utilization of equipment - high demand routes may get higher capacity buses; and
  • Long term savings and efficiency are possible

Fiscal Impact
Financial Implications:
The Province has committed $3.735 million to enable the continuation of the work that has been done by the City of St. Albert and the City of Edmonton. There will be direct costs related to participation in Phase 2 of Regional Commuter Service Phased Implementation Plan. There will be costs related to the time and effort of those that will participate in the transition team; both Council Members and Administration Staff. No schedule or time commitment has been provided at this point.
Attachments
No file(s) attached.

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

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Audio from the most recent City Council and Committee of the Whole meetings are available via podcast on the City of Spruce Grove website.



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