Prop. A aims to help city with transit upgrades

by sfexaminer -excerpt

One of three transportation measures on the November ballot, Proposition A would allow San Francisco to borrow up to $500 million by issuing general-obligation bonds to go toward improving its transit infrastructure and aging roads…

Prop. A permits a property-tax increase to pay for the bonds if necessary, and landlords could pass up to 50 percent of the tax increase to tenants. According to projections from City Controller Ben Rosenfield, the highest estimated annual property tax for a homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000 would be about $91.02.

Groups including Save Muni, the San Francisco Taxpayers Association and Libertarian Party of San Francisco allege the proposition will raise property taxes and rent. Save Muni founding member Howard Wong said the proposition would incur $1 billion in new debt over a few decades with no guarantee of making Muni more reliable…

SFMTA funding, parking fees are on ballot with Props. B, L

Joining Proposition A, which transit officials and advocates are counting on for a reliable source of funding for infrastructure work, two more transit measures are on the November ballot. These, propositions B and L, seek to take The City’s transportation system in different directions.

A transit-funding measure like Prop. A, Proposition B would amend the City Charter to allocate a greater amount of the general fund toward the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency each year, based on population growth…

Opponents argue Prop. B would take general fund money away from other programs.

Prop. L was sparked in April from a dozen San Francisco residents who wanted to reboot transit policies back to 2009, before Sunday parking meters and demand responsive meter pricing went into effect and meters got installed in certain neighborhoods.

“It’s simply getting back on a balanced course in San Francisco which we have had for 50 years in The City until then,” said Chris Bowman, 68, a Twin Peaks resident and one of the original proponents of the proposition… (more)

Make Muni a priority in sweeping transportation plan

by : sfexaminer – excerpt

While praising the transportation plan released last month by his hand-picked Transportation Task Force, Mayor Ed Lee, in an opinion article in The San Francisco Examiner, correctly noted that San Francisco “needs and deserves a world-class transportation system.”

Yes it does. So does every city.

But that begs the question, “How do we get there from here?”

The inconvenient truth is that unless the recently released task force plan, as well as San Francisco’s disorganized and wasteful transportation-priority process and dysfunctional San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, all change significantly, we won’t get there.

The task force’s plan would raise $2.955 billion, a portion of which would come pursuant to voter approval in November of a general-obligation bond issue and local vehicle license fee increase. Forty-nine percent of the amount raised would go to Muni, 23 percent to street maintenance and repair, 23 percent to bicycle facilities and street enhancement, and the rest to an assortment of projects of varying degrees of usefulness…

The following changes would help bring about the transportation system San Francisco needs and deserves:

The task force plan should be overhauled. If a more acceptable plan were subsequently put together, at least 75 percent of the funding should go to well-conceived, well-defined and cost-effective Muni improvements geared toward moving Muni riders through The City quickly and efficiently. An additional 10 percent should go to the long-delayed Caltrain extension. Up to 10 percent (assuming the absence of other available funding sources) should go to street repair and maintenance.

Unrepresentative and mostly inexperienced individuals should not be permitted to define San Francisco’s transportation future.

Proposed infrastructure improvements should be thoroughly vetted and scrutinized before being included in large funding programs.

To provide for more effective oversight of SFMTA policies and actions, the SFMTA board of directors should be directly elected by the voters of San Francisco. To allow the SFMTA and its transportation director to focus more effectively on San Francisco’s public-transit systems, the administration of bicycle facilities, pedestrian enhancements and street beautification should be returned to the Planning Department. For similar reasons, taxi management should be placed under a separate taxi director reporting directly to the SFMTA board.

Judy Berkowitz and Denise D’Anne are members of the group Save Muni. This message was also endorsed by the following Save Muni members: Barry Eisenberg, Joan Wood, Gerald Cauthen, Bernie Meyerson, Rick Hauptman and Bob Feinbaum… (more)

We appreciate the decisiveness of the parties and the plan to move forward in a positive manner.

Everyone is trying to come up with solutions for fixing the Muni, going around in circles, and coming up short. Now we have a viable solution to discus. Many people feel the responsibility for “doing it all” is leaving us with too little accomplished well. An elected, more focused board, should be better equipped than what we have now.

Supes Committee Approves Union Square Central Subway Plan

By Dan McMenamin : Bay City News – excerpt

,,, The board’s Land Use and Economic Development committee this afternoon unanimously agreed to send the proposal to the full Board of Supervisors as part of the $1.6 billion San Francisco Municipal Railway project linking the city’s South of Market neighborhood to Chinatown.
The vote comes after SaveMuni.com, a group opposing the project, filed a lawsuit last Wednesday arguing that construction on Union Square violated a clause in the city charter that requires voter approval of any structure built and maintained on park property for non-recreational purposes.
Some of the opponents spoke at this afternoon’s committee hearing at City Hall, including Tom Lippe, the attorney representing SaveMuni.com.
Lippe said the clause requiring voter approval for the project is “about as plain as the law gets” but “for some reason has been ignored” by city officials… (more)

Muni expects $942 million in Central Subway funding

By: Will Reisman : sfexaminer – excerpt

Muni’s controversial $1.6 billion Central Subway project is poised to receive a long-awaited $942 million federal grant today, a move that will finally secure full funding for construction…
However, the project has attracted criticism for its ballooning costs — original estimates grew from $647 million to $1.6 billion — and its annual burden on Muni’s already-strained operating budget. Former Board of Supervisors presidents Quentin Kopp and Aaron Peskin have come out against the plan, and a local activist group called Save Muni has consistently attacked the Central Subway as an unnecessary spending boondoggle.
“We’ve always felt that the SFMTA’s grant application has been based on falsified numbers that inflate the importance of the project,” said Howard Wong, a spokesman for Save Muni. “The Central Subway will ultimately end up degrading the rest of the Muni system.”
While the project has finally secured its funding sources, it still faces legal hurdles. Lawsuits have been filed against the project’s construction plans in North Beach and Union Square, the latter submitted by Save Muni on Wednesday. The City Attorney’s Office has stated that the SFMTA acted legally in both matters… (more)

The Race is on to decide the future of transit in San Francisco.

Press Release – September 10, 2012

Who will determine the future of transit in San Francisco? Those who take actions.
ENUF, and neighborhood groups opposing SFMTA’s policies launched a petition to Stop SFMTA.

This comes at a critical time in San Francisco’s politics, as neighborhood districts will be voting on their Supervisors in less than two months. Parking is a major concern for residents, so the position a candidate takes on parking and SFMTA policies could be the deciding factor in some races.
Continue reading

Central Subway: North Beach Merchants Lawyer Up, Fire Legal Salvo (Update)

By Joe Eskenazi : SFWeekly – excerpt

In a possible precursor to a lawsuit directed at the controversial Central Subway project, the North Beach Business Association has hired a lawyer to fire off a “demand letter” to Muni. Attorney Susan Brandt-Hawley’s brief note puts two options on the city’s plate:

A. Immediately cease the planned construction of a 2,000-foot tunnel to extract tunnel-boring machines from a massive hole on Columbus between Union and Filbert until conducting extensive environmental reviews, or

B. Face the legal consequences.

“We will do whatever we can to stop this extraction plan,” says Dan Macchiarini, an NBBA board member. “Whatever it takes — we will go to the limit and people will come forward with the funding.”…

(more)

Related Articles:
North Beach Group Files Lawsuit Over SF Central Subway Project
North Beach Businesses Sue To Block SF Central Subway

Central Subway in the News

from SaveMuni.com – excerpt

North Beach Neighbors Presents Central Subway Series

North Beach Neighbors Presents
“Central Subway’s Impacts on North Beach and City”
WEDNESDAY, JULY 25, 2012, 6:30 PM at Telegraph Hill Neighborhood Center, 660 Lombard Street.  SPEAKERS:  SaveMuni.com, SPUR and other invitees.

CENTRAL SUBWAY IN THE NEWS:
The Central Subway is disconnected from the Market Street corridor, Muni Metro, BART, Ferries, Transbay Terminal, High-speed Rail, regional and statewide transit networks. Muni riders must walk 1,000 feet between the Union Square Station and the existing Powell Metro/ BART Station. Hundreds of thousands of regional riders lose transit connectivity.  Per the FEIR and FTA applications, the Subway will decrease surface buses to the northeastern and southeastern sections of the city, including most of Chinatown. Today’s Muni riders will have longer travel times.
CHRONICLE:  “Central Subway work starts amid problems”
STREETSBLOG:  “Will the SFMTA Gut Muni Improvements to Prop Up the Central Subway?”
CHRONICLE/ BAY CITIZEN:  “Muni fudges on time performance, records show”