Plan to raise $100 billion in taxes to fix Bay Area traffic taking shape

abc7news – excerpt (includes video)

A plan to raise $100 billion to fix Bay Area traffic could be put to a vote in 2020.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — When it comes to traffic the Bay Area has some of the worst jams around.

With the population still growing, it’s estimated it could reach 10 million by 2040. Local officials are looking to keep up by generating $100 billion through a tax measure…

While the dollar figure is massive, the measure would seek to generate the funds over several decades with a penny sales tax…(more)

This story follows the one about the huge deficit the SFMTA has run up on the Central Subway project and their lack of ability to handle these jobs. Until these issue over management of major projects is dealt with, we question the wisdom of raising taxes for more big projects that claim they will “fix” the traffic problems. Nothing has “fixed” traffic after billions of dollars pouring into “fixing” it. We are billions into digging holes and the traffic is worse than ever. Let’s see how much the traffic improves with the next gas tax before suggesting any more taxes.

RELATED: New California gas tax kicking in on July 1 (more)

Central Subway contractor dispute threatens to bust budget

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s $1.6 billion Central Subway project is nearly out of money.

An independent federal monitor warns in a new report that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency may soon spend its last federal dollar for the project and exhaust the “contingency” budget meant to cover cost overruns

“In the opinion of the (independent monitor), the rapid increase in claims by (Tutor Perini) calls into question the adequacy of the program contingency” budget, the independent monitor wrote in a May report obtained by the San Francisco Examiner. “Unless the claims are settled for less than the claimed amount, there is a risk that the program budget could be exceeded,” the monitor wrote…

“This is ridiculous. Federal oversight is specifically calling out a dysfunctional relationship between SFMTA and Tutor Perini, which is increasing the likelihood that the project might end up costing more than even the contingency fund,” said Cat Carter, a spokesperson with the San Francisco Transit Riders. “This is hurting communities and merchants from Chinatown to Union Square to SOMA.”…(more)

How much more proof do we need? SFMTA is a failed system that excels in two things, lying and making excuses. We don’t need to pay another dime for lies and excuses. We need to see a Charter Amendment written and promoted by City Hall that will realign the department to make it subservient to the public and the elected officials. Nothing short of that will do. Stop approving new projects until the big two, Central Subway and Van Ness mess, are complete and paid for.

Free Muni, Uber crackdowns and bikeshare support — D5 supervisor candidates stake out transportation positions

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Free Muni for all, car-free streets, a crackdown on scofflaw Uber drivers, and even a new tax to raise money for transit service citywide — all of these ideas and more were on the table at a District 5 supervisor candidate forum Monday night at the Park branch library.

The candidates are vying to represent the Haight, Fillmore, Inner Sunset and other neighborhoods on this November’s ballot. At Monday’s event, candidates Vallie Brown, Dean Preston, Ryan Lam, and Nomvula O’Meara laid out their visions on transportation for District 5 residents.

Among other ideas, Brown suggested a “big” state transit bond to fund Muni, increasing fees to developers to pay for transit improvements near new housing, and supporting the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s plan to revamp curb space in San Francisco…

Preston, on the other hand, hammered against one transportation mode in particular — Uber, Uber, Uber…

Brown countered that only California regulators and legislature can make fundamental changes to how Uber and Lyft are regulated. County and city legislators cannot pass laws regarding ride-hail use, she pointed out…

But Preston pressed on, and said “I’m not sympathetic to the arguments that we can’t regulate them.” Supervisors should “go to the state level” and advocate for change, he said…(more)

Dean Preston has a lot of experience getting things done in Sacramento. He has proven to be an effective advocate at the state level.

BART Taking State Regulators to Court in Long, Costly Fight Over Track Worker Deaths

By Jaxon Van Derbeken : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

BART is spending hundreds of thousands of rider dollars on an extraordinary legal challenge of the state Public Utilities Commission’s authority to punish the transit agency for breaking its own safety rules in the deaths of two track workers back in 2013, NBC Bay Area’s investigative unit has learned. Jaxon Van Derbeken reports. (Published Thursday, July 18, 2019)…(more)

Why we need to stop raising our taxes. BART riders are paying higher rates to sue themselves. This is the new regional plan in action.

Flooding at Embarcadero Station in San Francisco Causes Trouble for Muni, BART

By NBC Bay Area staff : nbcbayarea – excerpt (includes video)

Flooding at the Embarcadero station in San Francisco triggered issues for both BART and Muni Thursday morning, according to the transit agencies.

The “drainage issue” has primarily impacted Muni, which still has its trains bypassing the station. BART service was temporarily impacted, but normal service has resumed and trains are once again stopping at the station… (more)

Police detain truck driver involved in fatal San Francisco hit-and-run

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — San Francisco police have detained the driver of a tractor-trailer who was involved in a deadly hit-and-run in the city’s Tenderloin neighborhood.

ABC7 News Reporter Jobina Fortson was there when officers closed off Broadway St. between Front and Battery…(more)

E-scooter permit program made permanent, number of vehicles may expand

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

City sets tough standards for companies hoping to win approval to operate in San Francisco

e-scooter rentals are here to stay, and soon their numbers may grow.

But if companies like Scoot, Skip and others want to rent e-scooters in San Francisco, they’re going to have to ensure they recruit customers who aren’t just white, male and rich, like the majority of those riding the “shared” e-scooters here now, according to a recent city survey… (more)

Tax on Uber, Lyft rides heading to voters

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

New fee intended to reduce traffic congestion, fund transit

A tax on fares charged to riders of transportation services like Uber and Lyft is heading to the November ballot.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee approved of the tax Wednesday and the full board is expected to vote next week to place it on the Nov. 5 ballot…(more)

Never miss a chance to tax instead of correcting a bad decision, like removing parking. When motorist had the option of parking to take the bus, their were more people taking it. Of course there were more seats and bus stops and less crowding on Muni as well.

Supes suffer sticker shock over cost of BART’s ‘fancy tents’ to cover escalators

By Joshua Sabatini : sfexaminer – excerpt

Market Street canopy project to total $91.3M, with around half coming from city transportation bond

Members of the Board of Supervisors on Wednesday questioned the high price tag on a plan to place costly canopies over transit station escalators along Market Street.

The Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee put the brakes Wednesday on funding for the $91.3 million BART project, which would install entrance canopies that include gates that lock, to get more information…

Dana said that San Francisco’s structures “are a specialized canopy.”

“If you’ve seen the two pilot canopies that we constructed, the ceiling is kind of like a floating cloud. It is a design that we worked with the city developing,” Dana said. “They are a little different than the ones that are being provided in Berkeley and Oakland, a little bit more costly.”…

‘“This is such a hefty amount of money that actually I would like to get more information on this,” Fewer said… (more)

Why are we always buying the highest priced design? When can we get back to buying off the rack? How many places do we need to go to find out whether the trains are on time or not?

Safe parking site for homeless who live in their vehicles proposed near Balboa Park BART

By Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez : sfexaminer – excerpt

Facility would offer social services, security, bathrooms for overnight parkers

It’s been a long road, but homeless RV and car dwellers may finally be able to park and rest.

City officials have proposed a Balboa Park site for the first “triage center” site for people living in their vehicles. The site at 500 Geneva Ave. at Balboa Upper Yards, announced Supervisors Ahsha Safai and Vallie Brown Monday, would provide a safe place to park and social services.

“We’ve seen a rise in homeless people living in their cars in our neighborhood,” Safai told the San Francisco Examiner Monday. “This is an honest conversation, nothing’s been decided yet.”

A community meeting is planned at Balboa High School from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow residents to weigh in on the plan this Saturday, July 20. Should the community be on board, Safai said he expects the pilot to begin in November, pending new legislation to lock-in the site…

People would be allowed to stay on site 90 days, with options for renewal until housing is made available. The proposal also has the support of the Coalition on Homelessness, which has long advocated for services specifically for those living in vehicles.…(more)

Let’s hope this operation is successful. The option of a longer term options should make this program a better deal than the navigation centers have offered.

San Francisco teachers need neighborhood parking passes

Did you know that teachers must move their cars every two hours during a school day when they simultaneously need to be taking care of their students? Many teachers take public transportation to work, but for those who have too many supplies to lug, live out of the city due to high living costs, or carpool, they must drive their car. This is why we need to make parking passes available to all teachers in their school’s neighborhood… (more)

If this concerns you sign the petition to allow teachers parking passes.