Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC works with each county Congestion Management Planning Agency or Transportation Authority to plan, develop, and program transportation investments. MTC also works with the Association of Bay Area Governments to forecast growth and plan housing needs for the region. In addition, the Legislature established two additional agencies under the MTC umbrella: the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) to administer toll revenues and maintenance needs of seven state-owned toll bridges and Service Authority for Freeways & Expressways (SAFE) to manage Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks and network of roadside emergency call boxes. Additionally, MTC serves as the Rideshare Agency for the region.
- Climate Initiatives Program--MTC has taken an active approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions produced by transportation by launching the Climate Initiatives Program. MTC's current RTP, Plan Bay Area, directs $226 million through 2040 for investment in the most successful of the climate initiatives. Highlights of the program include tax incentives to commuters carpool or ride transit to work, grants to expand car-sharing, incentives to buy or lease electric vehicles, and increasing active transportation through Spare the Air Youth and Safe Routes to Schools. To date, the most successful initiatives have been a demonstration program from the City of Napa and Sonoma County to recycle concrete pavement in place, a campaign from Redwood City to encourage mode shift in the downtown area through car sharing, bike sharing, and short distance vanpools, and the installation of an electric system infrastructure from the Port of Oakland at two of its berths to allow ships to plug into an electrical grid during loading and unloading.
- Lifeline Transportation Program--The LTP is a grant program that funds projects that improve mobility for low-income residents in the Bay Area and addresses gaps or barriers identified through inclusive community-based transportation plans in underserved communities. Some examples of projects are transit stop improvements, pedestrian and bicycle network improvements, transportation services for seniors and children, community shuttles, and auto loan programs.
- One Bay Area--MTC's One Bay Area grant program directs flexible federal funding to priority development areas, or areas within existing communities that the region has identified as the best places to focus future growth. They are typically located near transit and connect to key destinations, such as shopping centers and employment. Member jurisdictions can only qualify for funds if they have a complete streets policy and an approved housing element that shows where its affordable housing goals are.
- TOAH--MTC has invested $10 million in the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund, which provides financing for the development of affordable housing and other community services near transit lines. Because of rising housing costs in the Bay Area, residents are forced to live further away from their jobs. The TOAH fund supports mixed-use developments that incorporate affordable housing near high quality transit so working families have equitable access to jobs and other vital services.
The Commission is comprised of 18 local elected officials that represent all 9 Bay Area counties. Each county gets a specific number of representatives. Alameda and Santa Clara counties each have three representatives, one selected by the county Board of Supervisors; one selected by the mayors of the cities in each county; and one appointed by the mayor of the largest city (Oakland in Alameda County, San Jose in Santa Clara County). San Francisco is also represented by three members, one appointed by the Board of Supervisors; one by the mayor; and a third selected by the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) whose representative is required by state law to be a San Francisco resident. Contra Costa and San Mateo counties each have two representatives, one selected by each county's Board of Supervisors; and the other selected by the mayors of the cities in each county. Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties each appoint one MTC commissioner to represent both their Board of Supervisors and the cities within each county. ABAG also selects a local elected official from its board to sit on MTC. There are 3 ex-officio members representing U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and California State Transportation Agency.
MTC developed a public engagement tool to educate and engage the public around regional transportation planning constraints. It became an effective means for getting broad public input on plan elements.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) created a new revolving loan program—called the Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Program—that provides early loan financing for affordable housing projects that are well-located in transit-rich areas.
Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) since 2001 and of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) since July 2017, will retire from both positions on February 28, 2019.