Where the SFMTA’s Prop. A money has gone

By: Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

Prop. A, five years later: The second part in a two-part series explores where funding from Proposition A has gone since voters passed the initiative in 2007. It was intended to give the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency more control over revenue from parking meters and off-street lots to put toward the Transit Effectiveness Project. It appears that money has been put toward other uses.
From aging equipment to a lack of qualified bus drivers, problems with Muni are well-known to the hundreds of thousands of passengers who use the service daily. That’s why many residents would probably question how spending $130,000 a year on a plumber helps fix the transit system’s entrenched issues…
However, funds have been directed to areas that seemingly have ambiguous links to transit service, according to records obtained by The San Francisco Examiner…
“We gave the SFMTA and its commission unparalleled authority and took away oversight from the Board of Supervisors,” Peskin said. “But it has been a failure because the SFMTA has simply not used the money properly. I think it’s time to put oversight of the funds back into the elected officials who represent Muni riders.”
Quentin Kopp, a retired Superior Court judge and also a former board president, called the expenditures an expropriation of taxpayer funds.
“These are parochial and nonintended uses,” Kopp said. “The intent of this initiative was clearly not to pay for gardeners and plumbers.”…
The transit agency is expected to place a general obligation bond on the November 2014 ballot that would provide the Transit Effectiveness Project with $120 million, although that cash influx would not fully fund the project… (more)

Muni’s mismanagement of Prop. A may hurt future funding tries

Will Reisman : SFExaminer – excerpt

San Francisco voters in November of next year will likely be asked to approve about $590 million in tax increases and bond measures for transportation improvements in The City. If the initiatives have any chance of passing — no certainty with high thresholds for approval — advocates of the plans will have to convince a skeptical public that they’ve learned their lesson from the last time they asked voters for money.
In 2007, the Board of Supervisors, led by then-President Aaron Peskin, backed Proposition A, a ballot measure intended to give the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency more control over revenue collected from parking meters and off-street lots. The initiative was projected to generate $26 million a year and help the agency toward its long-sought goal of fiscal solvency.
On the 2007 voter pamphlet, supporters of Prop. A said, “San Francisco can have the clean, safe and reliable transit system our world-class city deserves. This Charter Amendment is the next step.”… (more)

San Francisco cable car accidents costs millions

By The Associated Press : SFExaminer – excerpt

In this city of innumerable tourist attractions, the clanging, hill-conquering cable cars stand out as a top draw.
The quaint conveyances also stand out for the inordinate number of accidents and the millions of dollars annually the city pays out to settle lawsuits for broken bones, severed feet and bad bruises caused when 19th-century technology runs headlong into 21st-century city traffic and congestion.
Cable cars average about an accident a month and routinely rank among the most accident-prone mass transportation modes in the country per vehicle mile traveled annually, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Over the last 10 years, city officials have reported 126 accidents injuring 151 people… (more)