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Executive Director's Report

Report to the Commission: September 23, 2020

Plan Bay Area: Public Comments Available Online

Comments on the Draft Blueprint closed in August, and all the feedback we received from digital workshops, telephone town halls, a tribal summit, a statistically valid poll, emailed or written correspondence is now easily accessible on the Plan Bay Area website.

The feedback can be found under "Your Comments."

We look forward to more public engagement opportunities in 2021.

I-880 Express Lanes

On October 2, operations begin on MTC’s second express lane, I-880 between Oakland and Milpitas. This is the culmination of more than three years of construction to improve safety and operations, and it represents a major step in building out the regional express lane network to make buses and carpools fast and reliable. The corridor improvements include new pavement; a new, taller median barrier; and the express lanes themselves. Also, on October 2, clean-air vehicles on both of BAIFA’s express lanes (I-680 and I-880) will start to pay half price tolls.

Riding Together: Healthy Transit Plan and Dashboard

As recommended direction from the Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force, MTC staff will present a monthly report to the Commission on common data metrics developed by the Bay Area’s public transit operators based on their Riding Together: Bay Area Healthy Transit Plan that was released in August. The transit agencies developed a common set of health and safety commitments, grounded in health directives from the California Department of Public Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, County health officials, and international best practices. 

Federal Highway Administration Certification Report

Earlier this month, we received our federal certification report from FHWA and FTA, which certifies MTC’s planning process every 4 years. Along with several commendations on the exemplary work MTC is doing in transit asset management, FHWA and FTA issued one corrective action: to improve administration of its Surface Transportation Block Grant Program and Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement program – also known as our One Bay Area Grant, or OBAG, program.

Specifically, the concern is about our use of a formula for the distribution of STP funds via the OBAG county program. FHWA’s position is that sub-allocation is not allowed by federal regulation and that MTC may not be exercising an appropriate degree of project selection authority over STP/CMAQ funded projects within the OBAG program. Going forward, we will need to examine how these funds are programmed to address the concerns and comply with the corrective action, prior to adoption of the 2023 TIP in 2022. We must clearly demonstrate (in both our documentation and communications) that our OBAG 3 program is in full compliance with all applicable federal regulations.

ATP Quick Build Pilot Program

The California Transportation Commission released recommendations last week for the quick-build pilot program within the Active Transportation Program. CTC Staff recommends funding $4.4 million for eight projects around the state.  The Bay Area was recommended to receive 50% of the funds, with $2.2 million going to four projects in the cities of Berkeley, Richmond, San Carlos, and San Jose.

The quick-build pilot is an exciting new program that provides funding for cities to test and implement relatively inexpensive safety measures that address active transportation needs quickly, before committing to more expensive solutions. Bay Area cities have established themselves as leaders for quick build projects, with proven prior successes in San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland. MTC staff will continue to work with the CTC to evaluate the pilot program and to include quick-build funding in future ATP cycles permanently.

The CTC will consider the recommendations for adoption at the October 21-22, 2020 meeting.

October Metro Talks: Gender Equity in Transportation

On Thursday, October 3, at 4 p.m., I will moderate a discussion on what a safe and equitable transit system, accessible for women and girls, can look like in the Bay Area. Join us for a conversation exploring how the Bay Area  transportation can be more welcoming to women and girls, especially those from our communities of color facing greater burdens in the current COVID crisis—and what the transit sector can do to support riders and provide career pathways with elevated economic opportunities.