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Unspent Muni bond draws ire of SF supervisors

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(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Board of Supervisors President London Breed, with the support of Supervisor Aaron Peskin, requested a hearing Tuesday to determine why the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, isn’t spending the $500 million in bond money voters approved in November 2014 even when there is so much need.

“Almost two and half years later, do you know how much of the $500 million has actually been spent to improve our transportation infrastructure?” Breed asked. “Twelve — $12 million. Twenty-seven months later, the MTA has spent 2 percent of the bonds we all authorized—the bonds we all said were urgently needed.”

Breed noted that the unused bond money is incurring interest payments and the value is decreasing with time, but also emphasized the importance of spending the funding on pressing needs.

“How many people will get hurt because critical street safety projects have been delayed?” she said. “How long will Muni riders keep hearing, ‘Just be patient’?”

Paul Rose, an SFMTA spokesperson, acknowledged the lag in spending and said all of the transportation projects that will be funded as part of the bond are “moving forward.”

Rose said in an email that “due to the demand for extensive public outreach and the need to schedule the projects in a coordinated manner, where all of the infrastructure work can be done at once, the process is slower than we anticipated.”

He continued, “We are doing everything we can to accelerate the spend rate, while continuing to work with the neighborhoods and partner agencies to get work done as fast as possible.”

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