U.S. DOT Roundtable
January 5, San Jose
I attended a roundtable discussion with outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx that was hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
U.S. Treasury Infrastructure Report
January 5, Washington DC
The Bay Area’s budding express lane network was approvingly mentioned in an unusual place earlier this month: a report from the U.S. Treasury Department about transportation and water infrastructure projects “of major economic significance”. With all the talk about private financing of transportation infrastructure from the incoming Trump Administration, it can’t hurt for our express lane projects to be cited in a list of only 40 major infrastructure projects nationwide.
TRB Annual Meeting
January 9-12, Washington DC
I attended this annual transportation lollapalooza (total attendance this year: over 13,000 people) and presented at a session on the linkage between transportation access and economic performance. My PowerPoint presentation can be found here. I also attended the Transportation Research Board (TRB) executive committee meeting at the same event.
HCD Report on Housing
January 11, Sacramento
A new report from the state department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) paints a pretty dire picture of the affordable housing situation throughout California. If misery loves company, those alarmed about the Bay Area’s own housing crisis will love this report.
AV Test Sites Selected
January 19, Washington DC
As part its rush of pre-inaugural business, the U.S. Department of Transportation has identified 10 sites as officially designated proving grounds for autonomous vehicle (AV) development around the country. Two of the selected development sites are in California: (1) our sister agency, the San Diego Association of Governments, and (2) our local partners at the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA). The latter site selection is testament to the national reputation in intelligent transportation systems enjoyed by Randy Iwasaki, the former Caltrans director and current executive director of the CCTA. Congratulations to Randy and his team.
Bay Area State Legislative Caucus
January 20, Sonoma
Randy Rentschler and I attended this meeting of Bay Area state senators and assembly members to brief them on the development of Regional Measure 3.
Senate Democratic Infrastructure Proposal
January 24, Washington, DC
Several leading Democrats in the U.S. Senate have released a $1 trillion proposal to reinvest in the nation’s infrastructure. The humongous package includes $210 billion for roads and bridges, $180 billion for rail and bus systems, and $200 billion for a catch-all “Vital Infrastructure Program (VIP)”. It takes 11 pages to describe what the trillion dollars would be spent on, but only one sentence is devoted to where the money would come from: “Our blueprint is fiscally responsible, closing tax loopholes used by corporations and super-wealthy individuals to offset associated costs.” To state the obvious, $1 trillion is a lot of loopholes.
This map shows median home values plotted against median household income in an effort to illustrate where the least affordable housing in the U.S. is located. The Bay Area, not surprisingly, has some of the least affordable housing in the country – both in absolute terms, and in terms relative to income. In San Francisco proper, the median home value is $800,000 with a median income of $81,000, giving a price-to-income ratio of nearly 10 to 1. In Marin County, the median home value is $815,000 with a median income of $93,000. This ratio is 8.8 times the median income of the county. In Silicon Valley, housing is still pricey, but many people are able to make up for it with higher incomes: San Mateo County has a ratio of 8.3, and Santa Clara County has a ratio of 7.3.