Plan Bay Area Analyzed In Depth

TRANSDEF submitted extensive comments today on Plan Bay Area, the regional transportation plan for the Bay Area. A condensed version for policymakers was submitted earlier. Here’s a summary of the top points about what’s wrong with the Draft EIR:

Improper assessment of GHG impacts
o SB 375 calls for reducing regional emissions from cars and light trucks. Without State emission reduction measures, regional emissions
increase 10%.
o RTP will impede the state's achievement of GHG emissions reductions targets set by SB 32.
o Climate Initiatives from the 2013 RTP have not been funded. Why should these Initiatives get credit, especially when 62% of the 2035 claimed emissions reductions come from these Initiatives? If they are not credible, the RTP fails to achieve the 2035 target.

MTC is flat wrong that there are no transportation and land use strategies to reduce GHGs. MTC refused to study the TRANSDEF alternative that proposed exactly such strategies. These feasible Mitigations must be considered:
o Make compliance with the Countywide Transportation Plan Guidelines mandatory for submitting projects into the RTP. This will put a halt to the sprawl machine.
o Condition MTC's funding of projects on compliance with a set of measures that motivate change.
o Remove the VMT-increasing projects from the RTP list. This includes the Express lanes and highway widening projects.
o Remove the transit megaprojects that do not cost-effectively reduce regional VMT. These include BART-to-San Jose, Caltrain Electrification and Clipper.

The TRANSDEF RTP Alternative sought to put to the test MTC's longstanding assertion that "transportation investments do not move the needle." The Alternative identified a completely different RTP focus, where cost-effective transit, VMT reduction and stopping sprawl are the top goals.