TO: Commissioners Brown, Kinsey, Beall, Nevin, Rubin and Spering
DATE: July 9, 2002
FR: Executive Director
RE: Questions raised by Torlakson proposal for "Regional Plan"
At the meeting last week between MTC and ABAG board members regarding SB 1243, there was considerable discussion about Senator Torlakson's latest proposal for MTC and ABAG to complete a "comprehensive regional plan" by January 1, 2005. This proposal raises a number of policy and procedural questions that should be raised at the next meeting of the MTC/ABAG board members tomorrow, July 10, at 11:30 a.m.
1. Is this regional plan intended to take precedence over the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP), since one could argue that transportation is but one element of a "comprehensive" plan?
2. Does this mean that ABAG would need to approve the RTP, either as a stand-alone document or as an element of the regional plan? Wouldn't this encourage forum shopping by the RTP critics, who will seek a different answer from ABAG if they don't like what MTC tells them?
3. What happens if MTC approves the RTP by 2005, but ABAG fails to approve the regional plan and/or the RTP by the same date? Aren't we building in the possibility for another "conformity lapse" with the 2004 RTP?
4. Since the RTP also must be updated by early 2005, won't this mean that the transportation plan and regional plan will be developed simultaneously? Won't this introduce considerable uncertainty in development of the RTP, as we will be shooting at a constantly shifting target in the regional plan under development at the same time?
5. Is the regional plan proposed by Senator Torlakson really "comprehensive", since it omits mention of air quality, water quality, and other regional issues? If these issues were included, wouldn't it increase the complexity by adding other agencies to the process such as the Air District and Regional Water Board?
6. Since neither the Legislature nor ABAG has any spare change lying around, won't MTC be asked to fund the regional plan at a cost that could well exceed $1 million?
If the above questions cannot be resolved to MTC's satisfaction, I strongly recommend that we oppose any efforts to include the proposal for a "regional plan" in SB 1243. Please let me know if I can provide any further information in advance of tomorrow's meeting with ABAG.