Muni Budget Trauma

Muni LogoOur friends at Muni called the other day and asked if we would post the following announcement on our blog, as part of their effort to get the word out to the public on their budget problems and give people a chance to comment in various public forums. We’re happy to help; it’s printed unedited below. One note: it looks like Muni has pulled from consideration any possible separate fare increase for the vintage streetcars. (They had put a possible $1 surcharge for the F-line on a laundry list of potential revenue raising measures, but it appears to be gone now).

Muni announcement:
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Projected $128.9 Million Deficit Requires Difficult Decisions

As a result of the global economic downturn, a national recession, the elimination of state funding for transit operations and a City budget deficit approaching a half billion dollars, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is facing an unprecedented budget deficit of $128.9 million for the next fiscal year that begins on July 1.

The SFMTA Board of Directors will be considering a broad range of options to increase revenues and reduce costs.

At its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, April 7 at 2 p.m. in Room 400 at City Hall, the SFMTA Board of Directors will hold a public hearing on proposals to balance the budget. Details of the proposals are available online at www.sfmta.com/sfmtabudget and include:

Fare and Fee Increases
Proposed increases to Muni fares and parking fees, fines and rates and a proposed extension of parking meter hours.

Service Modifications and Reductions
Three possible comprehensive options of service cuts, reductions and modifications have been proposed. If approved these cuts, reductions and modifications would most likely be implemented in September. Specific details of each of these three options can be viewed at www.sfmta.com/sfmtabudget. Please note that the service cuts, reductions and modifications developed in response to the SFMTA’s unprecedented budget deficit do not represent the implementation of the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP).  However, the proposed reductions and modifications have been informed by the data collected and the extensive public input received during the TEP planning phase.

Taxi Medallions
A proposal that 100 taxi Medallions be auctioned on a pilot basis.

Declaration of Fiscal Emergency

The April 7 meeting of the SFMTA Board of Directors will also include a public hearing on a possible declaration of a “fiscal emergency” for the SFMTA for the next fiscal year, which would allow the service reductions and fare and fee increases under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

A “fiscal emergency” means that the agency is projected to have negative funding within one year from the date of declaration. It is important to note that a declaration of fiscal emergency does not by itself implement service reductions or changes to fares, fees, fines, rates and charges that support transit service.

The SFMTA last declared a fiscal emergency in 2005.

The SFMTA has also scheduled additional meetings and opportunities for public comment, which will be held as follows:

Tuesday, April 14, 9 a.m.
SFMTA Board of Directors Policy and Governance Committee
One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room

Saturday, April 18, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Information Meeting on the SFMTA Budget and Proposed Service and Fare Changes
One South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium Conference Room

Tuesday, April 21, 2 p.m.
SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting
City Hall, Room 400

Thursday, April 30, 2 p.m.
Special SFMTA Board of Directors Meeting*** on fiscal year 2010 Budget
City Hall, Room 400

*** Note: The SFMTA Board of Directors is scheduled to vote on a budget balancing plan at this meeting.

In addition to encouraging attendance at the upcoming meetings, the SFMTA requests public feedback on the budget balancing options and proposed service reductions and modifications via:

E-mail: sfmtabudget@sfmta.com
Telephone: 311 or TTY 415.701.2323
Facsimile: 415.701.4502
U.S. Mail: SFMTA Board of Directors, One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA, 94103

NOTE: All written comments on the declaration of a fiscal emergency on the Board’s April 7 agenda must be received at the SFMTA by Friday, April 10.

Following the SFMTA Board of Directors submittal of an Amended Operating Budget to the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors on May 1, the Board of Supervisors has 30 days to allow it to take effect or to reject the entirety of the Amended Budget with seven or more votes.

Comments: 2

  1. I keep wondering how Taxi Medallions figure in Muni’s financial troubles. Taxis didn’t cause the budget problems, nor will they fix it unless Muni takes over the Taxi industry in San Francisco in order to provide the same inconsistent service Muni provided when I lived in San Francisco. It would seem more careful scheduling and routes that make sense would go a long way toward attracting riders out of their privately owned vehicles. The streetcars cannot change without a large expenditure so no route changes there with the exceptions of Judah and Church streets. Add a route the changes direction at 30th Ave, there was a X route in 1976 that did just that. Add a similar route on Church that turns around at 30th Street just like it did in the 70s. This will allow shorter wait times in both directions for passengers similar to the existing Geary routes. Keep the cable cars as they are and the emissions free buses on the same routes. Remap the rest of the routes around what you can’t change easily with schedules that allow for low wait time transfer to your wired routes. One of the first effects you may notice is less congestion on Market Street. If I could schedule cost effective reliable worldwide air transportation for the Department of Defense then there is no reason Muni can’t schedule cost effective reliable transportation in one camparatively small city.

  2. Scooter riders are having meters increased 300%, or an additional $4.50 per day, (approx. $1000 per year per!) rider. No other group is even close to bearing this kind of disproportionate burden. And scooters are part of the solution to car traffic, gas prices, green transportation, small footprints, and even oil wars. Complete lack of understanding by SFMTA. You think anyone there rides? Outrageous and unconscionable. Write your supervisor!! All supervisors.

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