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Published January 20, 2004
Volume 12, Number 1



Business From Throughout the Bay Area Produce Transportation Improvement Plan

Regional Transportation Initiative
The website for the Regional Transportation Initiative (RTI) is a
www.BayAreaCouncil.org/RTI



Transportation has long been recognized as one of the region’s most important issues. Whether it’s commuting to a place of employment or getting out of town for a weekend, all of us have experienced the impact that transportation has on our lifestyles.

Transportation is also a chief concern of area businesses. Companies depend on the ability to move goods as well as the ability to reach customers and have access to skilled employees in order to grow and prosper. When commutes become unmanageable, the negative impacts spread far and wide.

That’s why a number of business associations from throughout the Bay Area formed the Regional Transportation Initiative (RTI), a group managed by the Bay Area Council which facilitates communication between regional transportation authorities such as the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the business community. The Tri-Valley Business Council is the local representative in the RTI.

The group’s latest effort is the Strategic Plan for Bay Area Mobility Improvement, which identifies a comprehensive, multi-dimensional approach to the Bay Area’s future transportation needs.

The Plan addresses three major areas:

- Improving the Performance of the Existing System: The Plan details a number of strategies including additional coordination of land use, planning, and transportation plans by local governments; varying bridge tolls as demand rises and falls as well as allowing single-occupant vehicles to pay a toll in order to use carpool lanes; increased use of transportation technology ranging from ramp metering to electronic monitoring of road conditions; increased cooperation between independent transit operators to create an integrated, seamless transit system; increased employer-sponsored transportation programs such as flex time and employee transit subsidies; and improved scheduling of the movement of goods in the region.

- Getting More Value from New Expenditures: The Plan calls for reforms that will reduce the cost of designing and constructing transportation improvements while also cutting the delays between planning and ribbon-cutting.

- Invest in Expanding the Transportation System: While the first two elements of the plan are designed to ensure that the existing transportation system will operate as efficiently as possible, the Plan also recognizes that an increase in the amount of transportation spending is necessary to match growing population and employment. This part of the plan is the most ambitious, as it recommends over $20 billion in construction costs. Recommended local projects include extending the Dublin-Pleasanton BART line to Livermore; expanding the carrying capacity of the core BART system; linking the Walnut Creek and Dublin-Pleasanton BART stations with high-quality transit such as light rail; upgrading ACE equipment and service; constructing a cross-connector between I-680 and I-880; Upgrading State Route 84 between I-580 and I-680; and constructing a second flyover at the I-580/I-680 interchange.

The Plan has been met with interest by the MTC, says the Bay Area Council’s Michael Cunningham. “We have had some conversations with the MTC and I think it’s safe to say that they share interest in pretty much everything in the Plan,” he explains. “I think they’re pleased to have a business community group adding its voice in calling for some of these important changes.”

In fact, he RTI has already seen some success with the transportation body. The MTC has, for the first time ever, included land use and development issues in their Regional Transportation Plan. Cunningham adds that the group will continue to seek opportunities to implement the recommendations in the plan.

The RTI is also currently seeking to expand and broaden support for the Plan and local businesses interesting in getting involved are urged to contact the Tom O’Malley of the Tri-Valley Business Council at (925) 890-1892. For more information on the Regional Transportation Initiative or the Strategic Plan for Bay Area Mobility Improvement, contact Michael Cunningham at (415) 981-6600.

 

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