Whither Money For Muni? City Trying To Find Way To Make Up Transit Agency’s $6.3 Billion Funding Gap

San Francisco has a $6.3 billion funding gap for needed transportation infrastructure improvements in the city over the next 15 years, according to a report released Monday by a mayor-appointed task force.

The report by Mayor Ed Lee’s SF2030 Transportation Task Force recommended that the city propose new bond and tax measures and fee hikes to help raise money for the underfunded Municipal Railway system and other infrastructure improvements.

“San Franciscans deserve a reliable, safe and affordable world-class transportation system for the 21st century, and for too long we have systematically underinvested in our rails, our roads and our public transit vehicles,” Lee said.

During his State of the City address earlier this year, the mayor announced the creation of the transportation task force, which was co-chaired by Deputy City Controller Monique Zmuda and San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association executive director Gabriel Metcalf.

The group estimated that $10.1 billion in infrastructure improvements are needed by 2030, but the city has only $3.8 billion in funding for the projects.

To raise more revenue, the task force recommended two new bond measures, a sales tax increase of 0.5 percent and a vehicle license fee hike of 1.35 percent.

The money would help to replace the entire Muni fleet within 15 years and prevent vehicle breakdowns that often lead to delays for public transit riders.

“Muni doesn’t have enough capacity to meet the needs of our current population, let alone the 150,000 projected additional residents over coming decades,” Supervisor Scott Wiener, a member of the task force, said in a statement.

“Now is the time to aggressively invest in Muni’s reliability and capacity, and these recommendations do just that,” he said.

The task force’s plan also includes $316 million for bicycle and pedestrian improvements, including adding bike lanes and parking spaces and expanding the regional bike sharing program, as well as money to keep city streets in good repair.

Lee said the report, which is available online at http://sfcontroller.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=4912, “provides a comprehensive, coordinated roadmap for the investments we must make to improve the system we have and build a transportation system to meet the growing needs of our city.”

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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