Real Estate Symposium
May 4, Santa Clara
I was part of a panel discussion on how congestion affects development decisions sponsored by Santa Clara University.
Toll Bridge Program Oversight Committee
May 9, Sacramento
The major item of discussion at our quarterly meeting was the rapid progress that Caltrans has made in demolishing the remaining superstructure of the old East Span, which might enable us to complete implosion of the old bridge’s foundations by the end of this calendar year. We also discussed our plans to retain a few of those foundations at Yerba Buena Island and the Oakland shore to provide public access to the Bay as well as a fitting reminder of where the original bridge once stood.
Bay Area Legislative Caucus
May 10, Sacramento
I returned to Sacramento to brief members of the Bay Area Legislative Caucus about SB 595 (Beall), which would authorize the Commission to place a Regional Measure 3 bridge toll measure on a future ballot.
Plan Bay Area Wins Award
May 10, Washington DC
I’m very pleased to report that Plan Bay Area and our One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program have won a Transportation Planning Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration. We were one of 11 award winners nationwide. Congratulations also to our colleagues at the San Diego Association of Governments, which won “Best of the Best” recognition in the same category.
AC Transit School Service
May 10, Oakland
For the past few months, there has been a dispute between AC Transit and the Oakland Unified School District over the funding for supplementary bus lines to three schools in Oakland. Working with Commissioner Schaaf and officials from AC Transit, I offered a modest amount of one-time funding from MTC to help bring both sides to an agreement for funding the service through the close of the 2017-18 academic year. Commission action on this issue is scheduled for your June meeting.
MPO Coordination Rule Repealed
May 12, Washington DC
President Trump has signed legislation to repeal the ill-advised rulemaking finalized in the waning days of the Obama Administration that would have required scores of metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) either to adopt joint plans and programs – or merge together entirely – in order to address the issue of multiple MPOs existing in some metropolitan areas, especially along the East Coast. The repealed rule was truly a case of the cure being worse than the disease.
Future Interstate Study
May 15-17, Detroit
I joined my colleagues overseeing the study on the future of the Interstate Highway System for a field hearing in Detroit, which included tooling around in some semi-automated vehicles on I-75.
Plan Bay Area Open Houses
Various dates and locations
Earlier this week, I joined Chair Mackenzie and other MTC/ABAG staff at the Sonoma County open house on Plan Bay Area 2040. Thanks to all members of the Commission who’ve been attending these listening sessions throughout the Bay Area.
Alvarado Wins Parks Award
May 18, New York
MTC Senior Public Information Officer Catalina Alvarado has won the Women’s Transportation Seminar’s (WTS) Rosa M. Parks Diversity Award. Catalina was honored in New York last week by WTS International, and she will receive another award next month from the Bay Area WTS Chapter. This honor recognizes Catalina for her 30-plus year career at MTC dedicated to making the transportation policymaking arena more accessible to those who often do not have a voice. To list but a few of her achievements, she helped craft the Commission’s principles on Environmental Justice, launched MTC’s high School Internship Program, helped MTC partner with nonprofit groups to involve residents in low-income communities and communities of color in our long-range plans, and developed MTC’s first language assistance plan to help non-English speakers access MTC’s documents and services. Catalina is never one to seek the limelight, but in this case the limelight is richly deserved.
Caltrain FFGA Signed
May 22, Washington, DC
In a dramatic turnabout, the Trump Administration agreed to sign the $650 million Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) to electrify the Caltrain commuter rail system serving the San Francisco Peninsula. This action will enable the project to begin construction in the next several weeks. Senator Feinstein deserves great credit for galvanizing the Bay Area’s lobbying campaign to get the FFGA signed after all.
Trump Budget Released
May 23, Washington, DC
President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 budget was submitted to Congress yesterday. The budget submission contained additional detail about the president’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure initiative. The proposed budget includes the last installment of federal New Starts funding for the Muni Central Subway ($23 million) and BART extension to Berryessa ($97 million) projects, as well as a $100 million budget request in FY 2018 for the Caltrain electrification project with its newly-minted FFGA. Nonetheless, the budget proposes to cut $1 billion from the New Starts transit program overall and another $840 million reduction is slated for Amtrak. The multi-modal TIGER grant is zeroed out.
Northern California Mega Region Employment Density
This map highlights employment centers within the 21-county Northern California Mega Region. Employment Centers were defined within built-up areas where there was an employment density of over 5,000 jobs per square mile. Jobs within the Mega Region were broken down by North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) sectors, and were grouped into 7 related classifications. The Mega Region has over 5.7 million jobs in 2016. The largest shares of jobs are in the Information, Professional Services, Management and Administration sectors (over 1.2 million). The top five employment centers within the Mega Region are in Santa Clara (988,657), Alameda (762,089), San Francisco (642,093), Sacramento (617,947), and Contra Costa Counties (408,669).