July 19 2002
Metropolitan Transportation Commission
101 Eighth Street
Oakland, California 94607
by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Re: Comments on the draft 2003 TIP
To Whom It May Concern:
The Regional Alliance For Transit ("RAFT") has concluded that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission ("MTC") cannot adopt its draft 2003 Transportation Improvement Program ("2003 TIP") until it undertakes a new conformity analysis.
RAFT believes the MTC is attempting to rely on an exemption contained in 40 CFR §93.122(e) to permit it to use a previous and now dated analysis. That exemption is only available if the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") has agreed to accept the analysis as a part of its approval of the State Implementation Plan ("SIP") or if the federal conformity regulations apply, as specified in 40 CFR 51.390. Neither case applies, so the exemption under 40 CFR §93.122(e) is not available.
This means the MTC is left with §93.110 of the Bay Area's Conformity Procedures, which requires the use of the latest planning assumptions in the determination of conformity, including (c) and (d), which state:
(c) The conformity determination for each transportation plan and TIP must discuss how transit operating policies (including fares and service levels) and assumed transit ridership have changed since the previous conformity determination; &
(d) The conformity determination must include reasonable assumptions about transit service and increases in transit fares and road and bridge tolls over time.
In undertaking the new conformity analysis, MTC must utilize the latest information on Bay Area mass transit ridership decreases, fare increases and service reductions since the previous effective conformity determination and use reasonable assumptions about future transit fares and service. These assumptions must be developed after "consultation" with other agencies and the public. Given the severe economic downturn of the past half year (the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District, for example, is the latest operator to announce both fare increases and service reductions), MTC's forecast about future transit ridership levels will have to be reduced materially.
Further, MTC must use the most recently available information about the required implementation of TCM 2, available from both the San Francisco Municipal Railway ("Muni") and the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District ("AC Transit"). Both of these large operators earlier this year finalized their detailed plans to meet their obligations in the settlement of litigation over the Clean Air Act (Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, et al. v. Metropolitan Transportation Commission, et al., C01-0750 TEH). Failure to provide funding to put those plans into operation could interfere with implementation of TCM 2, thereby failing to meet the requirements of §93.113 of the Bay Area's Conformity Procedures.
As a result of widespread ridership decreases and fare increases, both well documented in the press, MTC's claim, made earlier this year, that the Bay Area will meet the ridership gains required by TCM 2, without implementing the plans of Muni and AC Transit, appears unreasonable to RAFT.
cc: OIG, US EPA
OIG, US DOT