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3/20/2002



Rail News: Passenger Rail

Commission decision clears funding path for San Francisco Bay Area transportation projects


Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), San Francisco Bay Area’s nine-county transportation planning, coordinating and financing agency, March 15 approved a finding that the region’s 2001 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) will help the area attain federal air-quality standards — which also clears the way for nearly $800 million worth of area transportation projects.



Project funds were frozen when Environmental Protection Agency failed to approve the motor vehicle emissions budget element of the Ozone Attainment Plan by a Jan. 21 deadline.

The RTP specifies how nearly $87.4 billion in anticipated federal, state and local funds would be spent in the region during the next 25 years. Of the total, more than 70 percent ($65 billion) would be earmarked for maintaining and operating the area’s existing road, highway and transit network. The remaining 30 percent ($22.4 billion) would provide funding for new projects or system expansion. Overall, about 77 percent of the funds outlined in the RTP would be directed toward public transit.



Part of the RTP includes MTC’s Resolution No. 3434, which adopts the Regional Transit Expansion Program providing nearly $11 billion investment for new transit projects. Such projects include a Bay Area Rapid Transit extension from Fremont to San Jose and Santa Clara; a "Central Subway" that would extend San Francisco Municipal Railway’s Third Street light-rail line to Chinatown; a BART connector to Oakland International Airport; electrification of Caltrain’s line and extension of the service to a rebuilt Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco; and a significant down payment on BART extensions or other rail improvements to Livermore and Antioch.



The TransLink™ universal fare card, which several area transit systems are testing, also would receive funding through the RTP.


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