(for the Dane County/Greater Madison Metropolitan Area)






Wednesday, August 30, 2000

4:45 pm

Madison Municipal Building, Room 260

215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard

Madison, WI



--          ROLL CALL


Members Present: LaMarr Billups (5:15); Thomas Carlsen; David Cieslewicz; Robert Cook; Kristine Euclide; Ann Falconer; Ald. Ken Golden; Rob Kennedy; Ken Leonard; Supv. Scott McDonell; George Nelson; Ald. Warren Onken; Dick Wagner.


Members Absent: Supv. Michael Blaska (notified); Darlene Horner.


Staff Present: Charity Eleson (Dane County Executive’s Office); Lori Kay (University of Wisconsin, Transportation Services); Bob McDonald (Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization); John Norwell (Dane County Highway and Transportation Department); Judy Plaenert Olson (City of Madison, Mayor’s Office); Sharon Persich (Madison Metro); David Trowbridge (City of Madison, Department of Planning and Development; Project Administrator for Transport 2020).


Others Present: Fred Bartol (Dane Alliance for Rail Transit); Melissa Bordewin (Parsons Brinckerhoff); John DeLamater; Kim Lobdell (KL Engineering); Ken Kinney (Parsons Brinckerhoff; Project Manager for Transport 2020); Sam Seskin (Parsons Brinckerhoff); Ted von Briesen (Parsons Brinckerhoff); Bill Wiedelman (Parsons Brinckerhoff).





Co-Chairs Ken Golden and Scott McDonell welcomed Committee members to Meeting #6 of the Oversight Advisory Committee for the Alternatives Analysis (AA).  Project Manager Ken Kinney then provided a brief overview of the 8/30 agenda items.





The Minutes for Meeting #5 of the Oversight Advisory Committee were approved, as submitted on a motion by Rob Kennedy, seconded by George Nelson.






There were no public appearances.





Co-Chair Scott McDonell introduced Kristine Euclide as a new member of the OAC (representing the Madison Area Metropolitan Planning Organization).  OAC members then briefly introduced themselves to Ms. Euclide.





McDonell noted that the new name of the study would be “Transport 2020”.  He said that a web site for the study had been established, as well.


Kim Lobdell of KL Engineering summarized the process leading to the establishment of the web site.  She said that the domain name for the study would be “”, noting that the “.com” suffix had already been taken.  She showed the web page and the links that would be available, such as the goals and objectives, study corridor, etc.  The web page is already up and running, but does not have all of the information on it yet, she added.


She also said that 50 “key words” would be registered for people searching for the site, such as commuter rail, transportation, transit, light rail, busway, etc.  Lobdell distributed a sheet and asked members to list any additional suggestions for key search words for the study.





Kim Lobdell summarized the key components of the draft Public Participation Plan.  She said that a database for mailing materials and meeting notices had been started, but at this time is dominated by government entities and some of the key stakeholders.  However, after the first public meeting, that list will be broadened significantly.


She said that the stakeholder interviews will be starting soon (September and October) and that numerous presentations to these groups were being planned, such as a presentation to the Chamber of Commerce.  Lobdell said that this would be a good way to get information out and solicit input.  In terms of public meetings, she said that four had been scheduled over the course of the next year or so:


(1)Introduction (Sept. 27, 2000 – location to be announced);

(2)Presentation of Alternatives (Spring 2001);

(3)Recommendations – Preferred Investment Strategy (Summer 2001); and,



She said that tools to be used throughout the study would include the web site, newsletters, fact sheets and media contacts (such as press releases).  She asked for comments on the draft Public Participation Plan.  Ken Leonard asked what special methods would be employed to address the groups covered by the environmental justice issue, such as low-income populations.  She said that neighborhood groups and church groups would be contacted.  The Urban League was a group suggested by OAC members.  Ann Falconer said that certain minority-oriented newspapers could be utilized.


Ken Golden said that press briefings could be an important tool, and that OAC members should be involved in their conduct.  He said that at important junctures in the study, the press should be provided some background so that they cover specific events and meetings with accurate information ahead of time, for example.  He said that factual errors by reporters can create distractions from the real issues, if they are not addressed early in the process.  Lobdell said that press briefings could be arranged, perhaps taking place immediately before public meetings.  George Nelson said that “bullet points” should be provided, to summarize the essence of the information being discussed at the meetings.  Tom Carlsen said that the television and radio press need to be contacted before the meetings, as they generally do not stay for the entire meeting.  Golden said that both technical and policy representatives from the study should be available to answer questions of the press at these briefings.


Rob Kennedy said that the draft Plan is very comprehensive, but said that it might be useful to recruit a collection of people from the general public to serve as a liaison committee.  He said that it is important to get a truly representative viewpoint at the meetings and throughout the study, or else key groups may rise up in the end and say that they were not involved.  Dick Wagner said that the first meetings will have to be a gauge for whether or not all groups/viewpoints have been represented, and some of the later meetings and outreach may need to be re-thought.  In fact, he said that some groups may be asked to nominate a representative to ensure their “engagement” in the study process.


Scott McDonell said that the Plan is good and that it can be modified at later points of the study, should such a need arise (based on attendance, groups involved, etc.).  Assuming that Lobdell would make the suggested modifications, the Public Participation Plan was approved by the OAC, by consensus – on a motion submitted by Ald. Warren Onken/George Nelson.





Transport 2020 Project Manager Ken Kinney noted that the OAC and Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) had reviewed and commented on the goals and objectives several times, and that he would like the OAC to approve the draft list at this time.  This is necessary to start the public participation process, and to solicit their comments.  He said that this tentative list would be used in the initial process to screen alternatives and to move on to Phase I of the study.


Ken Golden expressed some concern about Goal #1, and the lack of specificity of land use within the study corridor.  He said that more specific land use goals might better guide development in Madison, for example.  Kinney said that policies and actions to address appropriate development will need to be a later phase of the study, and that it would be more useful to discuss it at that time.  Golden said that this is an important issue for land use and should certainly not be neglected.  Golden also added that the issue of governance must be included in the goals and objectives.  Kinney said that Goal #5 cover governance at this time, noting that the issue will be fully addressed at a later phase of the study.  Dick Wagner said that he agreed that governance is highly important, but also felt that Goal #5 covered it appropriately at this time.


The OAC then approved the tentative list of goals and objectives, by consensus.  McDonell noted that all of the documents being discussed this evening should be labeled “draft” (such as will be portrayed on the web site), given that they have not yet been reviewed and modified by the general public and the stakeholder groups.





Ken Kinney noted that the TAC had reviewed and commented on the brief statement problem definition and recommend that it be approved by the OAC, as a draft to be brought forward for public review.  The OAC approved the draft problem definition, by consensus.





Kinney said that, although the current map of the draft Transport 2020 study corridor seems to be somewhat narrowly focused on the metropolitan area, it is intended to show only the initial study area and the area of the most problematic travel challenges.  He said the study area is intended to operate with a much larger regional system as well, hence the arrows leading to the outer ring communities (such as Cottage Grove, De Forest, Waunakee, etc.).  These arrows indicate future extensions of the system as future phase of implementation are considered (after this study is completed).  He said that, due to budget concerns, all corridors cannot be studied at this time.  He added that ridership is the primary factor (among other factors) for leaving some community extensions out of this first corridor study.  Rob Kennedy said that the narrowly-focused study area is the result of previous examinations of this issue, such as the 1992 LRT Study and the 1997 Commuter Rail study.


Dick Wagner said that Fitchburg is pushing for a commuter rail extension (to Oregon) and added that excursions or other trip purposes (other than commuter purposes) could be possibilities for “secondary” corridors.  Kristine Euclide noted that the community of Fitchburg is not labeled on the map, and should be on all future maps.  Scott McDonell suggested extending the arrows further out to the communities, to show that they indeed might be important future extensions of the initial system being studied in Transport 2020.  Ann Falconer said that it is important to convey the importance of these communities in the future of this system.  McDonell agreed and said that a cover letter should be attached to all future versions of this study area map, to indicate this and clarify the purpose of the study area.  Wagner said that this verbiage should be included directly on the map, in a legend or other place.  Kinney said that bullet points could be utilized to get these concerns across – especially the fact that existing corridors should be preserved for future transportation uses.





In terms of the process used to narrow the initial range of land use and transportation alternatives to be evaluated in Phase I of Transport 2020, Ken Kinney said that a series of technical workshops were held.  The Technical Advisory Committee reviewed the work done by those sub-groups and have recommended that a number of alternatives move forward for initial evaluation.


Kinney pointed out that federal guidelines help define the alternatives as well.  He said that alternatives being evaluated must come from the problems that have been defined, and must reflect travel markets (and not be driven by facilities).  He also said that a broad range of options must be considered in the evaluation, at the appropriate level.  He said that low-cost options must be considered, and added that options must be realistic and competitive as well (i.e., no “straw-persons” can be evaluated).  Kinney said that, so far, the TAC has been careful to follow these guidelines.


Land Use Alternatives

Sam Seskin of the PB Team’s Portland office briefly described the three land use scenarios that were being recommended for use in the modeling of the initial alternatives – (1) a “trends” scenario, (2) a “local plans” scenario, and (3) the “Vision 2020” scenario.  He said that, in general, land use scenarios used in AA modeling need to be distinct from one another and have technical and political credibility.  He added that he felt the three scenarios being recommended at this time met those benchmarks.  He said that all three scenarios have been discussed with extensive public involvement and are well suited for this study.


Seskin described how the 3 scenarios differed from one another, basically differences in population density, dwelling unit density and employment density.  Seskin said that the land use scenarios are important in determining travel patterns and the transportation alternatives being evaluated, but added that most of the land use is already in place and that we are only talking about the new increment of future land uses.  He said that more compact land use patterns generally support transit better than more dispersed land use patterns.  He also said that the biggest differences among the land use scenarios are in the isthmus area, but pointed out that all three scenarios direct new growth to urban service areas.


In general, the Trends alternative has more growth in the smaller urban areas, less in the isthmus.  The Local Plans alternative has more growth in the Central Urban Service Area.  The Vision 2020 alternatives has relatively more redevelopment in the isthmus area of Madison.  Employment concentration, he added, is a key indicator for travel demand.


Scott McDonell asked why a more pessimistic land use scenario isn’t being considered.  Seskin said that a purely rural development scenario could be modeled, but there needs to be more credibility in the land use analysis.  In this community, Seskin added, the importance of planning need not be “proven” with such an analysis.  Ken Golden said that Vision 2020 was a political plan, and an attempt to arrive at a compromise (among highly polar factions in this community).  He said that a good land use evaluation might be an analysis the (reasonable) sides of the those factions – such as even more compact isthmus development or more rural development than is shown in the Trends alternative.  Dick Wagner said he wished that Transport 2020 would not re-create the land use discussions that might become a distraction in this study.  Wagner felt that, for the purposes of Transport 2020, the OAC were not specifically empowered to revisit the land use debate, nor would it be highly productive.


Rob Kennedy felt that the land use policies (to affect land use implementation) would be an important part of the study, but wondered whether, technically, there was no big difference in the three land use alternatives that we currently are recommending.  Seskin said that there would likely not be a dramatic difference among the land use scenarios, although they differ enough to show some sensitivity for transportation purposes.  He added that the key variable affecting transportation is employment in the core area of Madison (especially for commuter rail), and that a couple of percentage points of residential development in the rural area vs. the isthmus would not matter much at all for these purposes.  He said that light rail and commuter rail differ somewhat, because of their operational characteristics (e.g., light rail has more need for core residential land use and may have more of a special event focus).  However, he added that the three land use scenarios provide enough variation for our purposes.


Golden asked about secondary land use activity centers (such as East Towne or West Towne), and whether or not they were highly important for our transportation purposes.  Seskin said that, in a community of this size, they would likely not be as important as in much larger urban areas and that smaller urban areas generally don’t grow in ways that lend themselves to strict urban nodes along a corridor.  Bob McDonald (MPO director and TAC member) wished to point out that the secondary activity centers in our area are important for some of the transit alternatives, and that they should be linked if the opportunity is there (particularly for light rail options).  George Nelson said that the redevelopment of the central core of the urban area will be the key issue for this study.


Ken Kinney suggested that the initial range of land use scenarios be used, and said that modifications could be made after reviewing the initial outputs (to conduct sensitivity analyses).  Kris Euclide suggested that the rationale for limiting the range of land use scenarios should be documented in the land use paper.  She said that the initial three land use scenarios are not “best case” or “worst case” or “OAC endorsements”, but that they are being used for reasons that should be clearly spelled out.  Seskin said that he would do this.


Pending the modifications suggested by OAC members, the OAC approved the three land use scenarios for further public review and technical analysis in Phase I of Transport 2020.


Roadway Alternatives

Bill Wiedelman of the PB Team’s Indianapolis office handed out copies of the slides being shown.  He started the discussion of Transport 2020 roadway alternatives by noting that federal guidelines require that a realistic range of options be evaluated in alternatives analyses.  These options must include the No-Build alternative (existing system plus committed projects), a TSM/TDM alternative (with various demand management and traffic engineering strategies), and a reasonable Build alternative (which includes potential roadway capacity expansions, including additional lanes).  He said that previous planning studies have been used to narrow the range of options being evaluated.


Wiedelman summarized maps and lists showing the various committed roadway projects, TDM strategies, TSM strategies (including signal modifications), and some potential future capacity expansion projects - for modeling purposes only.  He added that these improvements are only being included to show their potential impact on the transit systems and traffic in the primary corridors being evaluated in Transport 2020.  He said that other studies are looking at those facilities in much greater detail, but added that they should not be ignored here.


 Note: Copies of Wiedelman’s handouts can be obtained by request.


Wiedelman pointed out that there are many constraints to capacity improvements in most of the urban corridors, but said that consideration of these capacity improvements must be clearly documented in this study, per federal guidelines.  He pointed out, however, that freeways in the isthmus (for example) have been discounted in previous planning efforts and that they would not need to be revisited in this study.  The options need to be somewhat reasonable for even cursory evaluation.


Ken Golden pointed out a couple of discrepancies between the lists and the maps (such as Lakeside Street and Monona Drive).  Wiedelman said that these would be cleaned up.  Kennedy said that explanations should be included in public documents, to ensure that these options are only being modeled for evaluation purposes and that they are not being proposed.  Wiedelman said that this “screening” process would be documented as such, and that the list of roadways is only a list of “candidates” for the Build option.  Wiedelman said that he would add some narrative to that effect, but said that he was only asking for OAC approval of three basic concepts for roadway alternatives – No-Build, TSM/TDM, and Build.  Ann Falconer added that the “screening” process needs to be explained clearly.  McDonell said that this should be clarified for the upcoming public meetings and asked that the map be circulated prior to that.


Tom Carlsen said that these roadway options should not be thought of as “choices” with the transit options or that the needs/markets are interchangeable.  These options, he added, are system alternatives that work together, but they may not necessarily replace the need for one another.


The OAC then approved the tentative list of roadway alternative “concepts” for further evaluation.


Transit Alternatives

Ken Kinney and Ted von Briesen (of the PB Team’s Milwaukee office) then summarized the various rail and bus transit options to be evaluated in Phase I of Transport 2020.


For rail options along the existing rail rights-of-way (i.e., traditional commuter rail), Kinney said that the corridors linking downtown Madison would be considered as initial options for linking the longer-distance trips.  In addition, for the shorter, intra-urban trips, a street-running system (such as a light rail system) would be considered along a number of potential urban alignments.


Some alignments being considered for early consideration include:


Commuter Rail (existing rail track)

- Wisconsin and Southern Railroad (WSOR) line from Middleton to downtown Madison;

- WSOR rail corridor from downtown Madison to McFarland;

- WSOR rail corridor from the UW, through Monona Terrace, to the east side of Madison;

- Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) line to Sun Prairie; and,

- CPR corridor north to the Dane County Regional Airport.


Light Rail (within the street right-of-way)

- Light Rail Transit (LRT) in the Johnson/Gorham Street corridor;

- LRT in the East Washington/West Washington Avenue corridor;

- LRT in the Wilson/Doty Street corridor;

- LRT in the University Avenue/Johnson Street corridor;

- LRT in the Regent Street corridor;

- LRT in the University Avenue corridor west to the City of Middleton;

- LRT in the Speedway/Mineral Point Road corridor;

- LRT in the Monroe Street/Odana Road corridor; and,

- LRT in the Packers Avenue corridor.


Kinney noted that some of these options may be removed early in the process, due to costs, difficulties in construction or neighborhood concerns.  He said that these preliminary options would be discussed at the first Public Informational Meeting in late September.


Golden asked why the Southwest Bike Path was not included as an option.  Kinney felt that this was not a likely alternative at this time.  McDonell asked why Stoughton wasn’t being considered in the Phase I analysis, given their strong ridership potential.  Golden asked about environmental justice issues and how the Phase I alternatives would be addressing those areas.  Kinney said that those areas would need to be considered throughout the study


Ted von Briesen then provided some further detail in regard to the various rail transit alternatives.  He stressed the importance of the “funneling” or screening process, and added that the initial stages of the study process should start as broad as is reasonable.  He said that the area’s geography, existing density in the isthmus, and numerous existing rail lines to the central city provide remarkable potential for high-capacity transit.  He said, however, that physics will need to be considered to determine the eventual alternative – in essence, all alternatives will need to utilize urban space and trade-offs will need discussion.


Von Briesen then showed some maps with the conceptual alternatives to potentially be brought forward for initial public review.  He added that the NEPA process will be done in later phases, but that some of the environmental/neighborhood impacts need discussion at the alternatives analysis phase.  He said that it is important that the planning process follow the federal guidelines carefully, or else the entire project could be in jeopardy – as has occurred in other urban areas.


Von Briesen also said that travel markets need careful review and discussion, particularly in terms of identifying potential alignments for the various transit systems.  He noted that, in the isthmus area, there are two primary destination/employment markets – the UW and the Capitol employment area – and these markets will be the engine that drives the transit systems in this study (i.e., serve as the core of the system).  He said that the secondary markets would be involved, but would not form the core of the system.  He said that the core of this system must be simple (operationally) and run well, but can also effectively serve the outer edges of the system.  Von Briesen said that this type of a system design allows for frequent and convenient service and minimizes transfers (which will help to maximize ridership).  He said that the Dallas rail system operates this way and has been very successful – primarily due to its simplicity.


Von Briesen said that a series of potential rights-of-way were discussed by the TAC.  He said that, in the downtown area, the existing rail line was well-located - with the only drawback being its location to some of the key employment destinations.  Visibility of that station area is also a concern, but he added that this could be addressed in a number of ways, including the use of attractive pedestrian amenities.


He said that the street running options have a number of engineering challenges, such as right turns (which cause noise).  However, he also said that maximizing ridership may require getting closer to the origins and destinations, and running in the street provides for that to some degree.  Von Briesen then discussed some of the details about the various potential street running options.  He said that some options had good opportunities for existing right-of-way and ease in linking back to the existing rail corridor.  He pointed out that, while this downtown area has the most challenges, it also will be the key to whether or not the transit system is ultimately successful.


Rob Kennedy said that the rail alignment could prove to be the most feasible, but said that the potential for deviating off the track (onto streets) at key destination areas should be explored further.  He also said that less used streets could be utilized, in an effort to enhance the probability that these options might make it to the end of the analysis.  Von Briesen agreed and said that the mixing of these street running options creates some opportunities.  Ken Kinney cautioned the OAC that there need not be firm decisions made about specific street running routes, at this time, at least for purposes of ridership modeling.  He added that the TAC recommended these initial range of options to the OAC because they are somewhat distinct from one another and can be useful for initial data gathering (not precluding any further refinements or changes).  Scott McDonell said that a number of options should be considered at some point and that the OAC should discuss some of these issues.


David Cieslewicz asked about the potential for examining the historic streetcar system and also reviewing the feasibility of State Street.  Von Briesen felt that State Street was potentially too narrow and had other challenges, such as the need for delivery vehicles to use the street during peak travel periods.  State Street, he added, is also a very short segment but said that it could be a possibility.  Cieslewicz added that the option of getting buses off of State Street is an attractive possibility, especially in the opinion of many State Street merchants.  Kennedy agreed.  Kinney said that it should continue to be an option at this point.


Ken Golden said that he is concerned that the Technical Advisory Committee has been driving the process so far, and that the OAC should have a more prominent role.  He said that brainstorming on these ideas should take place, and that the OAC should be sure to “think outside the box” at this stage.  He gave the example that the direction of traffic flow was likely not considered at the TAC level, although he acknowledged that it may not be feasible.  However, he said that it could be considered as part of these options.  He also said that King Street/Main Street options could be looked at more seriously.  Cieslewicz added that the visitor component of these potential systems needs explicit consideration.  Von Briesen agreed that these options should be considered at some point.


Dick Wagner said that he attended some TAC meetings and that there were some very good discussions, particularly about travel markets, that led to these initial recommendations.  He said that a circulator system for visitor-oriented trips has been proposed and said that this (or another option) could be a part of the system being evaluated in Transport 2020.  Golden said that he is concerned that the public may perceive street-running tracks proposed for a certain location, when in fact the ridership/market issue may not show any difference.  He said that the process of evaluating this initial range of options needed to carefully thought through.


Cieslewicz said that he didn’t think that a city of  Madison’s size could support two rail systems.  George Nelson wondered how far people generally are willing to walk to catch a train or bus.  He said that in Europe it is common to walk long distances, but added that Madison is much smaller and that conditions are different here.  Nelson agreed that the core design of the system (near the UW and Capitol) seem like a given, but that branching out to the periphery will create some serious concerns.  Von Briesen agreed and added that the design of the system is more art than science at this point.


Golden and McDonell said that the range of options is more than sufficient for ridership modeling purposes, but that further brainstorming may be needed (by the OAC).  Kinney said that only broad options would be portrayed for public consumption.  He said that, in the downtown area, three basic street concepts would be modeled – with varying degrees of distance from the Capitol Square.  Von Briesen agreed and said that exact streets need not be fully decided until preliminary engineering phases.  Golden said that it is important for the City Traffic Engineer to be in these discussions as well, since the detailed options may have a tremendous impacts on traffic circulation.  He also said that street running rail options in the downtown area would continue to be everything between Lakes Mendota and Monona.


Kinney then summarized some of the express bus and bus rapid transit options, basically mirroring the rail options and providing similar levels of service (and serving the same markets).  He said that the alignments would differ, though.  Kinney said that a separate two-lane road for buses would be considered along the current rail corridor to provide this high level of bus service.  He said that the benefit of buses (over rail) is that the buses can deviate onto streets to provide direct, front-door service to key destinations.  Kinney also said that diamond lanes could be used to carry buses along certain City streets, such as East Washington Avenue, University Avenue, and Mineral Point Road/Whitney Way.  These concepts, he added, were being recommended by the TAC for modeling purposes.


Golden said that there are some park plans in the east side rail corridor that need to be considered.  McDonell said that impacts of removing freight rails at MG&E needed to be considered.  Kinney said that both could exist (i.e., tracks imbedded within the concrete streets).


Kinney pointed out that, in terms of overall process and next steps, development of performance measures was the last step of the initial scoping process in Transport 2020.  He also said that three reports were being developed – on goals and objectives, problem definition, and initial alternatives.  Kinney said that the early Phase I analysis will include travel demand/ridership forecasting, and capital and operating cost development.  Further refinements would be made after that, he said.  He also said that some of the land use impact and environmental analysis should begin earlier, in Phase I.


Rob Kennedy expressed concern about the bus feeder system to be used in modeling.  He also said that environmental justice issues need explicit consideration, when considering bus system alternatives.  Kinney said that they would be considered.  Kennedy said that, conceptually, bus service to outlying communities needs consideration at some point in the study.  McDonell said that some description of the reasons for omitting various communities from early consideration needs to be included in the Phase I documentation.  Kinney said that they would be.





Dick Wagner referred to the article in the packet, regarding Austin, TX, and noted that the article has some interesting information about a city similar to Madison, particularly in terms of the growth management and transportation challenges it has been facing over the past decade.


Wagner also suggested that the “consumer reports” exercise be conducted with the OAC at a future meeting.  Kinney said that it will be part of the next OAC meeting/brainstorming session.



12.            FUTURE MEETINGS


The Committee scheduled the following meetings over the next couple of months:


- Oversight Advisory Committee Meeting #7: Wednesday, September 27th, 4:45 pm, Room 201 City/County Building (Council Chambers);


- Transport 2020 Public Informational Meeting #1: Monday, October 30th, 5:00-8:00 pm (brief presentation at 6:00), Monona Terrace Convention Center; and,


- Oversight Advisory Committee Meeting #8: Wednesday, November 1st, 6:00 pm, Room 201 City/County Building (Council Chambers).



13.            ADJOURNMENT


The Committee adjourned its meeting at 7:55 p.m.




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