The Federal Government, the State Legislature, and Bay Area voters have assigned the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) a wide-ranging portfolio of roles and responsibilities. First and foremost, MTC is designated by the federal government as the metropolitan planning organization for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. MTC is also designated by the state as the regional transportation planning agency for the Bay Area, which expands its mission beyond its required federal obligations.

MTC has interpreted these mandates broadly, launching a number of initiatives to deliver a smooth-functioning, well-maintained transportation system, and regional planning efforts. MTC has interpreted its mission to include addressing the regional impact on climate change and environmental sustainability.  

One of MTC’s core roles is to adopt a long-range plan — known as Plan Bay Area — to guide transportation and housing for the next 30 years. Developed by MTC and the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) with extensive input from local governments and the public, the plan is updated every four years. MTC also works to secure the funds to support implementation of this regional plan by lobbying for grants at both the State and Federal level, helping to shape national and statewide transportation funding programs, and bringing regional funding measures before voters.

MTC is a major source of planning grants awarded to local jurisdictions and has financed the preparation of many specific plans — development plans for specific areas within jurisdictions that implement the goals and policies of local General Plan (or Comprehensive Plan).

MTC’s Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) Policy implements two high-impact Plan Bay Area 2050 strategies that will help the region reach ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions through planning and transportation solutions. One of the main goals of the TOC Policy is to increase the overall housing supply and density for new development, while prioritizing affordable housing in transit-rich areas. Other TOC Policy goals include commercial density increases, prioritizing multi-modal transportation, and facilitating partnerships for equitable transit-oriented communities throughout the Bay Area region. In Santa Clara County, the TOC Policy applies to locations within a half-mile of existing and planned stops and stations served by VTA light-rail and BART stations.

The MTC commissioners, who are primarily local elected officials from jurisdictions throughout the Bay Area, also serve as the policy board for MTC’s two affiliated agencies – the Bay Area Toll Authority and the Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways  — as well as the governing board of ABAG and of the Bay Area Housing Finance Authority (BAHFA).

Learn more about MTC.