Tag Archives: San Jose

Coming soon… an Oakland voice on the MTC

28 Jan

I’d been hoping to write another real blog post this week, but it’s just not going to happen. In the meantime, I wanted to share the exciting news that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) voted Wednesday morning to approve a proposal that will likely lead to Oakland and San Jose representatives being added to the Commission. I tweeted the meeting, so here’s what happened:

Woo hoo! Finally got the MTC feed to load. @jeanquan was speaking but didn’t catch what she said. #oakmtg

Ugh, item on expanding MTC moved to later in agenda because not all commissioners present. #oakmtg

MTC’s executive director mentions Barbara Boxer sitting with Transpo Chair John Mica & hopes they’ll work together on transportation #oakmtg

MTC now talking about Haggerty’s proposal to add Oakland & San Jose commissioners. Report here: http://bit.ly/fPHAD6 #oakmtg

If MTC votes in support of this today, will need to be approved by state legislature (that shouldn’t be a problem). #oakmtg

Compromise in this proposal – Alameda & Santa Clara wouldn’t be eligible for ABAG seats so couldn’t have more than 3 reps. #oakmtg

Chair Haggerty stresses the importance of 3 largest cities – Oakland, San Jose & San Francisco – having seat at MTC table.#oakmtg

Haggerty under the delusion that Jean Quan has president’s ear because she was at a state dinner! #oakmtg

Jon Rubin, SF’s MTC rep asks for a continuance of this issue so SF can study it further. Won’t support proposal today. #oakmtg

Haggerty doesn’t want to continue item but praises Rubin for his involvement in the process of creating this proposal. #oakmtg

Woo! Public speakers list sounds good – rep from San Jose mayor, rep from Jean Quan & @TransForm_Alert staffer. #oakmtg

Carli Paine of @TransForm_Alert says this is a good government issue – populations need fair representation. #oakmtg

Sharon Cornu on behalf of @jeanquan explains the importance of Oakland in region – airport, port, housing, etc. #oakmtg

MTC now arguing over Robert’s Rules about whether motion to continue constitutes substitute motion… fun stuff. #oakmtg

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates says that though commissioners come from diff places, it’s important to think about whole region. #oakmtg

Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover opposes proposal – says Contra Costa is growing too & needs equal representation. #oakmtg

Hah! Contra Costa rep Amy Worth says Oakland Airport Connector example of MTC coming together & respecting all localities.#oakmtg

Glover & Worth are basically just whining that Contra Costa doesn’t get a third seat too. Don’t seem to have other arguments. #oakmtg

Haggerty – this isn’t about Oakland or San Jose getting new projects. It’s about having a better discussion at MTC. #oakmtg

MTC voting on 30 day continuance of item to add Oakland & San Jose seats. Motion fails. #oakmtg

Woo hoo! MTC votes to add Oakland & San Jose seats – 9 yes – 3 no – 1 abstention. Now this goes to the Assembly. #oakmtg

Next stop is the Assembly – I’ll keep an eye on the bill and will put up an alert if letters and calls are needed. If all goes well in the Assembly and Senate, we could have an Oakland seat on the MTC starting in 2012! Thanks to Supervisor Haggerty for bringing this proposal forward and making the case for why it’s necessary.

I agree with Scott Haggerty 100% – Oakland needs representation on the MTC

25 Jan

UPDATE: Woo hoo! The MTC voted for this proposal (9 yes – 3 no – 1 abstention). Next it goes to the Assembly.

Wow. For a long time transit advocates have complained about the geographical inequity of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and other metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) around the country. While Oakland and San Jose have no representation on MTC, cities as small as Rohnert Park do! That’s because most of the Commission seats are divvied up by counties, with the smaller counties having one representative and the larger counties having two representatives. (Alameda County is currently represented by Supervisor Scott Haggerty and Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.)

This could all change tomorrow. As Denis Cuff reports, the MTC is considering adding two commissioners to its 19 member board. These commissioners would represent Oakland and San Jose and be appointed by the mayors of the two cities. This makes an immense amount of sense, not only because Alameda and Santa Clara are the two largest counties in the region, but also because it’s ridiculous that two of the largest Bay Area cities have no representation on the Commission.

I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had about the absurdity and unfairness of Oakland not having a representative on the MTC. I even asked Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood abut this at Netroots Nation. If you’ve ever talked to me about transit, chances are you’re sick of hearing me talk about this issue.

It’s impossible to know, but I think the MTC discussions about the Oakland Airport Connector would have been very different with an Oakland representative on the Commission. Beyond the OAC, Oakland has important transportation needs, like equitable funding of AC Transit and funding for the Broadway Shuttle. Plus, we have a Port and airport that demand careful attention and planning.

I can hardly believe I’m writing this but I agree 100% with Scott Haggerty, who wrote a persuasive memo on this issue that’s worth reading if you’re unconvinced.

Of course, not everyone agrees that adding these two seats is a good idea. I don’t know where the other commissioners stand, but Cuff reports that the two Contra Costa County commissioners, Federal Glover and Amy Worth, oppose the proposal.

The vote is tomorrow, Wednesday, January 26th. The meeting starts at 9:30am at 101 Eighth Street in downtown Oakland (across the street from Lake Merritt BART). This is the first item on the agenda so if you’d like to speak, you should be able to do so quickly and then leave.

It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to make it, but I’ll listen online and will do some live tweeting.

This proposal won’t fix everything that is wrong with the MTC, but it will be a big step in the right direction. Let’s hope that Oakland will soon have the representation it deserves on the MTC!