Transportation

Muni Citizen Advisory Council to Supervisors: Separate Homelessness from Transportation in Proposed Sales Tax

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Citizens’ Advisory Council passed a motion urging the Board of Supervisors to split a charter amendment to fund homelessness and transportation into two measures.

The charter amendment, which the supervisors are preparing to put on the November ballot, would increase the sales tax by 0.75 cents and result in an estimated $100 million a year for transit issues and $50 million a year for a homeless housing fund until 2041.

Muni’s Amanda Hirsch’s gave the presentation that inspired the motion. It detailed the agency’s progress in reaching three recommendations that 46 transportation experts defined in 2013 as part of the Mayor’s Transportation Task Force 2030.

Hirsch’s presentation included the experts’ three recommendations for Muni: to address transportation needs strategically, pursue new local revenue sources and support efforts to attract more regional, state and federal funds.

The charter amendment falls under the second recommendation, finding an additional $10 billion in local funds by 2030.

Members of the council said combining the two would needlessly confuse voters. Hirsch said that politicians had made the decision.

“If I were a voter and I saw that on the ballot, my tendency would be to vote no,” Joan Downey said.

Several council members clarified that they weren’t passing the motion because they had an opinion on homelessness, just that they didn’t think the two problems should be put together.

Many council members said the numbers and goals in Hirsch’s presentation were too vague.

Stephen Cornell considered putting forward a motion to suggest requiring periodic reports about progress from Muni programs with the possibility of withholding funds if the programs weren’t meeting their standards.

Cornell mentioned the lack of reduction in traffic fatalities under Vision Zero and Muni’s falling per capita ridership, a measure of the reach of the transit system that has been falling an average of 14 percent per year, according to Metropolitan Transportation Commission data.

Cornell did not put forward the motion because he wanted more time to craft the language.

Operations and Customer Services Committee Motion

The council passed a motion urging Muni to complete plans for an extension of the F-line through an unused tunnel to Fort Mason.

The motion is the latest in a small movement to reinstate a tunnel that was closed 1976 to improve access to the Fort Mason area, which is currently only served by the 43 bus line.

Muni officials say it will be hard to find the estimated $50 million needed for the project because of competition with other transit projects in the City.

The council’s motion asked for Muni to consider the extension on the grounds of possible increased ridership from new restaurants and events in the Fort Mason area.

The possibility of federal funding is another reason that the council wants Muni to complete the plans.

“Since a portion of this project is on Federal land, there’s the opportunity to ask the Federal government and our friends in Washington, particularly Dianne Feinstein [for funding],” Mark Ballew said.

Meeting Recap

  • The council unanimously re-elected Chair Dan Weaver and delayed a vote for vice-chair seat until Sept. 1.
  • The council passed a motion to suggest splitting a bond measure in two after a presentation about the Mayor’s Transportation Task Force 2030 and a bond measure under consideration by the Board of Supervisors.
  • Kristen Mazur presented an overview of Muni’s paratransit programs.
  • The council passed a motion brought by the Operations and Customer Services Committee to encourage Muni to create plans to extend the F-line to Fort Mason.
  • Frank Zepeda presented a report about the latest meeting of the Engineering, Maintenance and Safety Committee.

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