Santa Clara County supervisor elected MTC chairman

Commission plans, finances, coordinate transportation in 9-county Bay Area.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese has been elected as the new chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

Cortese, who is serving his third term as commissioner, was voted chairman by a unanimous vote during a meeting Wednesday in Oakland, MTC officials said.

He has served on the commission since 2007, first as representative for the Association of Bay Governments and now represents Santa Clara County. His current term ends in February 2017.

The commission of 21 members works to plan, finance and coordinate transportation in the nine-county Bay Area. It also oversees 511, a real-time travel resource available by phone and online; Clipper, a card used on most transit systems in the region; and FasTrak, a toll tag accepted at bridge toll plazas.

The MTC also oversees the Bay Area Toll Authority and Service Authority for Freeways and Expressways.

The supervisor was vice-chair of the commission for the past two years and is replacing Orinda City Councilwoman Amy Rein Worth.

"I am honored to be steering MTC during this time of tremendous challenge and opportunity for the agency and the region," Cortese said in a statement.

"On the one hand, the Bay Area is blessed with renewed economic growth, but on the other, we must contend with the transportation impacts of this growth, and work to ensure that people at all income levels have access and mobility options," Cortese said.

State Sen. Jim Beall (D-San Jose) was the last person to serve as chairman on the commission while representing Santa Clara County, MTC officials said.

Beall served on the commission from 1987 to 2006 and served as chairman from 1999 to 2001. He is currently the head of the senate's transportation and housing committee.

Cortese was elected president of the board of supervisors in January. He is also chairman of the board's land use, environment and transportation committee.

Cortese ran for San Jose mayor in November 2014 but lost by about 1.5% of the votes cast in a close race with Sam Liccardo.

Jamey Padojino, Bay City News

— Bay City News Service

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