When it comes to building the Bay Area's bicycle transportation infrastructure, it's not the thought that counts. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) gave the Bay Area its first ever bicycle plan, but didn't include a single extra penny to actually build the system it describes in the plan.
The MTC distributes most of the $2.1 billion that is spent on transportation every year in the Bay Area. Most of the money goes to transit and another large chunk goes to roads. Less than one percent is spent on bicycle projects. The Regional Bicycle Advocacy Coalition (REBAC) requested that the MTC create a special fund called "Safe Routes to Transit" to build parking and bicycle access to fund the highest priority bicycle projects, but the MTC denied that request. Board of Supervisors President Tom Ammiano, one of San Francisco's representatives to the MTC, supported the request. Mayor Willie Brown's representative to the Commission, Jon Rubin, voted against it.
The MTC did make some improvements to the Bay Area bicycling scene with their adoption of the unfunded bicycle plan. A new regional advisory committee will be created. All MTC-funded road projects will have to include bicycle and pedestrian facilities "to the extent feasible." And the MTC will lobby the U.S. Congress for more bicycle funding when the federal transportation legislation is reauthorized in 2003.
The regional setback does not seriously affect our vision for San Francisco because our local agency responsible for spending the money that comes from the MTC - the Transportation Authority - has shown a willingness to pay for bicycle projects out of flexible funding sources that could go for transit, roads, or bikes. Also, Bay Area bike advocates plan to work with the plaintiffs in a suit against the MTC to fund bicycle projects as part of the settlement.
Please send a letter to Supervisor Tom Ammiano, also president of the Transportation Authority, encouraging him to make sure that San Francisco spends a fair share of its flexible transportation dollars on "Safe Routes to Transit" so residents can easily and safely get to regional and local transit by bicycle.