Metro Center Wins Award
The renovation of the Bay Area Metro Center at 375 Beale Street was recognized as the best northern California renovation project in 2016 by the Engineering News Record, a leading industry journal.
Cap & Trade Transit Grants
Sacramento, August 16
The California State Transportation Agency announced the winners of its second round of funding under the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP). Bay Area projects captured $110 million in grants out of $391 million available statewide. The largest Bay Area award was for $45 million to the ongoing purchase of expansion light rail vehicles for the San Francisco Municipal Railway.
Transbay Cost Review Committee
San Francisco, August 24
The inaugural meeting of this committee composed of representatives from MTC, the San Francisco Controller’s office, and the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) took place at TJPA headquarters overlooking the terminal construction site. The committee was created as part of the financial transaction to infuse up to an additional $260 million in project funding to complete Phase 1 of the new Transbay Transit Center.
East Bay BRT Groundbreaking
Oakland, August 26
Commissioner Schaaf and I were part of a parade of speakers – including U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx – at an event to commemorate the beginning of construction for AC Transit’s first bus rapid transit line serving Oakland and San Leandro.
Cap & Trade Budget Deal
Sacramento, August 31
Following on the heels of approval of the FY 2016-17 state budget, Governor Brown and legislative leaders reached agreement on a bill to spend $900 million of the $1.4 billion in Cap & Trade auction proceeds that had been sitting unallocated for the past few years. Of particular note for the transportation and housing communities, the agreement allocated an additional $140 million to a new “transformational climate communities” program, $135 million to the existing TIRCP transit capital program, and $10 million for the existing Active Transportation Program.
Future Interstate Study Committee
Washington DC, September 6-7
I have been appointed to the committee overseeing the comprehensive study of the “Future of the Interstate System” to be conducted by the Transportation Research Board. This multi-year effort was authorized by the FAST Act, and will add a few more trips to Washington to my travel schedule over the next two years. Further information about the study and the committee can be found here.
Ford GoBikes Announcement
San Francisco, September 9
Ford Motor Company is committing $49 million to sponsoring the expansion of the Bay Area’s bikeshare program from 700 to 7,000 bikes, at no cost to taxpayers. Chair Cortese and Commissioners Bates, Liccardo, and Wiener participated in a press event at San Francisco City Hall that also featured Ford CEO Mark Fields, Motivate CEO Jay Walder representing the region’s bikeshare contractor, and Mayor Ed Lee.
Bay Area Council Field Trip
Los Angeles, September 19-21
I joined a delegation of regional business leaders and other government officials on a fact-finding trip to Los Angeles, where we met with Mayor Garcetti, representatives from various public and civic institutions such as SCAG, LA Metro, the Met water district, and economic development organizations. We also squeezed in a Giants-Dodgers game at Chavez Ravine, where let’s just say the better team won.
Corless Heads Home
Sacramento, September 21
I am extremely pleased to note that former MTC senior planner James Corless is heading back to California as the next CEO of the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). As many of you know, since he left MTC James has been running one of the premier advocacy outfits in Washington, Transportation for America.
Portland, September 22
I was one of the keynote speakers at a conference sponsored by Portland State University about new approaches to selecting infrastructure investments in an era of constrained resources. I recounted our experiences with performance-based project evaluation in Plan Bay Area. A copy of my PowerPoint presentation can be found here.
This map highlights the issues raised by a recent regulatory proposal from the U.S. Department of Transportation that attempts to better coordinate the activities of multiple MPOs that serve the same region. This problem is especially prevalent along the Atlantic seaboard, including in Charlotte NC where Secretary Foxx once served as mayor. Unfortunately, the proposed solution of joint plan adoption or forced mergers is one of those cases where the cure is probably worse than the disease. I recently penned an op/ed piece on the subject that ran in a national transportation trade journal. The U.S. DOT recently acted to extend the public comment period on the proposed regulation until October 23rd, but has indicated that they hope to finalize the rule before the end of the Obama Administration.