Regional Transportation Agencies

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BABC works with Bay Area-wide transportation planning agencies—primarily the Metropolitan Transporttation Commission and Caltrans District 4—to make sure important regional policies and funding distributions represent the interests and safety of bicyclists.

 

Given our cross-county travel habits and the growth of our region, there is obviously a need for a coordinated approach to planning and managing our nine-county transportation infrastructure.  That is the specific role of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC). 

 

Technically, MTC is the Bay Area’s metropolitan planning organization or MPO.  An MPO is a federally-mandated body that is responsible for transportation planning and approval of federal transportation funding for the region.  Usually each county has its own MPO.  But because of the nature of travel in the Bay Area, we have one MPO for nine counties.

 

MTC coordinates significant regional planning and budgeting efforts like:

• the $100 billion+/25 year Regional Transportation Plan (RTP)

• new BART or rail extensions
• the Regional Bicycle Plan and Regional Bicycle Network

• distribution of a percentage of Bay Area bridge toll money

• the allocation of a large amount of federal transportation dollars.

 

BABC staff are regular visitors to MTC’s downtown Oakland headquarters.  Various MTC committees meet on a regular monthly or bi-monthly schedule, and if a relevant item is on the agenda, a BABC representative will attend. MTC also runs a Regional Bicycle Working Group as a forum for city or county professional bicycle planners to work with representatives from regional transit as well as the advocate community. 

 

Caltrans—California’s Highway Transporation agency—divides its focus up into districts.  District 4 covers the whole Bay Area (the same nine counties that MTC governs). District 4 has a Bicycle Advisory Committee, which meets quarterly at Caltrans’ downtown Oakland headquarters. BABC co-chairs this meeting.  (One of our goals is for this public meeting to have an internet presence.  Until then, refer to the BABC website for meeting schedule and agendas.)

 

Other important regionally-minded transportation planning agencies BABC works with are the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), the Bay Conservation Development Commission (BCDC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), and the San Francisco Bay Trail. 

 

Beyond those, BABC watches the agendas and sometimes attends meetings of the Joint Policy Committee (JPC), which is a collaborative effort of MTC, ABAG, BCDC, and BAAQMD that is pursuing the implementation of the Bay Area’s Smart Growth Vision.  The JPC has also taken the lead for the Bay Area agencies on climate protection.

 

All of these “acronyms” make decisions that greatly impact the quality of life in the Bay Area. BABC is there in the mix, reminding staff and decision makers of the need for better bicycling facilities, education, and planning policy.