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Poll finds possible measures to fund SF transit lack two-thirds support

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Passengers test out the new N-Judah Muni LRV in San Francisco on Nov. 17, 2017. (Daniel Kim/Special to S.F. Examiner)

A new survey found a majority of San Francisco voters enthusiastic to approve new funding measures for transportation — but those measures may lack the two-thirds voter support needed to pass.

The survey was conducted for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority at the request of its chair, Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Voters were polled by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, by a combined 1,013 cellphone, telephone and online interviews between Dec. 1 and Dec. 7 in English, Spanish and Chinese.

Funding Muni and other local transportation efforts are seen as key after the late Mayor Ed Lee’s proposed sales tax hike to fund Muni by $100 million annually failed during the November 2016 election.

Peskin introduced a Commercial Rent Tax ballot measure earlier this month for the June 2018 election, which would increase the gross receipts tax rate on rents received by landlords from commercial properties.

But that measure needs two-thirds voter approval to pass, because the funding is dedicated to transit. Though the survey results showed strong support for a commercial rent tax — 58 percent — it’s still below the voter threshold and portends an uphill road for the ballot measure.

The measures surveyed came out of discussions from the SF Transportation Task Force 2045, a group of local business, advocate, community and government parties exploring ways to fund San Francisco transit in the future. That group convened its final meeting Monday.

Three other potential ballot measures to fund transit were polled, including a half-cent sales tax hike with 59 percent support, a vehicle license fee with 53 percent support and a 2 percent tax on gig-economy revenues with 54 percent support.

Though all garnered a majority support, none gained two-thirds voter approval.

Voters were less keen on individual measures, but about 71 percent of those surveyed agreed there is “great” or “some” need to increase funding for local transit.

The results of the survey will be presented to the transportation authority Board of Directors, which is comprised of the Board of Supervisors, on Jan. 9.

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