The Bay Area Council’s advocacy efforts paid off this week (March 23) as the California Assembly and its Transportation Committee overwhelmingly voted to pass AB 157 authored by Assemblyman Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) to expedite the re-opening of the third auto lane on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, which will be bring widespread congestion relief to thousands of Bay Area commuters. The current gridlock on the bridge is adding to existing backups on Highways 101 and 580, and simply restriping the bridge to add capacity will vastly improve overall traffic flow, mitigate environmental impacts, and enhance the safety of the highway by diminishing the likelihood of collisions. The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) recently approved a plan to pursue at-risk design that shaved some time off the project, but the lane is still not expected to be opened until at least 2017.

On Monday the bill was heard in the Assembly Transportation Committee. At the Committee hearing, Bay Area Council Chief Operating Officer John Grubb provided expert testimony and urged the passage of AB 157. The Council staunchly believes that more can be done to move the project along, and has been working with the state’s top elected leaders and transportation officials to implement solutions to improve traffic flow immediately. AB 157 is urgency legislation that will now move to the Senate for review. To engage in the Council’s transportation policy work, contact Policy Associate Emily Loper.

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