Rohnert Park Mayor Jake Mackenzie took over the reins of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) today after the 18 voting members of the 21-member regional Commission unanimously elected him as chair for the two-year term running through February 2019. Mackenzie has served for the past two years as MTC’s vice chair, and has represented Sonoma County on the Commission since 2008.
“I’m honored to be taking the reins at a time that presents both great challenges and great opportunities for MTC and for the Bay Area,” said Mackenzie. “While our region has benefited from vigorous economic growth, we also have to confront the transportation impacts and the jobs-housing imbalance that threaten our ability to sustain this level of job growth. I’m passionate about maintaining the course charted by outgoing chairman Dave Cortese toward more integrated regional transportation and land-use planning; and I look forward to working with the rest of the Commission to establish new and reliable funding sources, to promote more seamless transit options for travel to and from our biggest job centers, and to solve the financing puzzles for long-planned projects to relieve persistent highway and transit bottlenecks.”
Mackenzie is the first Sonoma County representative to lead MTC since William R. “Bill” Lucius, who served as a member of the Commission from 1971 to 1991, and as chair from 1980 to 1983.
Mackenzie was first elected to the Rohnert Park City Council in 1996. In addition to his service as an MTC commissioner, Mackenzie serves on the boards of the Sonoma County Transportation Authority/Regional Climate Protection Authority, the Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit District (SMART) and the Association of Bay Area Governments, where he also serves on the Executive Committee. He also is a member of the Greenbelt Alliance’s Board of Directors.
A Scotsman by birth and an agricultural scientist by training, Mackenzie earned his B.Sc. (with first class honors) in agricultural science from Edinburgh University in 1962; and an M.S. and Ph.D. in weed science from Oregon State University in 1964 and 1971, respectively. During a 30-year career at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, he held senior positions in pesticide regulation, and served from 1984 to 2002 as the EPA’s western director, Office of Pesticide Programs.
Commissioners today also elected Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty to serve as MTC’s vice chair for the next two years. Haggerty was first elected to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors in 1996, and was named the county’s MTC representative in 2000. Haggerty previously served as the Commission’s vice chair from 2007 to 2009; and as chair from 2009 to 2011. In addition to his longtime service at MTC, Haggerty is a member and former chair of the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, the Association of Bay Area Governments and the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority. Haggerty represents Alameda County on the National Association of Counties, and also serves as a member of the Alameda County Transportation Commission, San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority and Tri-Valley Transportation Council.
One-third of MTC’s 21 seats have changed hands in recent months. Union City Mayor Carol Dutra-Vernaci in December 2016 replaced former Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates as the Alameda County cities’ representative. In January 2017, Los Altos City Councilmember Jeannie Bruins replaced former Campbell City Councilmember Jason Baker as the Santa Clara County cities’ representative; Marin County Supervisor Damon Connolly replaced former Supervisor Steve Kinsey as the Marin County representative; BART Director Nick Josefowitz replaced former San Francisco Supervisor and current state Senator Scott Wiener as the San Francisco Mayor’s representative; Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza replaced former Supervisor Mark Luce as the Napa County representative; and San Mateo County Supervisor Warren Slocum replaced former Supervisor Adrienne Tissier as the San Mateo County representative. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors earlier this month selected Jane Kim to replace former Supervisor David Campos as its representative on the Commission.
MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. The Commission also is responsible for integrating transportation and land-use planning with state mandates for reducing per-capita greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. MTC, as part of its transportation coordinating role, oversees several regional travel resources, including the free 511 traveler information system (on the phone at 511 and on the Web at 511.org), the Clipper® transit fare card and the FasTrak® electronic toll collection system.