On Wednesday, in my role as representative of San Mateo County to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), I attended the MTC and Bay Area Toll Authority Oversight Committee meetings at the Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco.
A highlight from Wednesday’s meeting was the BATA Oversight Committee’s vote to approve a resolution to put Regional Measure 3 (RM3), a proposed $3 toll hike, on the June 2018 ballot. RM3 would gradually raise the toll on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges to finance a $4.45 billion suite of transportation projects. The first dollar hike would come in January 2019, followed by subsequent $1 hikes down the line in 2022 and 2025. I am proud of my vote today, and the BATA Oversight Committee’s unanimous decision to bring RM3 to the voters on June 5, 2018. This was a huge step forward to addressing our regional transportation issues and traffic congestion.
Another of my top transportation priorities is the electrification of Caltrain’s diesel fleet of trains. Caltrain estimates that a completely electrified Caltrain fleet will dramatically improve regional air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 176,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent and take more than 619,000 daily vehicle miles off the region’s roadways by 2040.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the Commission also adopted three Senate Bill 1 (SB1) proposed regional Competitive Programs. As part of the Transit and Intercity Rail Program (TIRCP), MTC approved a grant for “Caltrain Electrification – Full Fleet Conversion and Expansion” to help fund the purchase of 96 additional Electric Multiple Unit Trains (EMUs) and a series of associated projects. Electrification of Caltrain will significantly reduce emissions and toxic air contaminant health risks along the corridor, and this was a very important vote to continue the full conversion to electrification.