The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is going through the Plan Bay Area process, which will revolutionize the way that transportation funding is distributed in the Bay Area.
Yesterday I met with MTC Commissioner Sam Liccardo (also a San José Councilmember) to discuss the future of regional transportation funding streams.
My main points:
1) We want to ensure that, while VTA is a leader in bike/ped, other counties in the region don't slide backwards regarding complete streets implementation. I suggested that the block grants need to be given out with some mechanism with teeth that will ensure compliance with complete streets principles. I suggested that perhaps there could be some funds reserved for standalone bike/ped, but that it was also crucial to have ALL of the money distributed require some complete streets checklist or other mechanism on a project level.
2) I suggested that we continue the Bay Area's national leadership in the area of Safe Routes to School. I explained how the recent Climate Initiatives money was doled out to each county's Congestion Management Agency (CMA) on a county-wide population basis. I said that these types of programmatic funds should be separated from the block grant (which should be primarily for infrastructure funds), and lumped in somewhere else--perhaps with Planning and Demand Management funds. I do think that they should continue to be distributed based primarily on population. He seemed to agree that the SRTS programs were a seed worth nurturing.
It was my understanding that Commissioner Liccardo agreed to work with the other MTC Commissioners who are interested in preserving bike/ped funding to the counties in the Bay Area.