It’s no secret that it costs a lot to live in the Bay Area; that traffic is bad and getting worse; that long commutes maycontribute to global warming — or that the three are connected — and leaders say it’s time the region did something about it.
The Association of Bay Area Governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and regional leaders will gather today in Oakland to hammer out the latest facts, ask tough questions — and begin to craft policies aimed at resolving the Bay Area’s biggest problems, said MTC spokesman John Goodwin.
“We need to do more than talk — we need to act,” ABAG Executive Director Henry Gardner said. “I think that for the people who are arguably the smartest people in the country, we ought to be able to figure out a solution.”
Regional housing is frequently rated as the most expensive in the country, while traffic is rated as second-worst, behind only Los Angeles.
In addition, 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay Area comes from transportation — a bigger chunk than in all of California or in the United States, according to data from the California Climate Action Team and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.
The climate issue may become the catalyst for major regional change, Gardner said.
“We want to ask: Would you be willing to have a smaller house and yard to live closer to work, and would you be willing to accept more traffic and homes in your community if it meant more open space and air quality,” Goodwin said.
The answers to those questions will be used during the next four years to craft MTC’s next regional transportation plan, a road map for changes and fixes to the system between now and the year 2035, Goodwin said.
Today’s roster of dignitaries and officials will include San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom; San Jose Vice Mayor Dave Cortese; MTC Chair Bill Dodd; Manuel Pastor, of the Program for Environmental and Regional Equity; MTC Executive Director Steve Heminger; Marin County Supervisor Susan Adams; Oakland Councilmember Jane Brunner; Stuart Cohen, of the Transportation and Land Use Coalition; and Carl Guardino, with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.
ABAG and MTC’s summit, “Bay Area on the Move,” takes place today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Oakland Marriott City Center, West Hall, 1001 Broadway.
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