Tony Thurmond, Rob Bonta, And The Metropolitan Transportation Commission
Looks like it’s up to California Assemblypersons Tony Thurmond (D 15th District) and Rob Bonta (D 18th District) to make sure that MTC won’t become its own, self-serving mini-empire once the “merger” with ABAG goes through and all the planners in that formerly once-respected agency are let out to pasture – or, more likely, onto the street.
The promise of more efficient and fairer Bay Area-wide governance depends on what kinds of checks and balances the Thurmond-chaired Assembly Select Committee on Regional Planning manages to put into place, otherwise the already-painful elitism of a superagency like MTC will continue on its psycho path of funding special interests while throwing mere crumbs into public transit and other needed infrastructural improvements.
Think not? How bizarre that so much public money ($250M+ and already $90M over budget!) should into the purchase and remodel of the new, not-at-all necessary MTC HQ in SF, an exercise in power that some malcontents have already tagged the Taj Mahemminger. Well, it is a more worthy address than crudball Oakland, no? Plus it just happens to be farther from BART (so the hoi polloi will have an increasingly difficult time accessing the new building and actually coming into contact with MTC personnel?).
Plus, we get a new Emperor out of all this! There’s suddenly just one supreme head of post-merger MTC to direct staff when it comes to the usual monthly buffalo session for Commissioners, where staff-prepared reports that are too big for even Paul Bunyon to digest in a single sitting are piled high like pancakes, topped with the syrup of public money, and a yea vote expected.
Our recent Bay Bridge Bolts Boondoggle could soon be seen as this decade’s construction highlight if Rob and Tony don’t ride to the rescue here and allow for the healthiest possible oversight process to be in place when the next round of abuses hits the headlines. This is, after all, the ultimate regional government we’ll all be left with when our Bay Area-wide megalopolis finally coalesces into a single entity to manage one of the strongest economies in the US, if not the entire world.