Supes Squabble Over Muni Service Budget Proposal

New funding for San Francisco Municipal Railway service could be prioritized to the city’s low-income neighborhoods under a charter amendment introduced today by a city supervisor.

Supervisor John Avalos introduced the measure, which would go on San Francisco’s ballot in November 2014 to direct more funding for Muni to neighborhoods that the supervisor said currently have inadequate bus and light-rail service.

Under the charter amendment, Muni would receive an additional $70 million beginning in fiscal year 2015 and would be required to undergo an equity analysis overseen by the board and Muni officials to ensure it was addressing socioeconomic inequalities in the transit system.

The measure would also make Muni service free for all San Francisco youth under 18 years, expanding the current program that gives free rides to low-income youth.

Avalos and Supervisor Eric Mar held a news conference at City Hall earlier today with community members to announce the legislation.

“San Francisco is undergoing intense changes,” Avalos said. “While this tremendous growth is happening … disparities are growing in the social fabric.”

Mar said, “It’s about equity and fairness to neighborhoods that don’t get enough service.”

Joanne Abernathy, a Bayview-Hunters Point resident, said buses come less frequently in the city’s southeast neighborhoods than elsewhere and cause her daughter to be late to school when a bus doesn’t show up.

“If you go into other neighborhoods, buses are on-time and get you where you need to go,” Abernathy said.

However, Supervisor Scott Wiener said the charter amendment would do more harm than good to Muni service.

Wiener said problems with Muni service are not confined to certain neighborhoods, noting that he had to deal this morning with a breakdown in the subway service down Market Street.

“The deteriorated light-rail vehicles that fail residents of the Castro are the same LRVs that fail residents of the Bayview, Excelsior and Sunset,” he said.

Wiener said the legislation will give the Board of Supervisors, which also serves as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, significant new authority over the Muni budget, “taking us back to the bad old days when the board routinely used Muni as a piggy bank, before voters took Muni away from the board.”

Wiener said the expanded free Muni service for all youth would also create “a permanent $5-10 million annual diversion from Muni’s operating and maintenance budgets.”

He said, “The most important thing we can do in San Francisco for transportation equity is to have a system that is reliable for our residents’ needs.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • njudah

    It’s no secret than when it comes to Muni, progressives have their heads up their butts, but even for them this proposal is really stupid.

    I guess after years of hearings, community out reach, and scientific planning that created the Transit Effectiveness Project, which provided a plan to improve Muni for everyone (sadly Muni shelved it after paying millions for it under Newsom/Ford), we’ll just trash it for politically correct horse shit from people like Avalos and Eric Mar (neither of whom know a thing about Muni).

    To know how much this is bullshit, just read this quote:

    “If you go into other neighborhoods, buses are on-time and get you where you need to go,” Abernathy said.”

    ORLY? And what neighborhoods are those? I’d like to know so I could move to one. Oh, wait, she’s full of shit. OOPS.

    Thank GOD for Term Limits, which ensures that Avalos is out of a job soon, and thank GOD for progressives’ inability to raise money or pass ballot measures, hopefully this will die off too.

    • neutral_corner

      Huzzah!

  • neutral_corner

    You can’t “Robin Hood” public transit and expect it to survive.

  • Howard Epstein

    “Progressives” think money grows on trees. Where’s the additional $70 Million annually going to come from? Wheres the money for the free rides for all youth going to come from? Why should service to the people who pay the bills be cut in favor of people who don’t pay the bills? The taxpayers deserve their fair share. “Progressives” want to give taxusers their unfair share.

  • frenchjr25

    How about making MUNI free for everyone in San Francisco that is living with an extreme disability (and are living in incomes of roughly $860 per month)? And how about demanding that the T line is extended so that it goes past the Cow Palace and then connects with the M line.

    No matter what these little proposals do they are not specific enough to make important changes in our transportation system. SFMTA is going to spend tens of millions of dollars redoing Van Ness Street when the obvious answer (and one that has been proposed since the 1930s) is a tunnel for for freeway. And then they will spend tens of millions of more dollars redoing Geary for buses when what is needed is streetcars.

    SFMTA is out of touch with reality and the Board of Supervisors, through proposals like this, continue to encourage it.