With deficit looming, Muni raids stimulus funds

Millions of dollars will be siphoned from federal stimulus funds designated to improve crumbling Muni infrastructure under a plan to help San Francisco’s transit agency close a projected $45.1 million operating budget shortfall.

The Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, announced this week that just three months into the fiscal year that began July 1, it’s tens of millions of dollars in the red due to lower-than-expected returns from parking meters, an impasse with the taxicab industry on reforms and an unexpected spike in operating costs.

The transit agency, which also lost about $180 million in state funding during the past three years, has proposed $25.5 million in immediate savings to help offset the new shortfall.

One solution is to siphon off $6.7 million, the maximum allowed, from federal stimulus funding designated to improve Muni’s crumbling infrastructure and use the money for day-to-day operations.

There also are plans to save $12.3 million by eliminating 250 positions by January, although about 80 of those are currently vacant, according to transit agency chief Nathaniel Ford, who discussed details about the financial strategy at a board of directors meeting Tuesday.

Barring operators, all Muni positions — including custodial and maintenance jobs — are subject to elimination by the cost-saving measure.

Even with its proposed changes, the transit agency is still $19.6 million short for this fiscal year. Ford said ways to come up with money by the end of the fiscal year in June are being explored, including the possibility of negotiating deals with Muni’s operators union.

“We need to have some difficult and frank discussions with our operators union,” he said.

Irwin Lum — head of Transport Workers Union 250-A, which represents 1,900 Muni operators — said both the union and the transit agency need to evaluate operations following the proposed service changes, which take effect Dec. 5, before sitting down to talk.
 

Bay Area NewsLocalTransittransportation

Just Posted

San Francisco health experts recommend that pregnant women should receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as a booster shot. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Questions regarding COVID-19 booster shots for pregnant people have been pouring in… Continue reading

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

Badly needed rain cooled off pedestrians on Market Street in The City on Wednesday. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Storm door opens in San Francisco — what will the rains bring?

‘Come Monday, fire season in Northern California should be done’

The so-called “twindemic” that public health officials in California and elsewhere warned about last year — the combined threat of influenza and COVID-19 — was largely eased by the wide use of face masks, physical distancing and reduced travel, experts say. But their concerns are back this year. (Shutterstock)
COVID and the flu: Is a ‘twindemic’ threat lurking again?

‘Because of so little disease last year, population immunity is likely lower’

49ers' quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hopes to return to the field this weekend to lead San Francisco against the Colts. (Photo courtesy of 49ers)
NFL Week 7 picks: Niners face crucial matchup against the Colts

San Francisco could join Seattle on the brink of irrelevancy in the NFC West with another loss

Most Read