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Executive Director's Report

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STEVE HEMINGER’S REPORT TO THE
COMMISSION MEETING OF MAY 27, 2015

SUMMARY OF EVENTS:

CMA Directors Meeting
April 24, Cordelia

I met with the directors of the Bay Area’s congestion management agencies to discuss the upcoming second cycle of the One Bay Area Grant (OBAG) program.

Governor Sets 2030 GHG Target
April 29, Sacramento

Governor Jerry Brown issued an executive order to establish a California greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. A copy of the order can be found here: gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18938. You will recall that Governor Schwarzenegger issued a similarly ambitious executive order establishing GHG targets for 2050, which is at the crux of the SANDAG case pending before the California Supreme Court. The Legislature has only set a statutory GHG reduction target for 2020, although bills are pending in this session that would establish a statutory target for 2030. To further complicate the picture, SB 375 (Steinberg) requires the California Air Resources Board to set GHG reduction targets for Sustainable Community Strategies (SCS) in both 2020 and 2035.

Congressional Transportation Forum
May 6, San Rafael

Commissioner Sartipi and I joined several North Bay colleagues in a panel discussion on the reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program sponsored by Congressman Jared Huffman, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He was joined by Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), who is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and has introduced legislation to raise the federal gas tax to pay for the next transportation bill the old-fashioned way.

Northern California Megaregion Meeting
May 7, Sacramento

Vice Chair Mackenzie and Commissioners Luce and Worth met with their counterparts from the Sacramento Area and San Joaquin Council of Governments (COGs) to discuss issues of mutual interest in the “Megaregion” that we all call home. On the agenda were the expansion plans for the Capitols and San Joaquin’s intercity rail services, goods movement between the regions, and the ongoing implementation of SB 375. The next session will be hosted by the San Joaquin COG.

May Budget Revision Released
May 14, Sacramento

Governor Brown released the so-called “May Revise” of his FY 2015-16 state budget proposal, and the big news for transportation was his doubling of the revenue estimate for the Cap and Trade program to $2.2 billion statewide. As a result, the various transit, housing, and High Speed Rail categorical programs funded by Cap and Trade proceeds will grow roughly by 100% as well. The Commission agenda today features our proposed recommendations in two of those categories: the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities (AHSC) program and the Transit and Intercity Rail program.

“Big 4” MPO Meeting
May 18, Los Angeles

Alix Bockelman, Ken Kirkey and I met with our counterparts at the Sacramento, San Diego and Los Angeles metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to discuss a number of issues ranging from Governor Brown’s new executive order to the status of the various Cap and Trade funding programs. In particular, the Southern California Association of Governments is quite unhappy with the implementation of the AHSC program to date, and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de Leon may be seeking legislative changes to the program as a result.

House Passes Another Extension
May 19, Washington DC

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a two-month extension of the federal surface transportation program through July 31st, and the Senate followed suit before leaving for its Memorial Day Recess. Earlier efforts had focused on an extension through the end of calendar year 2015, but that would have required the tax writing committees to come up with new General Fund revenue to pay for the longer extension. The Highway Trust Fund has a big enough bank balance to last through the end of July – so July it is.

Bay Area Council Outlook Conference
May 21, San Francisco

The annual Bay Area Council Outlook Conference featured speeches by Governor Jerry Brown, former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm (who is now a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley), and a panel discussion featuring the three “Big City” mayors: Commissioners Liccardo and Schaaf and Mayor Ed Lee. It was gratifying to hear all three mayors emphasizing the importance of regional collaboration on housing and transportation issues. The only sour note came when Mayor Liccardo announced that his #1 priority is to swipe the Athletics baseball club away from Oakland.

Plan Bay Area 2040 Open Houses

I wanted to thank all the commissioners and staff who participated in our successful (and relatively stress-free) first round of open houses for the 2017 update of Plan Bay Area. All of these county-level meetings are now complete except for Marin, which will take place tomorrow in San Rafael.

Factoid of the Month

A recent report from the Legislative Analyst Office (LAO) on state income tax generations revealed a few striking conclusions. First, the Bay Area generated more than $20 billion in 2013 state income tax revenue, accounting for one-third of total tax revenue with just a sixth of the state’s population. Second, and even more dramatic, the income tax revenue generated in the U.S. 101 peninsula corridor counties of San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara was roughly the same as Los Angeles, which has three times the population. The LAO report can be found here: www.lao.ca.gov/LAOEconTax/Article/Detail/96. Thanks to Micah Weinberg at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute for bringing this information to my attention.

MTC Operational Statistics

The monthly report on the performance of MTC’s operating programs:


Upcoming Events

June 11-12 — TRB Executive Committee, Washington DC