Metropolitan Transportation Commission (San Francisco Bay Area)

Last updated
Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)
Metropolitan Transportation Commission Logo.png
Agency overview
Jurisdiction San Francisco Bay Area
HeadquartersBay Area Metro Center, 375 Beale St, San Francisco, California 94105
Annual budget$1.36 billion (2019) [1]
Agency executive
  • Therese McMillan [2] , Executive Director
Child agencies
Website OOjs UI icon edit-ltr-progressive.svg

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the government agency responsible for regional transportation planning and financing in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was created in 1970 by the State of California, with support from the Bay Area Council, to coordinate transportation services in the Bay Area's nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. [3] The MTC is fourth most populous metropolitan planning organization in the United States.



MTC is designated a regional transportation planning agency (RTPA) by the State of California and a metropolitan planning organization (MPO) by the federal government. MTC is not the Bay Area's council of governments (COG); the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) holds that role.

MTC administers state-provided money through the Transportation Development Act (TDA) and has decision-making authority over the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). MTC administers federal funding through various grant programs, including the Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC) Program, Low Income Flexible Transportation (LIFT) Program, and Innovative Climate Grants Program.

MTC has overseen administration of toll revenue collected on the eight State-owned bridges in the Bay Area through the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) since 2005. From 1997 through 2004, BATA administered only a portion of the toll revenue.

Since 1999, MTC has worked to implement a regional transit fare-collection system called Clipper (formerly TransLink), where transit riders use a single card to pay fares on the region's different transit systems.

MTC manages various regional operational programs, including 511, the Freeway Service Patrol (FSP), call boxes, ridesharing, FasTrak electronic toll collection, regional pavement management (including the pavement management system software StreetSaver), arterial operations, and regional signal timing programs.

MTC operates a library [4] that jointly supports MTC and ABAG. The library, which is open to the public, has a collection covering transportation and planning issues for the Bay Area.


MTC's annual budget in 2019 was $1.36 billion. The MTC collected $724.9 million in toll revenue in 2019. The MTC received $372 million in grants from the state and federal government and sales tax. [5]

At the end of 2019, MTC had $3.5 billion in cash. [5]

Governing structure

MTC is guided by a 21-member board of commissioners:

MTC is headquartered in San Francisco and has approximately 289 employees. In July 2016, the ABAG board approved the consolidation of its staff under MTC, combining the work of the Bay Area's two primary regional planning agencies. [6] The current Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission is Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Dumbarton Bridge (California) Southernmost bridge crossing the San Francisco Bay

The Dumbarton Bridge is the southernmost of the highway bridges across San Francisco Bay in California. Carrying over 70,000 vehicles and about 118 pedestrian and bicycle crossings daily, it is the shortest bridge across San Francisco Bay at 1.63 miles. Its eastern end is in Fremont, near Newark in the San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and its western end is in Menlo Park. Bridging State Route 84 across the bay, it has three lanes each way and a separated bike/pedestrian lane along its south side. Like the San Mateo Bridge to the north, power lines parallel the bridge.

San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge Complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay

The San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge, known locally as the Bay Bridge, is a complex of bridges spanning San Francisco Bay in California. As part of Interstate 80 and the direct road between San Francisco and Oakland, it carries about 260,000 vehicles a day on its two decks. It has one of the longest spans in the United States.

FasTrak Toll company

FasTrak is the electronic toll collection (ETC) system used in the state of California in the United States. The system is used statewide on all of the toll roads, toll bridges, and high-occupancy toll lanes along the California Freeway and Expressway System.

The Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) is a regional planning agency incorporating various local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. It encompasses nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay. Those counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. It has the ability to establish housing and transportation goals for cities to minimize urban sprawl by that requiring housing be zoned for near new workplace construction. It deals with land use, housing, environmental quality, and economic development. Non-profit organizations as well as governmental organizations can be members. All nine counties and 101 cities within the Bay Area are voluntary members of ABAG.

Carquinez Bridge Pair of bridges in the San Francisco Bay between Crockett and Vallejo, California, USA

The Carquinez Bridge is a pair of parallel bridges spanning the Carquinez Strait at the northeastern end of San Francisco Bay. They form the part of Interstate 80 between Crockett and Vallejo, California.

Benicia–Martinez Bridge

The Benicia–Martinez Bridge refers to three parallel bridges which cross the Carquinez Strait just west of Suisun Bay; the spans link Benicia, California on the north side with Martinez, California on the south.

Antioch Bridge

The Antioch Bridge is an automobile, bicycle, and pedestrian bridge in the western United States. Located in northern California, it crosses the San Joaquin River-Stockton Deepwater Shipping Channel, linking Antioch in Contra Costa County with Sherman Island in southern Sacramento County, near Rio Vista.

Metropolitan planning organization

A metropolitan planning organization (MPO) is a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization in the United States that is made up of representatives from local government and governmental transportation authorities. They were created to ensure regional cooperation in transportation planning. MPOs were introduced by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, which required the formation of an MPO for any urbanized area (UZA) with a population greater than 50,000. Federal funding for transportation projects and programs are channeled through this planning process. Congress created MPOs in order to ensure that existing and future expenditures of governmental funds for transportation projects and programs are based on a continuing, cooperative, and comprehensive ("3-C") planning process. Statewide and metropolitan transportation planning processes are governed by federal law. Transparency through public access to participation in the planning process and electronic publication of plans now is required by federal law. As of 2015, there are 408 MPOs in the United States.

Clipper card Public transit ticketing system in San Francisco Bay Area, California, United States

The Clipper card is a reloadable contactless smart card used for automated fare collection in the San Francisco Bay Area. First introduced as TransLink in 2002 by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) as a pilot program, it was rebranded in its current form on June 16, 2010. Like other transit smart cards such as the Oyster card, the Clipper card is a credit card-sized stored-value card capable of holding both cash value and transit passes for the participating transit agencies. In addition to the traditional plastic card, Clipper is available as a virtual card in Google Pay and Apple Wallet. Clipper is accepted by nearly all public transit services in the Bay Area, including Muni, BART, Caltrain, AC Transit, SamTrans, Golden Gate Transit, Golden Gate Ferry, San Francisco Bay Ferry, VTA, and many others.

San Francisco Bay Trail

The San Francisco Bay Trail is a bicycle and pedestrian trail that when finished will allow continuous travel around the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. As of 2020, 356 miles (573 km) of the trail have been completed. When finished, the trail will be over 500 miles (800 km) of paved and gravel paths, bike lanes, and sidewalks, linking 47 cities across nine counties and crossing seven toll bridges. It is a project of the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), in collaboration with other agencies, private companies, non-profit organizations, and advocacy groups.

Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is a special-purpose district that owns and operates three regional transportation assets in the San Francisco Bay Area:

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) was created by the California State Legislature in 1997 to administer the auto tolls on the San Francisco Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges. On January 1, 1998, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) — the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county region — began operations as BATA. In August 2005, the California Legislature expanded BATA's responsibilities to include administration of all toll revenue and joint oversight of the toll bridge construction program with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission.

Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority

The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transit Authority, or TBARTA, is a regional transportation agency of the U.S. state of Florida which was created on July 1, 2007. The purpose of the agency is "to plan, develop, finance, construct, own, purchase, operate, maintain, relocate, equip, repair, and manage multimodal systems in Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee, Pasco, and Pinellas Counties." The agency coordinates its efforts with the Florida Department of Transportation to improve transportation in the Tampa Bay Area.

Bike East Bay

Bike East Bay, formerly known as East Bay Bicycle Coalition, is a Californian non-profit organization that worked since 1972 toward "promoting bicycling as an everyday means of transportation and recreation" in Alameda and Contra Costa counties of the California's East Bay. As a tax-exempt 501(c)3 grassroots bicycle advocacy organization, Bike East Bay endeavors to broaden awareness of bicycling with local, regional, and state government agencies and their staff, as well as elected officials, and the general public they represent.

Like many metropolitan regions in the United States, the San Francisco Bay Area is politically fragmented into many local jurisdictions. There is one regional transportation planning agency, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, but there are 9 counties, 85 cities, and 16 towns, each separately responsible for making bicycle infrastructure improvements. A few of these jurisdictions publish and implement their own bicycle plans, while most defer this responsibility to the county or the region in which they are situated. Written bicycle plans are required to qualify for many sources of funding from regional, state, and federal agencies.

San Mateo–Hayward Bridge Road bridge across San Francisco Bay in California, United States

The San Mateo–Hayward Bridge is a bridge crossing the American state of California's San Francisco Bay, linking the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay. The bridge's western end is in Foster City, a suburb on the eastern edge of San Mateo. The eastern end of the bridge is in Hayward. It is the longest bridge in California and the 25th longest in the world by length. The bridge is owned by the state of California, and is maintained by California Department of Transportation (Caltrans), the state highway agency. Further oversight is provided by the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA).

San Francisco Estuary Partnership

The San Francisco Estuary Partnership (Partnership) is one of the 28 National Estuary Programs created in the 1987 Amendments to the Clean Water Act. The Partnership is a non-regulatory federal-state-local collaboration working to restore water quality and manage the natural resources of the San Francisco Bay-Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta estuary. The Partnership works with over 100 municipalities, non-profits, governmental agencies, and businesses and helps develop, find funding for, and implement over 40 projects and programs aimed at improving the health of the estuary. The partnership either directly implements these projects, or administers and manages grants, holds educational workshops and highlights project results. The Partnership is also the official representative for the San Francisco Bay region to the Most Beautiful Bays in the World.

Plan Bay Area is the long-range Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. It is the Bay Area's implementation of the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008, or SB 375, a California law that aims to integrate sustainable strategies to reduce transportation-related pollution and external greenhouse gas emissions. The plan addresses the plan identifies goals and develops strategies for transportation, land-use, and housing to accommodate the region's expected growth and needs over a long-term planning horizon. It is jointly prepared by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG). The current plan, which includes projections and strategies through the year 2040, is called Play Bay Area 2040. Plan Bay Area 2050 is currently under development.

Dumbarton Rail Corridor

The Dumbarton Rail Corridor is a proposed transbay passenger rail line which would reuse the right-of-way that was initially constructed from 1907–1910 as the Dumbarton Cut-off. The Dumbarton Cut-off includes the first structure to span San Francisco Bay, the 1910 Dumbarton Rail Bridge, although the vintage Cut-off bridges would likely be replaced prior to activating new passenger service. Dumbarton Rail Corridor would provide service between Union City in the East Bay and Menlo Park on the Peninsula, with train service continuing to both San Francisco and San José along the existing Caltrain tracks. It has been in the planning stages since 1988, and would be the first above-ground transbay rail line since Key System electric trains stopped running on the lower deck of the Bay Bridge in 1958, and the first new transbay crossing of any kind since the completion of the Transbay Tube in 1974.

Northern California Megaregion Megaregion of the U.S. in California

The Northern California Megaregion, distinct from Northern California, is an urbanized region of California consisting of many large cities including San Jose, San Francisco, Sacramento, and Oakland. There are varying definitions of the megaregion, but it is generally seen as encompassing the San Francisco Bay Area, the Sacramento area, northern San Joaquin Valley, and the Monterey Bay Area.


  2. Swan, Rachel (January 23, 2019). "Bay Area transportation commission picks Therese McMillan to be new chief". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  3. About MTC
  4. Library
  5. 1 2 "MTC Annual Financial Report 2019" (PDF).
  6. "ABAG-MTC Staff Consolidation Overview" (PDF). ABAG. Association of Bay Area Governments. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  7. "Commissioners". Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Retrieved 29 July 2021.