This morning, the Bay Area’s two regional governmental agencies—the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG)—unanimously voted to pursue merging the two organizations into one.
For years, Greenbelt Alliance has believed that the region would benefit from better integration of MTC and ABAG; a full merger of the two agencies would accomplish that. The Bay Area is the only major metropolitan region with two regional governmental agencies instead of one. Today’s vote, which was sparked by an earlier proposal to merge just the planning departments of the two agencies, is an important step towards more effective regional governance.
We were also pleased that agency leaders explicitly embraced Greenbelt Alliance’s call to ensure that increased integration of the agencies must address issues of housing, transportation, conservation of natural and agricultural lands, social equity, and economic development in an integrated and holistic fashion.
Now comes the hard part.
There have been several other attempts to merge these two agencies over the past decades; all of them have failed. Greenbelt Alliance will remain engaged over the coming months as the agencies explore options for how a merger could unfold. If we all work together, we can ensure that the region won’t have to have this same conversation again 10 years from now.
Photo: James Gaither via Flickr