Public Transit : Learn More

Public Transit : Learn More

San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Authority (MTA) is threatening to balance its budget by increasing MUNI fares and decreasing service. This “solution” would disproportionately affect poor and working people who rely on public transit in San Francisco. It would also discourage transit use and result in increased traffic congestion. Transit riders, environmentalists and social justice advocates are demanding that the MTA instead tap other revenue sources, such as having car users pay for the environmental, public health and congestion costs they create, and getting downtown interests to pay their fair share to support public transit service from which they greatly benefit.

MUNI director Michael Burns projects a budget shortfall of $18 million for fiscal year 2005. A variety of revenue sources are being considered including increasing the parking tax on garages and lots, increasing residential parking permit fees, raising the transit impact development fee paid by downtown developers and/or creating a downtown transit assessment district.

To the dismay of public transit riders, a fare hike and service reductions are also on the table. Director Burns is requesting that the MTA Board of Directors declare a “fiscal emergency,” which would allow service cuts without environmental review. Muni riders successfully fought Burns’ effort earlier this year to fast track service cuts.

At a January 4, 2005, hearing, the MTA Board considered these budget issues. Members of the public spoke passionately in opposition to the “fiscal emergency” declaration, against fare hikes and service cuts, and in favor of eliminating existing subsidies for motorists and taxing downtown interests rather than balancing the budget deficit on the backs of MUNI riders. Noting the public testimony, the Board postponed deciding on these budget issues. All revenue raising and cost saving measures remain under consideration to be decided at upcoming MTA Board meetings.

Please TAKE ACTION to tell the MTA not to raise fares or cut service.

For more information about this issue, see these articles in Beyond Chron andChronicle.

For a list of potential MTA revenue sources, see Transportation For a Livable City’s“Muni Revenue Sources” web page.

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