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Joint MTC ABAG Committee Supports Seamless Transit Act, with Amendments

Noah Berger

The Joint MTC ABAG Legislation Committee on March 11, 2022 was highlighted by the members’ vote to support of state Sen. Josh Becker’s Seamless Transit Transformation Act, Senate Bill 17 (SB 917), if the Legislature makes a few key amendments.

SB 917 builds on 14 months of work done by the Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force convened by MTC in the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as previous legislation introduced by former state Assembly member and current San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu. The bill tackles the challenge of coordinating and integrating the Bay Area’s multimodal and multi-agency transit network. It would introduce requirements for fare integration, mapping and wayfinding, and real-time transit information. The bill would also tie State Transit Assistance funding to these standards, and would require MTC to adopt a connected network plan.

SB 917’s alignment with the transit goals outlined by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) in Plan Bay Area 2050 — make the bill a vehicle on which MTC, state legislators, transit advocates and the region’s more than two dozen transit agencies can ride together for months to come.

Other Sacramento action attracting the Legislation Committee’s attention includes progress on a new 2022-23 state budget and a pair of bills introduced by state Sen. (and former MTC Chair) Bill Dodd of Napa County. Senate Bill 1049 would establish a new state program for investment in transportation resilience planning. Senate Bill 1050 would authorize tolling on Highway 37 in the North Bay to help fund improvements to the 10-mile bottleneck that chokes traffic between Sears Point and Mare Island, and to advance a comprehensive overhaul of the vital but vulnerable route before it’s overtaken by a rising bay.

On the federal front, MTC and ABAG are focused on making the most of money flowing to the Bay Area from last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL), as well as securing new funds to meet the region’s transportation and housing challenges.

With inflation and supply chain disruptions putting a double whammy on the cost of building new projects, MTC is working both sides of the Capitol to round up support for capital investment grant projects. Among the Californians listening: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Alex Padilla, whose recently introduced Housing for All Act would provide some $532 billion over the next decade to address homelessness and housing affordability. Padilla this month also introduced the Transportation Equity Act, which would permanently reestablish an advisory committee on Transportation Equity.

The Joint MTC ABAG Legislation Committee meets the second Friday of every month. Members of the public are invited to hear first-hand from the team about the latest updates, and to comment in real time.

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