By: John Krikorian
Mobility 21 hosted its first summit as a regional transportation advocacy group representing five Southern California counties. Dale E. Bonner, Secretary of the California Business, Transportation & Housing Authority, kicked off the sixth annual Mobility 21 Transportation Summit together with elected officials and business, transportation and community leaders representing the region's 17 million residents.
"The new coalition unites elected officials, transportation executives, business, labor and community leaders representing five of the most populous counties in the nation," said Metro CEO Roger Snoble. "Together we have a huge voting block in both the California legislature and Congress – 63 seats in the state Assembly and Senate and 29 members of Congress. That can make an important difference in transportation funding."
Officials and leaders from San Bernardino, Riverside, Ventura, Los Angeles and Orange counties used the transportation summit, held at the Ontario Convention Center in San Bernardino County, to draft plans that will help the region attract more tax dollars for transportation projects and to build consensus in an area roughly the size of Florida in population. Past summits for Mobility 21 -- an organization dedicated to solving Southern California mobility challenges -- have focused primarily on Los Angeles County.
"I am pleased that San Bernardino County was chosen as the host city for this event and I believe that by working together as a region, we can accomplish more," said Lawrence Dale, Mayor of the City of Barstow and President of San Bernardino Associated Governments.
Joining Senator Bonner, Metro's Snoble and Mayor Dale at the day-long conference were Paul Biane, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors; Barry Engelberg, Orange County Transportation Authority Manager, Regional Initiatives; Riverside County Transportation Commission Chairwoman Terry Henderson, who is also a La Quinta City Councilwoman, and Darren Kettle, Executive Director, Ventura County Transportation Commission.
Summit participants discussed infrastructure funding in Southern California -- an issue widely agreed to be critical to the economy, environment and quality of life of those who live and work in the region. Other topics included meeting air quality standards and addressing the climate change challenge, as well as pragmatic solutions for reducing congestion in Southern California.
"The expansion of Mobility 21 to other counties in Southern California demonstrates that a consensus can be built around solutions to our transportation problems," said Barry Engelberg, Orange County Transportation Authority Manager, Regional Initiatives.
"The Riverside County Transportation Commission welcomes the expansion of Mobility 21 to the rest of the region and especially the Inland Empire," said RCTC Chairwoman Terry Henderson, who is also a La Quinta City Councilwoman. "Mobility 21 provides us with a framework to think of transportation solutions that serve all of Southern California."