Wiener says Muni needs fixes, not youth passes

S.F. Examiner File PhotoMoney matters: Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a nonbinding resolution that would oppose using $6.7 million in Muni funding on a pilot program that would offer free passes to needy youths.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoMoney matters: Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a nonbinding resolution that would oppose using $6.7 million in Muni funding on a pilot program that would offer free passes to needy youths.

The year-plus battle over a free Muni fare program for San Francisco’s low-income youths took another turn Tuesday.

Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced a nonbinding resolution urging that all available transportation funds be used for maintenance and repair work on Muni’s battered transit vehicles. It was a direct response to the recent approval of $6.7 million in federal funds for Muni, which many hope will be used to pay for a 22-month free fare pilot program for 40,000 low-income youths.

With Muni performing at historically poor levels — its latest on-time rate was 58 percent, well below the 85 percent goal — Wiener said the money should go toward repairing buses and other faulty equipment.

The funds are from the Transit Performance Initiative program, and they can be used for any project that increases ridership or improves maintenance. Wiener said the best way to increase ridership is to ensure that vehicles are reliable.

“If you give people a free Muni pass, but the bus doesn’t come, that doesn’t make much sense,” he said.

Supervisor David Campos, who has led the efforts to create the youth program, said there will be additional federal funds coming for maintenance projects. Right now, he said, San Francisco leaders and families have shown overwhelming support for the youth program.

Jaron Browne, an organizer for the grass-roots youth organization POWER, questioned the motivation behind Wiener’s resolution.

“People need to start asking why Scott Wiener is putting so much energy to stop things that would help San Francisco’s youths and their families,” Browne said.

The youth program was approved in April by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors, which governs Muni. However, that approval was contingent on receiving $4 million in regional funds from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the region’s lead transit financing agency.

The MTC rejected that deal in July, but last week the SFMTA received the federal funds under the understanding that they could be used for the youth program.

Wiener’s resolution was introduced at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting. It will be voted on at a meeting later this month.

“We certainly agree that this agency needs more funding for maintenance and service improvements,” SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said. “We will continue to work with the Board of Supervisors, the MTA board and all stakeholders as we look to find solutions to the various needs of this agency.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsDavid CamposMuniSan FranciscoTransittransportation

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

Dave Hodges, pastor at Zide Door, the Church of Entheogenic Plants that include marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms, holds some psychedelic mushrooms inside the Oakland church on Friday, July 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Psychedelic spirituality: Inside a growing Bay Area religious movement

‘They are guiding us into something ineffable’

San Francisco Police stand guard outside the Mission Police Station during a protest over the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Fired: California bill aims to decertify police for serious misconduct

By Robert Lewis CalMatters On a Wednesday afternoon in April 2018, Gardena… Continue reading

The Giants and Dodgers face each other again following a May series the Dodgers swept; Dodgers shortstop Gavin Lux caught stealing by Giants second baseman Donovan Solano at Oracle Park on May 23 is pictured. 
Chris Victorio/
Special to The Examiner
Giants vs. Dodgers: What you need to know before this week’s huge series

By Chris Haft Special to The Examiner That grinding noise you’ll hear… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that state employees and health care workers must be vaccinated or undergo weekly testing and wear masks. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters)
California orders vaccine or testing for health care workers, state employees

By Ana B. Ibarra CalMatters Amid an uptick in COVID-19 cases and… Continue reading

Jeremy Kahn and Monica Ho are excellent in San Francisco Playhouse’s production of Lauren Yee’s “The Song of Summer,” being presented live and online. (Courtesy Jessica Palopoli)
Touching relationship at heart of ‘Song of Summer’

Lighthearted SF Playhouse show ‘feels right for this moment’

Most Read