This morning the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s Planning Committee heard a report on five “Alternative Scenarios” that staff from MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) are proposing to model over the next few months in an attempt to discern the most effective ways to move the needle on greenhouse gas reduction over the next 25 years.
Each of the 5 Alternative Scenarios reflect different combinations of land use patterns, transportation investments, and transportation policies. Of course, as with any modeling exercise, the devil is deep in the details. What kind of road and parking pricing strategies are represented? How healthy of a transit network are they depicting? Are these idealized, wealthy futures or more "constrained" ones?
TransForm, Greenbelt Alliance, and Public Advocates all submitted letters calling for a new equity-focused scenario. TransForm's letter also goes into significant detail about key transportation issues, and how to make sure the proposed scenarios will achieve our regional goals and also be able to be adopted. Greenbelt Alliance's letter recommends that scenarios use all available policy tools to maximize housing production. And Public Advocates' letter, submitted on behalf of 20 organizations, provides more detail on the proposed "Equity, Environment and Jobs" scenario supported by all three letters.
After a long run of public comment, several elected officials on the MTC and ABAG committees echoed many of these concerns in their discussion.
The Tea Party also showed up, spreading fears that regional planning is an unconstitutional attempt at domination imposed by international governments. They singled out TransForm for special critique, with their leader complaining that we don't represent her individual point of view. The elected officials at the table did not seem impressed, with Union City Mayor Mark Green pointing out that the region has to meet targets set by state law.
The meeting concluded with staff committing to revise their scenarios and bring them back for more discussion at a joint meeting of the ABAG Administrative Committee and MTC, probably at the June 22nd full Commission meeting. We'll be there!