Funding

MTC Approves $386 Million for 180 Projects Across the Region Through the OBAG 2 County Program

Bicyclist and buildings

The stage is set for $386 million in federal funds to go to 180 transportation projects in 95 jurisdictions across all nine Bay Area Counties with last month's MTC commissioner approval of the One Bay Area Grant 2 (OBAG 2) County Program of Projects. OBAG 2, which also has a Regional Program, is the policy framework for MTC’s distribution of $862 million in federal Surface Transportation Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement Program funds from Fiscal Years 2017-18 to 2021-2022.

In the below video, MTC’s Mallory Atkinson provides an overview of the program and highlights some key facts, figures and policy considerations as the OBAG 2 County Program moves ahead.  Read More

Housing

How Big a House? So Much Depends Upon... Location, Location, Location

December Map of the Month

The latest Map of the Month from MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger looks at an often under-examined issue in housing policy: How big are the houses? As can be seen, the median square footage of a housing unit can vary widely depending upon the metro area. The San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward metropolitan statistical area, where the median square footage of a housing unit comes in at under 1,300 square feet, is on the smaller side. The largest median housing units are generally found in Southern metros, as well as the Denver-area in Colorado.  Read More

MTC

Preview of 1/10 Meetings: BATA Oversight, Programming and Allocations, etc.

Bay Bridge Toll Plaza
Karl Nielsen

Several MTC and BATA committees will be meeting this upcoming Wednesday, January 10, at the Bay Area Metro Center, including the MTC Administration Committee, the MTC Programming and Allocations Committee, the BATA Oversight Committee, and the Policy Advisory Council.

Of particular note is the BATA Oversight Committee, which will be voting to place Regional Measure 3 on the ballot for this year’s June 5 statewide election. The measure would raise the toll on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges by $1 in 2019, followed by $1 in 2022, and another $1 in 2025. The Mercury News covered the topic earlier today and a recent poll shows strong support for the measure. Read more about how the money from the higher tolls would be used here. Read More

Environment

San Francisco Estuary Partnership Newsletter, Bay Area Water Trail Maps Now Available

San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail - North San Pablo Bay map
San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail - North San Pablo Bay map

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (SFEP) is a collaboration of local, state, and federal agencies, NGOs, academia and business leaders working to protect and restore the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary. The Estuary Partnership – which is hosted by ABAG and staffed by MTC – is guided by the development and implementation of the Estuary Blueprint, a comprehensive, collective vision for the Estuary’s future.

The Estuary Partnership has a quarterly newsletter which allows readers to follow progress on implementation of the Blueprint. Of particular note in the latest newsletter is the joint effort between the SFEP and the Water Trail Program at ABAG to publish five maps of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Trail. Read More

Funding

Participatory Budgeting: A Proposed MTC Pilot Project and a Brief Lit Review

According to the Participatory Budgeting Project, participatory budgeting (PB):

... is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.

PB has been around internationally for some time and recently PB projects have been implemented locally on a limited scale in both Vallejo and Oakland. Since 2012, the City of Vallejo has engaged over 15,000 residents in allocating nearly $7 million for 25 local projects. In Oakland, over 1,200 residents of two City Council Districts helped decide how to spend nearly $800,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to benefit low-and moderate-income residents. 

Here at MTC, staff are proposing to pilot PB projects through the next cycle of the Community-Based Transportation Planning (CBPT) Program, set to run from 2017-2021. Read More

Economic Development

Regional Economic Divergence and the Conundrums of Prosperity; ABAG's Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy

Mare Island Naval Shipyard

Over at the Upshot, Emily Badger is asking a difficult, important question: What happens when globalization and technology cause big, rich cities in the U.S. to lose their links to smaller cities and rural areas? The piece starts with an examination of how the Bay Area economy has changed over recent decades:

Well before anyone thought of this place as the center of the tech economy, the Bay Area built ships. And it did so with the help of many parts of the country.

Douglas fir trees logged in the Pacific Northwest were turned into lumber schooners here. Steel from the East, brought in by railroad, became merchant vessels.

Read More
Housing

CASA: Drafting a Blueprint for a Better Bay Area

It’s no secret that that the Bay Area has one of the most severe housing crisis in the nation. In poll after poll, area residents have ranked housing affordability as one of the region’s greatest challenges. The data backs it up too. In an effort to develop and implement game-changing solutions to this crisis, MTC and ABAG have convened CASA – The Committee to House the Bay Area

CASA has brought together nearly 50 leaders from every conceivable sector across the Bay Area with the goal of figuring out how to build an actionable political consensus around increasing housing production, preserving existing affordable housing, and protecting vulnerable populations from housing displacement. Read More

Transportation

Congestion Relief On the Way for Richmond Bridge Eastbound Traffic

Eastbound traffic on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge will soon have an extra lane open to traffic during peak rush-hour congestion. Overhead signs will direct you to the third lane if it's available. Most of the time the shoulder will be set aside for emergency use, but when traffic toward Richmond is heavily congested, officials will use the shoulder lane to keep cars moving. MTC's Mark Jones gets more details from the project inspector, Josh Burmann, in the above video.

  Read More

Projects

Honors, Awards and Deals of the Year - Oh My! 2017 in Review

Atrium at the Bay Area Metro Center

As the year winds to a close, it's a good time to take stock of all the things we are grateful for. Here at the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) and Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), there is an across-the-board commitment to hard work and excellence at both the staff and leadership level. We are thankful for all of the following honors and awards bestowed on us in 2017 by peers and professional organizations.  Read More