MTC/ABAG Horizon Initiative: Mission Creep Part II

Horizon Initiative Update

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments (MTC/ABAG) today thanked the more than 350 members of the public who submitted proposals for “BIG, bright, billion-dollar (or more) transportation ideas through the Request for Transportation Projects.”  

In preparation for Plan Bay Area 2050, the public proposals will help MTC/ABAG’s Horizon Initiative develop projects that are bolder that those possible under the Regional Transportation Plan and Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS).  Plan Bay Area 2040 was developed within the RTP/SCS framework.  

Perspective Papers

During 2018 and 2019, MTC/ABAG plans to release a series of analyses called Perspective Papers.  The Papers will identify potential strategies that could be adopted by Horizon and by Play Bay Area 2050.  Here is a list of the Papers and their planned release dates,

Autonomous vehicles & future mobility: date was June 2018
Travel demand management & climate mitigation: September 2018
Regional growth strategies: December 2018
Bay crossings: January 2019
Future of jobs: March 2019
Regional governance: June 2019
Design & better buildings: September 2019

It might help in the understanding of this list of Perspective Papers to be aware of the scope and depth of Plan Bay Area’s framework.  

*  Horizon is the latest development, and each development advances central planning and regionalism one notch above the previous development, leaving a solid trail of seemingly irreversible strategies. The Horizon Initiative intends to promote “the exploration of innovative strategies and solutions for issue areas that have been outside of the scope of past Plan Bay Area long-range planning processes.”

*  Horizon lists the following Guiding Principles, which the Perspective Papers will support:  housing affordability, regional transit connectivity, diversity of residents accessing “the region’s assets and resources,” conservation of the region’s natural resources, creation of quality jobs for all “and ample fiscal resources for communities.”  

* According to Horizon, the Guiding Principles were the result of public responses to the question “What are the most pressing issues we should consider as we plan for life in 2050?”  True.  Although it might be useful to remember that the primary objective of Horizon is to expand Plan Bay Area’s ability to incorporate “outside the box – yet essential – thinking about emerging issues into the RTP/SCS’s policy and project framework."  In other words, the Guiding Principles must 1) fit RTP/SCS’s policy and framework, and 2) grow RTP/SCS’s scope.

Mission Creep Part II

We recently wrote about California Assembly Bill 2923 being a prime example of mission creep – a phenomenon that causes projects or missions to expand beyond their original stated goals. In the case of AB 2923, BART has gone from wanting to be a rapid transit system to being a landlord.  

Now enter MTC/ABAG’s greatly more ambitious mission creep.  MTC/ABAG via the Horizon Initiative and in preparation for Plan Bay Area 2050 wants to be not only a planning department, but now also an economic development, diversity, and price control department.

Ask Yourself the Question Too

MTC/ABAG’s question “What are the most pressing issues we should consider as we plan for life in 2050?” should be considered by every Bay Area voter and taxpayer, since it appears that MTC/ABAG might be getting ready to come up with ways to reach into everyone’s pocket in order to support Horizon’s Guiding Principles.  Some voters or taxpayers might object to Horizon’s mission creep, and not only question the legal basis for the expanded mission, but also simply vote no on tax proposals intended to support the Guiding Principles.  They might also start wondering what would be left for city and county planning and development departments to do.

Regional Planning at Work

                                    Horizon Peer Exchange

                                  Horizon Peer Exchange

This video is on the Horizon Initiative section of the MTC website, and is a good example of how the planning process works these days:  collaborative efforts, lots of visuals, and formulation of scenarios.  As expected, the scenarios do not deviate from the officials assumptions of MTC/ABAG.