Regional groups considering merger to create streamlined Bay Area planning agency

MTC, ABAG union would help transportation projects, use tax dollars more efficiently, official says

Officials with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) last month voted to explore a merger that would create one streamlined regional planning agency.

The MTC board, a 21-member commission that oversees transportation planning and finance in the nine-county Bay Area, voted unanimously Oct. 28 to explore a possible merger with ABAG, a smaller agency that focuses on regional land use planning for Bay Area local governments.

In a separate action Oct. 28, ABAG's Administrative Committee also approved a similar item.

MTC chairman Dave Cortese, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, said in a statement that a merger would create a "one-stop shop" providing technical assistance and grants to local governments, use taxpayer dollars more efficiently and bolster staff resources for policy development and analysis.

It would also help efforts to improve transportation infrastructure, rapid transit options and affordable housing options, he said.

"Reducing skyrocketing home prices so that the middle class can afford to live near job centers and cutting commute times are important issues that are best addressed by one streamlined entity, as opposed to two," Cortese said.

The two agencies are vastly different in size and scale, with the MTC's budget of $945 million dwarfing ABAG's budget of $27 million. The MTC oversees programs including Clipper and Fastrak, the traffic information service and the Bay Area Toll Authority, while ABAG, which gets some of its funding from the MTC, manages the Bay Trail program.

The Interstate 680 express lane project through the San Ramon Valley is among the efforts overseen by the MTC.

MTC spokesman John Goodwin said the MTC will select a consultant to evaluate a merger, with a report expected back by June 2016.

— Bay City News Service

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12 people like this
Posted by Ralph Kramden
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2015 at 7:29 am

Isn't a regional commission (ABAG) how Danville got stuck with the low income housing requirements that we have all come to despise? I am not sure how Danville residents benefit from any group that doesn't specifically have its residents best interests/quality of life in mind.

4 people like this
Posted by Peter Kluget
a resident of Danville
on Nov 9, 2015 at 8:39 am

Yeah! What Ralph said! After all - we live in a bubble here, with the right to demand exemption from the problems the <sniff> regular people have. Traffic in other places doesn't affect us - it simply disappears when it crosses the Danville city limits - by municipal ordinance! Same thing with the air pollution from millions of cars stuck in traffic. As for housing - well! The teachers, police officers, gardeners and housekeepers who work here can just drive in from, you know, other places, and then leave at the end of the day. Problem solved!

We deserve special treatment. We are entitled to it!

5 people like this
Posted by Longtime Resident
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 10, 2015 at 3:42 pm

So Pete, how many low income residents have you welcomed with open arms into your neighborhood?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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