MTC-ABAG

Preview of 2/9 Meetings: Joint MTC Planning & ABAG Administrative, MTC Operations, MTC Legislation

The board room of the Bay Area Metro Center.

Three meetings are scheduled for this Friday, February 9, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Bay Area Metro Center: the Joint MTC Planning Committee with the ABAG Administrative Committee, the MTC Operations Committee, and the MTC Legislation Committee. 

Highlights include: an overview of an ambitious new joint agency project called Futures, an update of MTC’s Draft Coordinated Public Transit-Human Services Transportation Plan, a report on MTC’s Goods Movement Investment Strategy, an update on efforts to improve traffic operations systems in the I-880 corridor, a discussion of the imminent Regional Measure 3 ballot pamphlet, and an overview of key elements of Governor Jerry Brown's budget proposal.

Continue reading on to see more from the agendas and find links to all meeting materials. As always, you can tune in to the meetings live on the MTC website once they are underway. Read More

Transportation

Self-Driving Trucks and the Demand for Truckers

Cordelia Truck Weigh Station
Credit
Karl Nielsen

Whenever self-driving vehicles come up, the question of long-term employment impacts is never far behind: What happens to the millions of people who drive for a living? Although this jumps over a lot of feasibility issues in terms of how likely truly autonomous and connected vehicles are, it’s a crucial consideration. The effects on industries and people’s livelihoods will have all kinds of implications, whether economic, political, regulatory, social or technical – and these will all have feedback effects in determining whether, when and how the driverless utopia happens.

Over at The Atlantic there’s an interesting take looking at the trucking industry, suggesting that self-driving trucks could actually be good for truckers, as opposed to resulting in technological unemployment on a massive scale:

“We’ve been disappointed over the last year to see a lot of stories about how self-driving trucks are going to be this huge problem for truck drivers,” says Alden Woodrow, the product lead for self-driving trucks at Uber. “That’s not at all what we think the outcome is going to be.”

For one, Uber does not believe that self-driving trucks will be doing “dock to dock” runs for a very long time.

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MTC-ABAG

Beyond the Headlines: Reading Recommendations from the MTC-ABAG Library, with a Spotlight on Housing

Hands hold a tablet with text on it; a large book is below the tablet. A cup of coffee and a croissant are in the background.

Love our daily news headlines but craving some deeper knowledge? Settle in for some in-depth reading on the important issues affecting our region. This month we highlight some publications that contextualize and illuminate the regional housing crisis, including this thorough literature review from CASA and a handy summary of the significant housing bills passed in California in 2017.

Other topics included in this month’s reading list include Regional Measure 3, local Bay Area transportation projects, transit ridership, automated vehicles, and climate change. Read More

Transportation

Fatalities and Injuries From Crashes on the Rise, MTC Supports State Goal of Zero Traffic Deaths by 2030

injury

Bad news for the Bay Area’s pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers: the latest data from Vital Signs, the Bay Area’s comprehensive performance monitoring website, shows a sharp upward trend in road fatalities and injuries from roadway crashes.

There were 455 fatalities and 2,089 injuries from crashes in 2016, representing 43 percent and 25 percent increases from 2010, respectively. Although roads have become increasingly safe for motorists thanks to improved vehicle safety technologies, the data show that bicyclists and pedestrians are a growing share of fatalities and injuries in the region and are experiencing higher fatality levels compared to recent decades. Read More

Housing

Large Homebuilder Pulls Out of North Bay Rebuild Effort

North Bay fires

We recently discussed how record low unemployment across the Bay Area combined with a severe housing shortage could create unexpected challenges for the region, especially as relates to achieving ambitious policy goals that involve significantly increasing housing-related construction activity. Late last week brought unfortunate confirmation of the broader dynamics involved here, with news that a large homebuilder was pulling out of plans to rebuild homes lost during the North Bay wildfires. 

The reason? Financial feasibility concerns driven by a "general labor shortage in home construction" and – in particular – a lack of local framers. From the Press Democrat:

“Our fear is that this is a bellwether of the way things are going to go,” [said Jeff Okrepkie, chairman of the Coffey Strong neighborhood rebuilding group].

Read More
Environment

Metro Talks Presents: "Learning from the North Bay Wildfires" on Thursday, February 1 at 5:30 p.m.

Metro Talks - February 1, 2018

Come join the Bay Area’s four regional agencies this Thursday, February 1, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Bay Area Metro Center for the latest installment of the Metro Talks speaker series, Learning From the North Bay Wildfires

On Sunday evening, October 8, 2017, multiple small fires erupted in Sonoma and Napa counties. Fueled by strong winds and extreme fire conditions, these North Bay fires ultimately burned more than 200,000 acres, destroyed 8,900 structures, and killed 43 people.

This Metro Talks panel features Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane, who will speak to the devastating experience and aftermath of the fires. Other speakers include staff from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (Air District), who will discuss air quality impacts from the fires, disaster-related public health concerns in the Bay Area, and how this experience can inform our response to future regional disasters – from conducting public messaging during a disaster to the ongoing recovery effort.

The event is free and open to the public; RSVP here. Read More

MTC

Meeting Wrap-Up, 1/24: BATA Approves Regional Measure 3 for June Ballot; MTC Approves New Transportation Program Guidelines; CASA Reviews Housing Strategy Framework

375 Beale
Credit
Noah Berger

Five meetings were held at the Bay Area Metro Center on Wednesday, January 24. The highlight of the morning was the Bay Area Toll Authority meeting, where the Commission unanimously approved a resolution to place Regional Measure 3 on the June 5 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties. If approved by a combined majority of all voters, a sweeping $4.45 billion package of congestion relief projects would be financed by a $1 increase in tolls on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges beginning Jan. 1, 2019, followed by a $1 increase in January 2022 and another $1 increase in January 2025. Read more about the measure and the vote on MTC’s website or in the newsWatch a recording of the full BATA meeting here, or download the agenda. Read More

Public Participation

MTC Needs Your Input!

openhouse
Credit
Noah Berger

Would you like to help MTC improve how we provide information and hear public input on transportation projects and programs? Would you like better connections with the agency that plans for the future of the Bay Area's road, highway and transit networks? If so, please share your thoughts about how we can best reach out to you for comments and ideas by completing a brief survey (takes about three minutes).

The survey closes on February 21, 2018 and is being conducted in Spanish and Chinese as well as English. Read More

Transportation

(Red and Blue) State Gas Tax Increases Since 1993

State Gas Tax Increases, 1992-2017

January's Map of the Month from MTC and ABAG Executive Director Steve Heminger looks at all the states that have passed legislation to raise their own state gas taxes since the United States Congress last increased the federal gas tax in 1993. As can be seen, a total of 38 states colored dark red and dark blue plus the District of Columbia have all raised state gas taxes, while 12 states colored light red and light blue have not.

From the Executive Director's latest report to the MTC Commission and ABAG Executive Board:

With passage of SB 1 in 2017, California has joined the ranks of 38 states – both red and blue – and the District of Columbia that have stepped up in the face of Congressional inaction and passed legislation to raise their own state gas taxes since Congress last did so in 1993. This map reaffirms that infrastructure investment can, and often does, transcend party lines, or as Norm Mineta used to say:  “There is no such thing as a Democratic bridge or a Republican road.”

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Transportation

New BART Train Cars Are Rolling into Service

The entire Bay Area celebrated a major milestone last week as the long-awaited first new 10-car BART train began service in the East Bay on the Richmond line. As you can see in the above video from MTC’s partners at BART, the new cars will be smoother and quieter, with quicker and easier boarding, six digital screens in each car, more comfortable seats and more places to hang on. 

This is riders’ first taste of a decades-long, multi-billion dollar project to replace the aging BART rail car fleet and expand the BART system’s capacity with more rail cars. As you can imagine, making these new cars a reality has been a complex endeavor and MTC, as the nine county Bay Area’s transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency, has been intimately involved every step of the way. Read More