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.