The Emergence of the Northern California Megaregion

<p>The powerful northern California "megaregion" was revealed when it was awarded $840 million by the state Transportation Commission to the amazement and chagrin of southern California, which had been expecting to receive the majority of state funds.</p>
January 16, 2008, 7am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"That the bureaucrats from the Oakland-based Metropolitan Transportation Commission could win such riches..from a state seemingly dominated by the Southern California megalopolis of 14 million" showed just how connected - economically and politically, the Bay Area and its hinterlands in the Central Valley have become.

"The railways, the freeway overpasses and the dockside facilities at the Port of Oakland may not handle nearly the volume of shipping as the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, MTC acknowledged. But unlike Southern California, they send out about as much in exports as they receive in imports."

"In "The Northern California Megaregion," a study written by Gabriel Metcalf, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research's executive director, and Egon Terplan, SPUR's director of economic development and governance policy, area residents and officials are urged to come to terms with this new reality.

"We've outgrown the original boundaries of the Bay Area," begins the study's subtitle. "It's time to face this fact and start solving problems at the scale of the megaregion."

That designation puts the area anchored by Oakland, Sacramento, San Francisco and San Jose into a category shared by 10 other megaregions in the United States."

"This giant entity, as populous as Southern California, is knit together with interests shared by its residents and businesses, superior economic prowess and political muscle that hearkens back to an earlier century, when San Francisco was California's only metropolis.

And whatever it may yield politically, Metcalf is also hesitant to celebrate the emergence of the megaregion.

All those long commutes make it much harder to curb the region's greenhouse gas emissions, and a continued lack of affordable housing in the Bay Area's urban core will only exacerbate the commuting problem, he said."

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Published on Sunday, January 13, 2008 in The Contra Costa Times
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