Transit money should be returned to inland East Bay

By Jason A. Bezis : insidebayarea – excerpt

One million people reside in the inland East Bay (area code 925), the sections of Contra Costa and Alameda counties east of the Richmond/Oakland/Fremont hills. Since 1978 we have paid a one-eighth percent sales tax (AB 1107) for the sole benefit of the San Francisco Muni and AC Transit systems.
The Metropolitan Transportation Commission, with nudging from our city councils and county supervisors, must change this unfair arrangement.
For every $16 in taxable purchases here, one penny is sent to MUNI and another cent to AC Transit. The inland East Bay includes 30 percent of the population subject to the tax. Its cities paid 26 percent of tax revenue in 2011. Yet none of the $16.5 million that the inland East Bay contributes each year is returned here.
In contrast, San Francisco accounts for just 24 percent of the population subject to the tax and 29 percent of revenue. Yet the MTC always sends half of the proceeds to San Francisco… (more)

Some East Bay citizens want a bigger cut of the sales tax transit funds.

Transportation board picks new exec

Michael Cabanatuan, Jill Tucker : sfgate – excerpt

A deeply split San Francisco County Transportation Authority board, also known as the Board of Supervisors, chose a new executive director after a closed session that concluded months of meetings and leaves lots of questions.
Supervisor John Avalos, chairman of the board, announced Tuesday only the selection of an unnamed primary candidate, but it’s Tilly Chang, deputy director of the authority formerly headed by Jose Luis Moscovich, who retired in November.
Not selected was Sonali Bose, finance director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The board voted 11-0 to back her as the secondary candidate. Bose reportedly had four or five backers for the position. A third finalist was Stephanie Wiggins of the Orange County Transportation Authority.
But will the new chief continue the status quo of butting heads over transportation planning with the Municipal Transportation Agency? Or will the two agencies hold hands, sing you-know-what and work together to improve the city’s transportation system?
And does the vote signal a major split among supervisors on transportation? The authority, which oversees spending of transportation sales tax revenues and does some planning and project delivery, is the supervisors’ only chance to directly influence transportation policy. The MTA board is appointed solely by the mayor and doesn’t have to answer to the supervisors…
Board members, er, Supervisors Avalos, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar and Norman Yee voted for Chang, with London Breed, Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, Katy Tang and Scott Wiener voting against her appointment… (more)

City – SFMTA, Board appointed by the Mayor

County – SFCTA, Board controlled by Supervisors

Let your Supervisors know what you want them to do with your tax dollars and when they should deny funds to the SFMTA.

Alameda County transportation sales tax measure loses after recount

By Denis Cuff Contra Costa Times : – excerpt

A measure to increase Alameda County’s transportation sales tax was defeated after a partial recount failed to reverse its razor-thin loss at the November polls.
The Alameda County Transportation Commission announced Wednesday it was conceding defeat of Measure B1, which would have doubled the sales tax to 1 cent.
The tax increase would have raised $7.8 billion over three decades for roads, freeways, transit and trails. It would have restored public service transit cuts, funded a backlog of road repairs and contributed $400 million for a BART rail extension to Livermore, among other projects.
The measure was supported by 66.53 percent of the votes, falling less than 800 votes shy of reaching the 66.67 percent needed to pass.
The final tally: 350,899 yes votes, and 176,504 no votes… (more)

Could this be the beginning of the end of the gravy train for public transportation? May be the cuts in fire protection and police staff and education are of more concern to the public now than propping up economically unfeasible transportation systems that break down on a regular basis.