Since Friday’s special MTA Board Meeting, convened to discuss the MTA’s most recent proposals to cut lines and increase fares to manage their minimum $52.7 million budget shortfall, Muni’s been in the news nonstop!
Here’s where we aggregate (we hear that this is the Cool New Thing) a lot of the Muni news we’ve seen since then:
Deal in the works for Muni drivers? Chron, 2/2: Gavin met with the heads of the Muni operators’ union Monday, and is now coming out against (his buddy) Supe Sean Elsbernd’s attempts to get a charter amendment in place that would help lower Muni drivers (very high, some feel) salaries. “the mayor said that the supervisor’s proposal may make sense from a policy perspective, but ”it doesn’t solve this year’s problem or next year’s problem.””
Bay Area transit projects get federal dollars Chron, 2/2: Not just a Muni story, but here’s the Muni dirt: The Department of Transportation will award Muni $20 million for the Central Subway project, which is to run from Fourth and King streets to Chinatown. Construction on the $1.6-billion project is set to begin this year, and will conclude in 2018.
They also awarded $15 million to the Van Ness Avenue rapid bus project, which would add dedicated bus lanes, stations, ticket machines and traffic signals that give buses priority on a 2-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue between Mission and Lombard streets. They think this project will cost around $120 million, and expect the yearlong construction project to get started in 2011 or 2012.
Muni workers should help close budget gap Chron (Editorial Page) 2/1: They express shock at the cuts proposed last week, talk about how shitty that will make Muni, and that “it would help if Muni’s workforce would come to grips with reality.”
Muni’s death spiral SF Gate (The Thin Green Line Blog), 2/1: Gate blogger Cameron Scott makes Streetsblog SF look like they don’t even give a shit about transit, with a passionate rant on the proposed cuts/increases, asking “Can this really happen? When does it end?” and says that “the issue is that drivers are more affluent, and therefore more influential, than transit riders.”
Newsom hears haunting stories from truants 1/31 (but only online as of 2/2): as noted when I read the Sunday print only Chron so you didn’t have to, M&R report that the MTA has actually added 10 more parking control officers (aka meter maids) to Saturday’s rotation to bring in more dough — “It’s estimated that each parking officer turns a $200,000 annual profit for the city” they say, which is why the 24 parking officers they were going to lay off didn’t actually get laid, um, off. Which, shouldn’t they have thought of that before they went to lay them off? Do you sometimes feel like these decisions are being made at random?
Muni proposes service cuts 2/1, Golden Gate X-Press: The news org of SF State has a particular interest in the Muni service cuts, since their campus is only served by a few Muni lines, with most riders reliant on the M Oceanview. The piece quotes SF State sociology major Tanya Titus was saying “If they claim wait times will be increased by three minutes, it will probably end up being twice that since the buses aren’t always on time as it is,” a sentiment echoed by almost every Muni rider I’ve heard address these cuts.
Killing Muni Softly: End of FY10 Budget Scramble 2/1 Transbay Blog Eric Chase, who spoke at Friday’s meeting, makes an interesting observation: “the goal of the latest proposed changes is not to make the system more efficient, but rather, smaller.” Chase breaks down the proposed changes in detail, and notes that transit riders would fill $6.7 million of this budget gap, motorists would be responsible for $1.7 million.
Town Hall meetings on these proposed cuts are scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 6, 10:00 am – 12 noon; and Tuesday, Feb. 9, 6:00-8:00 pm. Both meetings will be held at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 2nd Floor Atrium, San Francisco. You can also email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.