Issue 6: December 2013
$10 Billion for Transit and Climate: MTC Considers New Proposals to Fund Transit and Greenhouse Gas Reductions
Two transportation funding proposals to bolster the region's aging public transit network and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will be considered by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) this month. MTC's Programming and Allocations Committee on December 11 will consider staff recommendations for referral to the full Commission at its December 18 meeting. The proposals have been updated to reflect public comments received since their release last month.
Totaling nearly $10 billion, both proposals come out of the recently adopted Plan Bay Area, the region's long-range transportation and housing blueprint.
The Cap and Trade Funding Framework proposes using $3 billion in anticipated California Cap and Trade revenues expected to be available to the Bay Area through 2040 to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions. At least 25 percent of the funding must be targeted to low-income communities, pursuant to language adopted in Plan Bay Area. The proposal also sets forth a comprehensive process for developing the Project Selection Guidelines and assumes a timeline of roughly 6-12 months before staff would bring the guidelines to the Commission for approval. Adoption of guidelines would precede any program or project selection, with the exception of the Transit Core Capacity Challenge Grant Program.
The Cap and Trade Funding Framework identifies five areas for funding:
- $900 million for the Core Capacity Challenge Grants described below - an amount that is factored into the $7.5 billion available for that program;
- $450 million for transit operating and efficiency costs;
- $1.05 billion for "One Bay Area Grants," MTC's program to provide counties with funding for needed transportation improvements and planning to support development near transit stations;
- $300 million for MTC's Climate Initiatives Program, which funds a range of programs to reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, including $75 million for the Safe Routes to School Program; and
- $450 million to improve goods movement and efficiency and to mitigate environmental impacts of moving freight through communities.
The second funding proposal, the Transit Core Capacity Challenge Grant program, seeks to fund capital needs for the region's three largest public transit operators - San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni), BART and AC Transit, which together carry 80 percent of the region's transit passengers, as well as more than 75 percent of the region's low-income and minority riders. The approximately $7.5 billion program would fund transit vehicle replacement, fleet expansion and key facility upgrades.
Operators would also need to meet certain performance and efficiency objectives. Funds for the program come from federal, state, regional and local sources, including bridge toll revenues, and would require a 30 percent match from the three operators (which explains the "Challenge" part of the program name). A key element of the local matching funds for Muni would come from future revenue sources identified by the San Francisco Mayor's Transportation Task Force, as detailed here. For more information, visit www.onebayarea.org.
Plan Bay Area Document Available Soon
Plan Bay Area, adopted by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), lays out a 25-year vision for transportation and housing to sustain our communities, environment and economy. The plan will be available online later this month and a limited number of printed copies will be available via the MTC-ABAG Library after December 18. To request a printed copy, please email email@example.com or call (510) 817-5836.
The long-range plan, which includes $292 billion in transportation investments through the year 2040, was developed over three years in collaboration with thousands of Bay Area residents and local government partners, as well as with a range of interested stakeholder organizations. Plan Bay Area is the nine-county region's first Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) to meet the requirements of California's landmark 2008 Senate Bill 375, which calls on each of the state's 18 metropolitan areas to include in the RTP a Sustainable Communities Strategy to accommodate future population growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks. Working in collaboration with cities and counties, Plan Bay Area advances initiatives to expand housing and transportation choices, create healthier communities and build a stronger regional economy.
Legal Challenges Filed Against Plan Bay Area
A total of four lawsuits have been filed in Alameda County Superior Court against Plan Bay Area. All four suits, filed by Bay Area Citizens, Communities for a Better Environment/Sierra Club, the Bay Area Building Coalition and the Post Sustainability Institute, claim the plan violates the California Environmental Quality Act, among other things.
MTC and ABAG stand behind Plan Bay Area, which was adopted by both agencies on July 18 after nearly a three-year public process. Both ABAG and MTC are now working to implement Plan Bay Area, which will be updated in four years.
Plan Bay Area is a joint effort led by the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) in partnership with the Bay Area's other two regional government agencies, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC).