Muni ’07 budget avoids fare hikes

Muni officials submitted a budget for next year that avoids fare increases for the vast majority of passengers, but public transportation watchdogs said the city has not done enough to ensure that increases or service cuts won’t return in future years.

The proposed $682 million budget for the Municipal Transportation Agency has an expenditure budget nearly $100,000 higher than last year’s, a 16.5 percent increase, but will be balanced with the help of additional revenues anticipated from various agencies and increases to parking rates and fares, according to MTA CEO Nathaniel Ford. Cracking down on fare evaders through the hiring of 27 new inspectors and 13 additional station agents will generate an additional $14.8 million, he said.

The proposed budget includes $20 million for preventative maintenance, $10 million to create a “rainy day” operating reserve and $1.9 million for enhanced safety and security measures. Ford said he hopes to reduce the number of Muni accidents that have resulted in serious injury or death, as well as costly legal settlements.

“We’ve had an alarming growth in the number of claims this agency has paid out,” said Ford, who said he was unprepared to give a total dollar amount on the cost of legal settlements at the board’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting Wednesday.

Supervisor Chris Daly said that, although the proposed budget appears to offer the transit agency a fiscal “reprieve” in 2006-07, he was concerned about deficits already projected for future years. Before the meeting, he joined a coalition of transit advocates in a press conference calling on the MTA to begin looking for additional revenue sources now to stave off fare hikes and service cuts in the future.

Ford confirmed that, due to expected increases in labor and fuel costs, the agency is projected to face a $43.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2009-2010, which could grow to an estimated $61.4 million in FY 2020.

Sarah Karlinsky, a policy director for the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, noted that the advocacy group had recently released a report onMuni’s budget problems that included numerous recommendations for generating new revenue, including improving enforcement of current downtown parking pricing rules, improved enforcement of parking violations, increasing on-street parking prices and expanding residential permit parking fees for more areas in The City.

beslinger@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A ban on smoking or vaping in multi-unit buildings has drawn opposition from cannabis advocates, who say it would leave users with no legal place to consume a legal substance. (Shutterstock)
Cannabis group slams Yee’s proposed apartment smoking ban as ‘classist’

Legislation would impose fines of $1,000 a day on repeat violators

The most dangerous behaviors by drivers include failing to yield right-of-way at crosswalks, unsafe speeding and failing to stop at red lights or stop signs. <ins>(Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite, which supplies water to San Francisco, is among the concerns of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which is undergoing a change of leadership. <ins>(Courtesy SFPUC)</ins>
Changes in leadership at SFPUC spark concern, hope for future water policy

Will agency’s new commissioner continue to support Big Ag?

Supervisor Shamann Walton joined with community members to speak out against rising homicides, which have taken a heavy toll in the Bayview-Hunters Point in 2020. (Samantha Laurey/ Special to S.F Examiner)
SF homicides surpass 2019 total with month left in year

Police attribute rise to COVID-19, shootings and deadly gang violence

A screenshot from SFPD body worn camera
New videos show police shooting man armed with knife, frying pan

Police say Antonio Estrada set fire to apartment building before shooting

Most Read