Seamless Bay Area Announces Senate Bill XX

The Seamless Transportation Act // SB-XX

The vision:  A sustainable and seamlessly integrated transportation network anchored by world-class public transit that empowers people to fulfill their potential.

We’re proud to announce the Seamless Transportation Act. On February 22nd, 2019 [date TBD], Senator Wiener (D, San Francisco) announced legislation to integrate the Bay Area’s fragmented and confusing transit systems into a seamlessly connected, rider-focused network through reforms to transportation governance and funding.


The Why

The Bay Area has one of the fragmented public transportation systems in the country.

Over 27 different separate transit agencies receive state funds to provide service, yet there are no requirements for these agencies provide service in a coordinated way for customers.  Riders wishing to use transit for a regional trip must overcome barriers such as paying duplicate fares, long waits due to uncoordinated schedules, inconvenient transfers, and confusing, inconsistent policies.

Use of transit in the Bay Area has been declining — despite a 60% increase spending on public transit statewide over the past decade, . From 2001-2016, annual transit ridership per capita in the Bay Area fell by 10%, with average bus speeds declining by 9% and average commute times for transit users increasing by nearly 12%.

Rider experience is poor across the region. People of the Bay Area experience declining quality public transportation that is unreliable, difficult to use, inefficient, and inequitable, acting as a barrier to adopting more sustainable forms of travel, and disproportionately burdening low income and vulnerable populations.  

The ineffectiveness of state transportation investments is linked to governance and funding. Numerous programs distribute funds to dozens of weakly aligned Bay Area planning authorities, agencies, and jurisdictions with weak accountability measures to promote efficiency, coordination, and alignment with state goals.  

The What

SB-XX will enable the Bay Area to develop a sustainable and seamlessly integrated transportation network.

SB-XX aims establish greater public accountability for transportation in the Bay Area and build a connected, sustainable system that improves access to housing and jobs, and that plans for the future of mobility.  The Bill improves accountability for State investments in Bay Area transportation, by:

  • Defining clear state expectations for a seamless transportation system including goals, standards, and targets, to be tied to state sources of transportation funding;

  • Establishing a lead Bay Area public authority with the mandate to integrate all aspects of the multi-modal transportation system, including existing transit services, new forms of mobility, and private sector mobility providers

  • Establishing a State Commission on Bay Area Transportation Governance and Funding to recommend reforms to institutions and funding sources to streamline planning, delivery, and operations of public transportation in the Bay Area based on global best practices.

The How

How will it work? SB-XX improves accountability for State investments in Bay Area transportation.

The bill:

1. Directs the State to condition existing and future sources of transportation funding on alignment with the following key goals, targets, and future plans and standards for the Bay Area:  

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2. Addresses the lack of institutional accountability by initiating comprehensive institutional reform:

  • It requires that by Jan. 1, 2021, the State must designate a Transportation Planning and Coordinating Authority (TPCA) for the Bay Area, with mandate and authority to:

    • Oversee goals, standards, targets; integrate all aspects of the multi-modal transportation system

    • Establish regional Centers of Excellence that pool expertise & resources for key system functions

    • Distribute state funds to advance goals, targets and standards

    • Oversee Permitting, Licensing and Data sharing for private transportation.

  • The Bill creates a State Commission on Bay Area Transportation Governance and Funding, mandated to study the collective and individual performance of existing transportation institutions and funding sources, and to recommend reforms to the State Legislature, including possible agency mergers and/or consolidation of key functions that improve performance.  

  • The Commission shall recommend what entity should permanently assume the Bay Area TPCA role.

  • Until the Legislature designates a permanent TPCA, the Bill designates MTC as the interim TPCA.  

Want more information?

We’ve put together answers to key questions and have drawn out our general timeline to tell the story in greater detail.


How can I help?

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