Transit’s finances have been temporarily boosted by a series of federal stimulus bills. California’s budget surplus has also provided additional funding for transit. But what happens after agencies exhaust these one-time infusions of funds?
Director and Professor
Asha Weinstein Agrawal
Asha Weinstein Agrawal works at San José State University, where she is Director of MTI’s National Transportation Finance Center, the MTI Education Director, and a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning. Her research agenda is guided by a commitment to the principles of sustainability and equity: what policy and planning tools can communities adopt to encourage environmentally-friendly travel and improve accessibility for people struggling with poverty or other disadvantages?
Dr. Agrawal has researched transportation funding policy for more than 20 years with a focus on holistic evaluation of the pros/cons of different tax and fee options for raising transportation revenues, as well as public opinion about different tax and fee options. Dr. Agrawal has been the lead researcher on numerous state and national public opinion surveys on the topic, and she has also analyzed hundreds of public opinion polls on transportation finance and other transportation topics.
Dr. Agrawal is actively involved with service to the professional planning and policy community. She has been invited to present her research on transportation finance to policymakers at hearings held by the California Transportation Commission and California Senate Transportation Committee, among others. In addition, she is regularly invited to serve on committees and expert panels such as NCHRP Synthesis Project on Forecasting Transportation Revenue Sources: Survey of State Practices (2015) and MTC’s Regional Means-Based Transit Fare Pricing Study Technical Advisory Committee (2015 – 2017).
Dr. Agrawal’s research on contemporary policy issues is regularly cited in the popular media. Stories quoting her or citing her work have appeared in such outlets as The Washington Post (on gas taxes and mileage fees), CBS Evening News (on mileage fees), ABC News/KGO-TV (on mileage fees), the San Diego Union-Tribune (on transit fare policy), WBUR (on the history of traffic congestion), and the San Francisco Chronicle (on transportation taxes).
President and CEO
Robert Puentes is President and CEO of the Eno Center for Transportation a non-profit think tank with the mission of improving transportation policy and leadership. Prior to joining Eno, he was a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program where he directed the program’s Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative. He is currently a non-resident senior fellow with Brookings. Before Brookings, Robert was the director of infrastructure programs at the Intelligent Transportation Society of America.
Robert has worked extensively on a variety of transportation issues, including infrastructure funding and finance, and city and urban planning. He is a frequent speaker to a variety of groups, a regular contributor in newspapers and other media, and has testified before Congressional committees. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Virginia where he served on the Alumni Advisory Board, and was an affiliated professor with Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute.
Michael Pimentel is the Executive Director of the California Transit Association, a nonprofit trade organization representing California’s transit industry, including more than 85 public transit agencies in the state. In this role, Michael steers the Association’s advocacy and education efforts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and serves as the Association’s chief advisor on policies and programs impacting air quality and the climate.
Prior to joining the Association, Michael held various legislative positions in the Administration of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. in which he focused on mass transportation issues.
Michael received a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. He was a fellow with the New Leaders Council in 2015 and served on the Advisory Board for the organization’s Sacramento chapter through 2020. He is an active member of the Young Professionals in Transportation – Sacramento.