Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Kevin Mullin of San Mateo announced AB378, a “placeholder bill” with the goal of relieving congestion on the 101 corridor. Â While the text of the bill wasn’t posted yet, Mullin’s staff said that the bill was a placeholder that could encompass policies, governance structures, and funding mechanisms to achieve the goal of the bills. Â Mullin expects that it will take more than one legislative session to flesh out the details of a bill to achieve the goals.
From a broader perspective, there is currently no entity with the mission to monitor and improve drivealone mode share on the Peninsula’s North/South corridor. Â Caltrain has a goal to carry more passengers; but if driving on the Caltrain corridor increases at a faster rate than train ridership, and transit mode share falls on the corridor, this would not be Caltrain’s goal or responsibility. Â This bill could potentially create an entity that could own that goal.
There are a number of specific gaps in the corridor’s policies that a state law could help fill. Â Apparently (corrections welcome in comments), the region’s public transit services aren’t authorized to provide multi-county express bus service, leaving a large gap in service that is currently filled by private commuter buses run by leading Silicon Valley corporations; and leaving workers with smaller employers slogging through traffic. Caltrain lacks stable funding; a bill could create a district to raise a dedicated funding source.Â Â There are other policies that would require legislative action; for example making it legally possible to implement TransForm’s proposal for optimized high occupancy toll lanes which would convert travel lanes to toll lanes and use funding to reduce driving.
There are plenty of opportunities for congestion relief – and beyond that, reduction in vehicle miles travelled and greenhouse gas emissions – on the corridor. Â Hopefully the bill can be used to to address these goals.