Air Resources Board
Alan C. Lloyd, Ph.D.

Winston H. Hickox
Agency Secretary

Gray Davis

2020 L Street • P.O. Box 2815 Sacramento, California 95512 •

October 26, 1999

Francis Chin, General Counsel
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 8th Street
Oakland, CA 94607-4700

Re: Transportation Control Measures

Dear Mr. Chin:

As you know, at a July 22, 1999 hearing our Board asked staff to report to them on the question of whether the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) has the legal authority to adopt four TCMs proposed by Dr. Holtzclaw of the Sierra Club. I wrote to you on July 28, 1999, to ask the MTC's views on this question, and I want to thank you for the letter and memorandum you sent in response. Based on this written material and my phone staff’s conversations with you, I would like to let you know of the following conclusions which I am reporting to our Board.

We agree that the MTC has no direct authority over land use decisions made by local cities and counties within the Bay Area. However, the four TCMs proposed by Dr. Holtzclaw do not require the MTC to exercise direct land use authority. Rather, each of the TCMs would require the MTC to fund transportation projects only if certain criteria are met. As I understand the legal opinion that you provided us, MTC does have the authority to allocate funding based on priorities specified in the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), and the contents of the RTP are decided upon by the MTC. It is therefore possible that MTC could amend the RTP and thereafter use its funding allocation authority as described in the four TCMs (to the extent permitted by legal limitations that may apply to particular funding sources). My understanding is that the issue is not really whether MTC lacks the legal authority to implement the proposed TCMs, but that MTC believes it would not be appropriate to do so, for the various practical and political reasons outlined in your memorandum.

Having described the ARB's staff's views on the narrow issue of legal authority, I would like to more generally discuss how the ARB views the TCMs proposed by Dr. Holtzclaw. Although the air quality benefits of ARB's vehicle and fuels programs are outpacing growth for now, the long-term air quality solution for California must include an efficient transportation system and reduced per capita vehicle miles of travel. Transportation control measures (TCMs) provide a method to move toward reduced motor vehicle use and activity and will play an integral role in the Bay Area's long-term clean air strategy. Thus, we support the concept underlying the TCMs suggested by Dr. Holtzclaw, which is that MTC should give higher priority than it currently does to funding projects that reduce automobile dependency and discourage sprawl. With renewed interest among elected officials in reducing sprawl and improving community livability, we expect that MTC may find political support for such approaches. We also encourage the three co-lead agencies in the Bay Area (the MTC, the Association of Bay Area Governments, and Bay Area Air Quality Management District) to work together to develop an infrastructure and integrated policies that effectively link transportation, land use, and air quality.

Thank you for your help in resolving these issues. If you have any questions or would like to discuss these matters further, please feel free to call me at (916) 322-2884.

Kathleen Walsh
General Counsel


cc: Robert Kwong, Bay Area AQMD
Dr. Holtzclaw, Sierra Club
Association of Bay Area Governments