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Don’t Forget to Weigh in on Key SFMTA Budget Issues

by
Friday, March 25, 2016

As we shape a balanced SFMTA budget that improves San Francisco’s transportation system for the next two years, we heard input from a lot of folks this week. But we can always use more.

Tomorrow is the second of two open houses we’re holding at SFMTA headquarters to provide a chance for you to discuss key budget issues with our agency’s staff. On Monday, we also held a webinar hosted by our Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin, which was watched by about 60 people.

As the agency that manages everything from Muni, to parking, to sidewalks and bike lanes, to taxis, our budget encompasses quite a wide range of issues.

A new 60-foot Muni bus sits curbside with a digital headsign displaying the text, "Bus in test - no passengers." A man on the sidewalk looks at the bus as he walks by."

One proposal that many Muni riders may be interested in would apply a 25-cent automatic indexed fare increase only to cash fares, but not Clipper Card users. This strategy is being employed by more transit agencies to encourage the use of more efficient payment systems like the Clipper Card.

That idea would reduce the amount of time Muni spends at stops, which accounts for an estimated 10-15 percent of travel time, on average. The plan would also come with programs to provide low-income riders better access Clipper Cards.

That’s just one example of some of the questions we’re weighing. The budget may be a lot to take in, but you can dig into the details on our budget webpage.

For now, here’s a quick look at Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018. The budget covering these two years must be approved by our Board of Directors by the end of April so they can go into effect on July 1.

The total SFMTA budget for each fiscal year is roughly $1.08 billion, though there’s a projected shortfall of roughly $14 million to make up each year. While the economy is currently strong, we’re preparing for a drop in revenues when it eventually slows, and for increasing costs for employer retirement contributions.

The good news is that our proposed budget includes more investments than ever in better transit, safer streets, smarter parking management and more.

We’ve made equitable transit a priority as we continue and expand lifeline fare programs and implement our first Muni Equity Strategy. Our combined investment of $12.9 million next year in Free Muni programs will help low-income seniors, youth and people with disabilities go to school, work, the doctor and the store.

In addition to transit-first priority projects around the city, we continue to invest in new buses and trains as well as more effective maintenance that is steadily making Muni more reliable. We already have 147 new buses in service, and the first of our 215 new trains will arrive this year.

Whether or not you can make it to the open house tomorrow, you can learn more and give input directly to the SFMTA Board of Directors at two upcoming meetings at City Hall, Room 400:

You can also e-mail comments to sfmtabudget@sfmta.com or tweet them by mentioning the SFMTA’s Twitter handle, @sfmta_muni, and the hashtag #SFMTAbudget. You can also sign up for email updates.