March 23, Riverside
The so-called “Big 4” metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in California made a presentation to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) about the process they have underway to consider raising the greenhouse gas emission targets required under SB 375. Because of time constraints, I was forced to leave the meeting before the presentation began, so Ken Kirkey took my place.
BART Warm Springs Opening
March 24, Fremont
Vice Chair Haggerty was among the headlines at this ribbon-cutting event for the newest station in the BART system in Southern Alameda County. BATA toll funds paid for nearly 40% of the project’s $890 million cost. Next up is the expected opening of the Berryessa extension in 2018, which will bring BART service to Santa Clara County for the first time. All aboard!
CALCOG Annual Conference
March 30-31, Monterey
Vice Chair Haggerty, Commissioners Pierce and Spering, and I attended this annual policy event which brings together MPO board members and staff from throughout the state. Commissioner Pierce made a presentation on the MTC/ABAG staff consolidation and I joined a panel discussion and presented about the OBAG program. A copy of my presentation can be found here.
CMA Executive Directors
March 31, San Rafael
I joined the directors of the region’s congestion management agencies (CMAs) for another in a series of our regular conversations, this one featuring Plan Bay Area 2040 and Regional Measure 3.
Government in Transition Panel
April 3, Berkeley
I was invited to join a panel discussion about the infrastructure plans of the new Trump Administration organized by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley.
SB 1 Passage
April 6, Sacramento
After considerable debate and some arm-twisting, the California Legislature enacted the first gas tax increase under its own legislative authority – that is, without a vote of the electorate – since 1983. Great credit goes to Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chair Jim Beall and Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Jim Frazier, two Bay Area stalwarts. On behalf of Governor Brown, Transportation Secretary Brian Kelly’s contributions also were critical.
April 21, Sunnyvale
As part of the festivities at a luncheon sponsored by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, I joined a number of other transportation officials in presenting an award to Senator Dianne Feinstein for her decades of leadership to our region and state.
Morales Leaves CHSRA
April 21, Sacramento
Jeff Morales has announced that he is stepping down from his position of CEO of the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) on June 2nd. We wish him well in his future endeavors.
A recent New York Times article examines one of the biggest drivers in a families’ decision to leave cities: school. Using data from a number of sources, the New York Times developed charts that look at school performance and median home sale price per square foot for 5 metro areas including New York/New Jersey, San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Minneapolis. For most of the cities studied, home prices rise with the quality of the school district but a number of districts break this pattern. The map in Attachment 4 highlights 5 Bay Area schools that perform above average, and have below average housing costs. The New York Times used median price per square foot to measure housing costs and the median number of grades ahead (or behind) for school district quality. In the Bay Area, the price per square foot was around $500 while students were .28 grades ahead of their grade placement. The 5 Bay Area schools that were selected had the lowest home prices and the best performing schools in the region.