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News Release

Big & Bold Visions By The Dozen: MTC and ABAG Announce Transformative Project Finalists

John Goodwin, (415) 778-5262
Randy Rentschler, (415) 778-6780

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) today announced the selection of six Transformative Transportation Projects — plus six transformative operational strategies — as finalists in a public competition launched earlier this year to solicit big, bold and billion-dollar (or more) ideas for improving mobility across the nine-county Bay Area. The campaign is part of the Horizon initiative undertaken by MTC and ABAG to explore a wide range of the challenges and opportunities the Bay Area may face by 2050.

“The competition was meant to inspire big ideas and game-changing innovations,” explained MTC Chair and Rohnert Park City Councilmember Jake Mackenzie. “The selection committee initially planned to name no more than 10 finalists. But we received so many promising, outside-the-box ideas that would not just improve existing projects but also help expand the limits of what may be possible over the course of the next generation that the panelists decided to take a closer look at 12 proposals.”

These 12 finalists – selected from a pool of over 500 megaproject ideas submitted by individuals and non-governmental organizations – will be added to the Horizon Transportation Projects list along with 82 other potential new transportation projects. Each of these proposed projects will be analyzed to determine its efficacy in improving the region’s transportation system – depending on how they stack up, they may be considered for inclusion in Plan Bay Area 2050, the region’s next long-range plan for transportation, land use, economic development, and resilience. Plan Bay Area 2050 is slated for completion in 2021.

Once the competition closed in early September, a panel of regional transportation experts evaluated all the submissions for feasibility, potential regional benefits, alignment with Horizon's guiding principles, creativity, and consistency with the minimum cost threshold. The call was for both capacity-increasing projects that cost more than $1 billion and for lower-cost operational strategies.

The six finalists for transformative capacity-increasing projects are:

  • Optimized Express Lane Network + Regional Express Bus Network – SPUR and TransForm
  • Bus Rapid Transit on All Bridges – Tony Breslin
  • SMART to Richmond via a New Richmond-San Rafael Bridge – William Manley, Joseph Naujokas, Christopher Sork and Sonoma County Transportation & Land Use Coalition
  • Interstate 80 Corridor Overhaul – Arup
  • Regional Bicycle Superhighway Network – Arup
  • Bay Trail Completion – Jim Stallman

The six finalists for transformative operational strategies consist of:

  • Integrated Transit Fare System – Eddy Ionescu & Jason Lee, Seamless Bay Area and SPUR
  • Free Transit – Mark Apton, Christian Rodgers, Danielle Venton and Gabriela Zuniga
  • Higher-Occupancy HOV Lanes – 3 Revolutions Book Club
  • Demand-Based Tolls on All Highways – Jeremy Besmer and City of San Jose
  • Reversible Lanes on Congested Bridges and Freeways – City of San Jose
  • Freight Delivery Timing Regulation – Daniel Ayers, Marc Brenman, Kevin Brooks and Cesar Plata

A brief description of each of these transformative ideas is available on the MTC Web site at A full list of proposals submitted through the competition may be found at

Because Plan Bay Area 2050 is financially constrained, project performance assessments will help identify the most effective investments while providing a transparent process for directing limited transportation dollars to the highest-performing projects. The 94 proposed projects to be evaluated for inclusion in the Plan Bay Area 2050 investment strategy may be found at

MTC and ABAG launched the Horizon initiative to engage the public, planners and policymakers through mid-2019 on questions that traditionally have been outside the regional planning process. These include how to respond to the emergence of autonomous vehicles; changing economic conditions; rising sea levels, earthquakes and other natural disasters; and more. To learn more about Horizon and updates to the Transformative Projects effort, visit the project webpage or follow the conversation on Twitter through @MTCBATA, or on Facebook at

MTC is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. ABAG is the official regional planning agency for the nine counties and 101 cities and towns of the Bay Area.