May 2011

Joint Policy Committee Blinks

The Joint Policy Committee (JPC) is comprised of the four regional agencies: the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), the Bay Area Air Quality Management District BAAQMD, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). With SB 849, it was tasked by the Legislature in 2004 to:

“coordinate the development and drafting of major planning documents prepared by ABAG, MTC, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, including reviewing and commenting on major interim work products and the final draft comments prior to action by ABAG, MTC, and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.”

In its last three meetings, the JPC has walked away from the responsibility to coordinate the development of the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), with its associated Sustainable Communities Strategy (SCS), and has decided to focus instead on regional resilience and economic development. While these two subject areas certainly need the attention of the JPC, it appears that this new focus is the result of MTC not wanting the JPC involved in the RTP. Whereas the JPC was created to foster interagency cooperation, this recent move seems to be a classic turf fight--a curious one in which no one is willing to talk about it.

Given this silence and denial, TRANSDEF’s President David Schonbrunn stepped in and spoke about MTC’s decision on committed projects (See Massive Counter-Attack, next blog entry), calling upon the JPC to assert the interests of the region, which were abandoned by MTC, which would rather play politics with transportation dollars. He was gaveled down at precisely 3 minutes by JPC Chair Tom Bates, cutting off the last paragraph of his prepared remarks. See Read More for the complete comments.