Funding Snag Could Delay Central Subway

By Chris Roberts : NBCBayArea – excerpt

San Francisco transit officials are anxious over $850 million they need to finish the Central Subway.

A cool $850 million from the feds is needed to complete the funding picture for the 1.7-mile connector from Caltrain to Chinatown, money that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency doesn’t have — and money that was supposed to be in place in December, the Bay Citizen reported. Federal officials have yet to officially approve the funding, and if they don’t make the move by September, costs on the project could begin to balloon, the Web site reported…

Federal officials did not comment to the Bay Citizen. Activists with Save Muni, a group opposed to the Central Subway “boondoggle,” said that they hoped the delay could go on long enough to kill off the project…

SF transit officials are “running scared,” one member of Save Muni told the Bay Citizen.

(more )

We understand money from both the federal and the state was anticipated. Now it looks doubtful the state will be able to help and the parties in DC. are even less likely to cooperate.

Fastrak digital system is flawed

A personal story

I am not ready to embrace the “smart” parking system in San Francisco since I just got proof that the Fastrak digital scanning system is flawed.

I received a $30 fine and a DELINQUENT TOLL EVASION VIOLATION notice from Fastrak in the mail. They claim this is the second warning they mailed me though I never got another notice by mail. Fastrak notices generally arrive by email. The notice states that if I don’t pay the balance due by the 26th, the fine goes up to $75.00 and UNPAID VIOLATIONS WILL BE SENT TO THE DMV.

Let me get this straight. Fastrak claims I failed to pay in spite of the following facts.:

  1. The Fastrak system identified my car as I drove through a scanner on the Bay Bridge.
  2. The Fastrak system connected me with my Fastrak account.
  3. Fastrak has the authority to withdraw money from my account through my credit card.
  4. According to my online statement as of last night there was a $17 credit in that account.

How can they claim that I failed to pay them the $5 when they have $17 of my money? I believe they are also authorized them to take $25 out of my credit card when the balance reaches zero. For me this is proof that I cannot trust the Fastrak digital tacking system. Why should I trust the SFMTA digital scanning system?

I just looked up complaints and found 55 listed with the Better Business Bureau. Complaint number is 877-229-8655 in case you need it.

Resolution:

I called the complaint number 877-229-8655 and explained that I checked with my account and there is money in the account, they have access to my credit card, etc. According to them my license plate was not listed on the account, even though I see it listed when I access my account online. Their computer seems to have backtracked two years and listed the Toyota that I sold when I got my Saturn. I was able to change the car on the phone and supposedly do not have to pay the penalty. I suggest that you warn people to check their Fastrak records if they have changed cars receive a similar notice in the mail.

NOTE: Since I put this notice out, I have had a few people get back to me with similar experiences.

 

Fastrak Tip from a respondent : I got a fare evasion notice via mail. They stated that if I apply for FasTrak they would drop the charge and take it from my FasTrak account.

 

MTA betting more ticket writing to ease deficit

By Michael Cabanatuan : SFGate – excerpt

The new fiscal year doesn’t even begin until July 1, but the Municipal Transportation Agency’s budget for the next two years is already in the red. And the city plans to issue more parking tickets to help close that deficit.

The agency, which controls Muni, parking and traffic, faces a $19.8 million deficit over the next two years due in large part to labor negotiations that failed to yield the concessions that had been projected when the budget was passed in April…

Huh? The author is blaming labor for a few measly million while sweeping the  billion dollar Central Tunnel project that is not funded

Ed Reiskin, the city’s transportation director, said the new officers would target drivers who park illegally in areas with residential parking permits and other places where the agency gets complaints about a lack of enforcement…

Like the rumored $600 fines for moving vans that double park instead of waiting for a $300 day parking pass? How many people know about that one?

Reiskin will present the revised budget to the agency’s Board of Directors on Tuesday, and it could face a second review by the supervisors’ Budget Committee before it’s implemented July 1. The supervisors have until Aug. 1 to approve the budget or reject it in its entirety and send it back to the agency…

Read more for a complete list of planed ticket targets and a look at some alterations in the latest rewrite of the  SFMTA budget.

You may find one of your habits on the list. Thanks to Angela for bringing this to our notice.