Media Contact: Mahmoud Abunie, 650-730-6201
The Community Transportation Benefits Program, a first of its kind equity program in the U.S., sponsored and funded by the San Mateo County Express Lanes Joint Powers Authority (JPA), celebrated the program’s first 1,500 sign-ups.
The JPA has been working closely with community members, community-based organizations, and other local leaders since 2020 to develop the Community Transportation Benefits Program, which launched in April 2022.
“We are thrilled to see the community’s response to this valuable new transportation benefits program,” said Rico E. Medina, Chair of the JPA Board of Directors. “We’re striving to create a transportation system that not only enhances mobility in the county but is more equitable for our community members who have historically been underserved by past transportation decisions.”
The Community Transportation Benefits Program helps cover transportation costs for qualifying individuals in San Mateo County. Participants can choose from one of two transportation benefit options: either a $100 transit credit on a Clipper Card or a $100 toll credit on a FasTrak® transponder.
“We’re proud of the partnership that we’ve solidified with San Mateo County’s Core Service Agencies Network as these agencies work closely with those in the county in need of assistance,” Alicia Aguirre, Vice Chair of the JPA. “Individuals who are eligible to enroll in the benefits program can work with any of the eight Core Service Agencies to select the transportation option that suits them best.”
By offering two transportation benefit options, the program aims to improve mobility for people with or without out cars by giving them the option to choose the benefit that best supports their unique mobility needs. No other express lanes equity program in the country has the level of inclusive eligibility requirements nor offers transportation benefit options that qualifying residents can receive as part of the program.
“We are delighted to serve as a strategic partner with the JPA on the new Community Transportation Benefits Program,” said La Trice Taylor, Associate Director of Programs and Services at Samaritan House. “The Community Transportation Benefits Program is designed to help lower income individuals in San Mateo County cover some of their transportation costs. In addition to the leadership from the JPA, we appreciate the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s partnership with the program to provide FasTrak® transponders and Clipper Cards. It’s making a positive impact in our clients’ lives, and we expect interest in the program to continue to rise.”
The first eight miles of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes opened last year, February 2022, on U.S. Highway 101 in San Mateo County, from Whipple Avenue to the San Mateo/Santa Clara County line. The remaining 14 miles of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes from north of Whipple Avenue to I-380 in San Bruno is now fully operational. A portion of the revenue generated from the express lanes directly funds the equity program, providing a steady stream of revenue that supports those in the community who need assistance most.
About the SMCEL-JPA: The San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG) formed SMCEL-JPA in 2019 to manage the express lanes. The SMCEL-JPA is responsible for setting policies for operations of the express lanes. Caltrans managed the design and construction of the San Mateo 101 Express Lanes in partnership with SMCTA and C/CAG. The Bay Area Infrastructure Financing Authority, a Joint Powers Authority between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Bay Area Toll Authority, will operate the express lanes under contract by the SMCEL-JPA. For more information about the express lanes, visit https://smcexpresslanes.org/.