Transportation

Keeping the Bay Area Moving

Transportation is the lifeblood of any economy. COVID-19 and the call to address persistent racial injustice may have forever changed the way the Bay Area moves. In light of this moment, we are working with public, community and business stakeholders to address and understand these changes, develop new funding sources, promote efficient use of the transportation systems we have, and provide better, more equitable, outcomes for everyone.

Racial Justice: Our region’s transportation system is key to furthering racial justice in our communities. Often, low-income communities and communities of color are transit-dependent, but live far from regional systems that can more efficiently connect workers to the region’s jobs centers. Additionally, many of the transportation investments our region has made have disproportionately impacted low-income communities and communities of color, creating adverse environmental and health impacts without benefiting these same communities. The Bay Area Council’s transportation policy agenda will establish actions to address this injustice.

COVID-19: Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 our region’s transportation system has been devastated as revenues collected from rider fares, taxes, bridge tolls, and other sources that fund the upkeep and expansion of our system have steeply declined. As the region recoups from the impact of COVID-19, investing in our mass transit systems, network of highways, and roads and bridges will be key to our economic recovery and future development.

NEW: Join our Coalition in Opposition to MTC’s Proposed Work from Home Mandate

In late September 2020, based on the premise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission adopted a strategy to – in the future – require 60% of workers at large employers to work from home… always. This would have sweeping impacts to our region’s urban cores, and would be a major disincentive for companies to stay in the Bay Area. It would lock in a Covid-19-like world forever in the Bay Area. While the Council recognizes and supports telecommuting, we also believe businesses should be able to choose what’s right for their business and workers.

Here are the facts:

  • While we are in economic pain now, this policy would have a sweeping effect on our economy and the landscape of the Bay Area for decades
  • This policy would affect companies with 25 or more employees.  That is roughly 20,000 companies who employ approximately 3 million of the 4 million workers we have in the Bay Area
  • Research has found that on a national scale, individuals who hold jobs that are not remote work eligible are more likely to be non-white, lower-income, and lack a college degree. The new policy would create two Bay Areas: those who can work from home and those who can’t.
  • In the Bay Area, a very significant number of public transit riders are in remote work eligible fields, and without those riders paying fares, the transit systems will collapse.  Conversely, non-remote eligible workers drive single occupant vehicles at much higher rates so this policy, aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, actually punishes the populations that commute, carpool or bike the most.
  • Without employees coming to downtowns, or corporate campuses of major employers, we extend the world of COVID-19 far into the future, forsaking the public transit investment (and other infrastructure investments) we have made in these areas, and likely causing the failure of many of the small businesses that support these companies and downtowns.

 

The Bay Area Council eagerly agrees we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is not the way to do it. Please join us to help MTC find other ways we can collectively reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, but still preserve our quality of life, our economy and our social fabric.

Can we count you in? Download our letter here. If you would like to add your name in support, please contact Senior Vice President Gwen Litvak.

Recent Wins

  • Helped secure federal funds to support our region’s transportation system in response to COVID-19
  • Provided thought leadership as part of MTC’s Blue Ribbon Transit Recovery Task Force to guide recovery of the Bay Area
  • Developed COVID-19 response strategies to shape the future of safe and efficient transportation programs throughout the Bay Area
  • Convened public transit leaders and private transportation providers throughout the Bay Area to develop regional short-term and long-term response to COVID-19
  • Worked with SF Mayor’s Office and transportation providers to analyze shelter-in-place order and inform regionwide thought leadership on transportation through BACEI report “Trends in Bay Area Mobility in the Wake of Regional and Statewide Stay-at-Home Orders”
  • Successfully worked with Caltrans to accelerate road projects to minimize disruption
  • Supported $9 million WETA grant for an all-electric zero-emission passenger ferry to run service between Mission Bay and Downtown San Francisco

2020 Policy Activities

  • Shape MTCs Plan Bay Area 2050 long term planning, ensuring efficiency, innovation, flexibility, and public-private partnerships are core strategies
  • Secure CEQA streamlining for transportation projects that meet environmental standards and improve air quality and health outcomes
  • Urge MTC and Bay Area counties to use changing landscape to create a seamless and integrated 21st century transit system, including exploring implementing means-based fares across all transit agencies
  • Promote carpooling as a safe and cost-effective solution to getting employees to work
  • Lead working group of public and private ferry operators to plan for COVID-19 response and future planning
  • Develop framework to launch hovercraft services in the Bay Area and convene ferry operators to develop a strategic plan
  • Guide and support local, regional and state governments and agencies to advance smart deployment of electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles
  • Lead campaign for future FASTER Bay Area regional transportation measure and continue policy reforms relevant to COVID-19 in the next year
  • Organize and activate the Northern California megaregion to promote solutions and investments that improve housing, transportation, and support economic development throughout the 21-county region

Get Involved! 

Transportation Committee and Subcommittees: the committee and subcommittees listed below are open to all members.  Please engage with us as we work to solve the region’s transportation challenges.  For more information, email glitvak@bayareacouncil.org and check out our upcoming events.

 

Transportation Committee Co-Chairs:

Darlene Gee, Senior Vice President, HNTB
Michael Matthews, Public Policy Director, Facebook
Chris Rivielle, President and CEO, Plant Construction

Autonomous Vehicle Subcommittee Co-Chairs:

John McClure, Partner, Greentech Capital Advisors
Nadia Anderson, Government Relations, Cruise Automation

Water Transit Subcommittee Co-Chairs:

Dana Aftab, External Vice President, Business Operations, Exelixis
Rosanne Foust, President & CEO, SAMCEDA
Heather Salem, Senior Transportation Program Manager, Genentech

 

Past Meeting Resources & Presentations

CEQA Reform: SB 288
The Bay Area Council is partnering with SPUR and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group in advocating for SB 288 (Wiener) to speed up a wide range of bicycle, complete street and public transit projects, which would help accelerate our economic recovery from COVID-19 by creating jobs and connecting more people to economic opportunity, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Planning Cities in a Post-Covid World by Sam Schwartz
Transportation Committee Meeting, April 28, 2020

 

Policy Leads


Gwendolyn Litvak image
Gwendolyn Litvak

Senior Vice President

415-946-8706

Kelly Obranowicz image
Kelly Obranowicz

Policy Manager

(415)-946-8728

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