Muni brass, unions stand behind transit-reform bill

A controversial initiative that would generate additional revenue for San Francisco’s ailing Municipal Transportation Agency while overhauling the way it is run has garnered the support of union leaders, who officially announced their endorsement Monday.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and MTA Executive Director Nathaniel Ford gathered with union leaders representing Muni drivers, clerical staff, engineers and supervisors to release a revised version of Supervisor Aaron Peskin’s Muni reform bill.

Union leaders heavily criticized the original measure, which Peskin introduced in April. The employees said the measure gave too much control to MTA directors, who are appointed by Newsom.

The new version lowers the number of Muni managers the executive director can hire and fire and requires Board of Supervisors approval when Muni wants to contract out for large services.

The revised measure would give Muni an additional 40 percent of The City’s parking-related revenue for operational improvements, such as hiring more drivers, while allowing the board to reject Muni’s proposed annual budgets with seven votes rather than eight. Six supervisors must support the measure for it to be on the November ballot. The board is expected to vote at the end of the month.

“I’m really hopeful that the board passes it,” Newsom said. “This is just the first step today, the next step is at the end of the month, then the voters this November.”

The MTA governs Muni and the Department of Parking and Traffic.

arocha@examiner.com

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