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Grand Forks City Council members consider Cities Area Transit request to purchase transportation data system

The system would provide a data and reporting system to combine information from various software packages.

Grand Forks City Hall
Grand Forks City Hall, 255 N. 4th St. Sam Easter / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS – The potential purchase of TransTrack Systems, a transportation data management system, for the Cities Area Transit in the amount of $234,000 was discussed by members of City Council during Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

The purchase of TransTrack Systems would provide a data and reporting system to combine data from various software packages, including the CAT fare collection system and operations systems to simplify National Transit Database reporting. It also would support transit asset management and provide key metric dashboards to the staff and managers.

Along with combining data, the TransTrack Systems would automate many processes that require extensive labor, since CAT currently uses Microsoft Excel and manual methods to generate the required reports. In some cases, reporting from the existing systems is simply not possible.

Dale Bergman, the public transportation division director, said the system will help get more data for the Federal Transit Administration and will also help provide staff information when working on the transit development plan, which is currently underway.

“It’s going to help us make it a much easier process,” Bergman said.

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Since Monday's discussion was during a Committee of the Whole meeting, the City Council must still make the final decision on the purchase — which is likely to happen, considering the Committee of the Whole consists of council members. Funding for the purchase of TransTrack Systems will be split 80/20 between federal and local funding.

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A Birds Ride Inc. representative said in an email to the Herald on Friday morning that the company will “launch our eco-friendly micro EVs in the fall.”

In other council news Monday:

  • Members heard the bids received for a project expanding City Hall parking lot C. Four bids were received for the project and the lowest bidder is Opp Construction, in the amount of $237,788.30, about 10% under the engineer’s estimate of $263,971. The project initially will be funded from the streets and infrastructure fund, with the intent to be reimbursed from the Jobs Development Authority at a later date. Construction is anticipated to begin during the 2022 construction season. The expansion comes as the city anticipates the loss of parking available to city staff and the public from the Franklin on Fourth development and redevelopment in the Herald building.
  • Discussed the downtown alley reconstruction project adjacent to the Franklin on Fourth development currently underway. The project includes installing new electrical service connections for three properties along the east side of the alley between North Third Street and North Fourth Street from University Avenue to Second Avenue North. The current overhead electrical lines that run through the alley are proposed to be converted to underground lines by Xcel Energy. The total cost of construction is estimated at $218,000 and bids will be opened June 16. The project will be funded from the streets and infrastructure fund, using 1% sales tax for infrastructure improvements.
  • When discussing construction projects, City Council President Dana Sande questioned the stipulations put in place when the city seeks bids. Sande wondered if those who are bidding are asked for specific qualifications of employees and whether drug tests are required. Assistant City Engineer Edward Liberman said as long as a contractor is qualified, the engineering department doesn’t have any stipulations in place unless there’s unique requirements needed, such as requiring asbestos qualified personnel with the Beacon watermain relocation.
    Sande also questioned whether the city would be liable if a construction worker who might be using drugs hurts someone else while on a city job. City Attorney Dan Gaustad said the city could be named as a defendant, but the responsibility would ultimately be on the contractor. “I’ve been hearing anecdotal stories across the country of people doing bad things and cities getting sued. So I’m generally contemplating maybe we should have an actual policy where we want to see drug testing policies for our contractors,” Sande said.
Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
Meghan Arbegast grew up in Security-Widefield, Colorado. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from North Dakota State University in Fargo, in 2021.

Arbegast wrote for The Spectrum, NDSU's student newspaper, for three years and was Head News Editor for two years. She was an intern with University Relations her last two semesters of college.

Arbegast covers news pertaining to the city of Grand Forks/East Grand Forks including city hall coverage.

Readers can reach Arbegast at 719-235-8640 or MArbegast@gfherald.com.

Pronouns: She/Her
Languages: English
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