MTC mourns the recent passing of Jane Baker, a former chair of the Commission and one of its longest-serving commissioners. Baker died on July 1, at the age of 88.
Jane Baker served on MTC from 1983 to 1999, representing the cities of San Mateo County. She held numerous leadership positions during her tenure, having at various times chaired the Grant Review and Allocations Committee, the Work Program Committee, the Executive Committee, the BART/SFO Study Policy Committee and the Peninsula Transit Alternatives Committee. Baker served as chair of MTC from 1993 to 1995.
“In the tradition of MTC, Jane Baker was a true consensus-builder,” said Jim Spering, Solano County Supervisor and a veteran MTC Commissioner who served with Baker on the Commission in the 1990s. “Indeed, Jane helped to establish that tradition. She tackled the region’s transportation challenges head-on, but she always did so with civility and respectfulness.”
Baker came to MTC from the city of San Mateo, where she served as a member of the city council for 20 years. She was the first woman to serve as mayor of that Peninsula city, a post she was appointed to six times. Baker also held leadership positions in other organizations, serving as president of the California League of Cities and the American Association of University Women.
As a commissioner, Baker championed Caltrain, the Peninsula rail service, and also supported plans to extend BART to the San Francisco International Airport. Having risen to prominence as a protector of open space in San Mateo, Jane brought this focus to her work at MTC, becoming a strong proponent of the San Francisco Bay Trail and other regional efforts to preserve access to open space.
When in the 1990s the Commission began to focus more intently on the interconnectedness of transportation and land use in the region, “Jane was an early and enthusiastic supporter of these efforts,” noted Spering. “She clearly saw the importance of this work for the Commission and for the Bay Area, and her support really helped move us forward.”
“Jane Baker was a truly effective leader,” Spering said. “She was also a very well-liked one. Jane will be remembered with great fondness by all who worked with her at MTC – by fellow commissioners and staff members alike.”