The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (TA) Board of Directors and the City and County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) have voted to authorize the Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority (BAIFA) to operate the San Mateo US 101 Express Lanes facility. The two organizations will form a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) that will retain ownership and make policy decisions.
Last November, the Boards of the TA and C/CAG held a joint workshop to receive information regarding options on ownership and operation of the 101 Express Lanes facility. The decision on the ownership and operation of the project was necessary prior to the final design phase of the project in order to determine its technical requirements.
The owner of the facility owns the tolling equipment and is responsible for setting tolling policy, issuing violations, adopting incentive programs, budgeting and paying for operation and maintenance, assuming liabilities, adopting an expenditure plan and providing an operating and capital reserves to ensure state of good repair of the tolling equipment. The operator is responsible for managing the day-to-day operation of the facility, defining toll system communication and the implementation and management of the toll system.
The San Mateo US 101 Express Lanes Project, currently slated for completion in 2022, would build an express lane in each direction on highway 101 from the San Mateo/Santa Clara county line to Interstate 380, a distance of about 22 miles.
Express lanes will allow buses and carpools with three or more people to travel for free, and others can travel in the lane for a toll, while maintaining targeted 45 mph traffic flow.
“The Express Lanes Project for San Mateo County is an innovative way to alleviate some of the congestion along the 101 corridor in a modern, proven way,” said TA Board Chair Don Horsley. “With our constricted geographical options, providing dedicated bus lanes and specialized HOV lanes along the existing highway area will help ease traffic challenges.”
"As C/CAG chair, I was both relieved and inspired by (Thursday) night’s board action approving the direction to approve the San Mateo County/BAIFA owner/operator model and form a JPA with equal representation from both boards,” said C/CAG Chair Maryann Moise Derwin. “After much difficult discussion, the joint ad hoc committee and staff worked collaboratively to come to a consensus recommendation that everyone felt comfortable with. My board takes it on good faith that the ad hoc committee will work out such JPA details as staffing in a way that represents a true equitable partnership between C/CAG and the TA, as has been demonstrated thus far."
About the TA: Created to administer Measure A, San Mateo County’s ½ sales tax, the Transportation Authority provides funding for transportation and infrastructure improvement projects. In 2004, more than 75 percent of San Mateo County residents voted to reauthorize Measure A for an additional 25 years.
About C/CAG: The City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) represents all 21 juristdictions in the County and is the Congestion Management Agency for San Mateo County and works on issues that affect the quality of life in general; transportation, air quality, stormwater runoff, hazardous waste, solid waste and recycling, and land use near airports.