MTC approves new guidelines that set the stage for better regional planning

Clarrissa Cabansagan Headshot

No matter how great the script is, the director’s vision won’t come to life if the actors don’t play their parts. That’s why it’s so important for counties to play a coordinated role in implementing Plan Bay Area, our region’s 25-year transportation spending blueprint.

Earlier this summer, TransForm joined over 30 other organizations led by the 6 Wins Network to urge regional leaders to emphasize the importance of aligning county transportation plans with the goals of Plan Bay Area—especially reducing greenhouse gas pollution and sustainably housing the Bay’s growing population.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) affirmed this key step by adopting stronger guidelines for countywide planning at their September meeting.

Crucial new elements in the improved guidelines encourage counties to:

  • pursue a broad and open public participation process,
  • use a performance-driven, outcome-based approach, and
  • conduct an equity analysis to make sure communities of all incomes benefit from county plans. 

MTC’s own processes set a good example for counties to follow, as their transportation plans include goals for community health and well-being.   

The new guidelines also notably specify the two state-mandated regional targets that county plans should be working toward, and highlight the Bay Area’s own goal to not displace current low-income residents. 

Prior to adopting the guidelines, San Francisco Commissioner Scott Wiener helpfully reminded his fellow Commissioners that countywide planning should have goals—just as Plan Bay Area has goals.

These strengthened guidelines that focus on health and equity for communities of all incomes set the stage for local planners to bring Plan Bay Area to life. To move us towards the future that Plan Bay Area envisions, county agencies and officials must embrace these guidelines and work together as a region. TransForm hopes to see counties act soon to set in motion regional planning that will truly benefit us all. 

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TransForum is the blog of TransForm, California's leading transportation advocate. For more about our work, including ways you can take action and contribute, visit TransFormCA.org.