At its current pace, Muni is projected to end the fiscal year in June with a $21.2 million budget deficit — and that does not include the $22 million still needed to restore its recent service reductions.
To help make up the shortfall, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency will not increase Muni’s fares or reduce its services, but will keep a closer eye on motorists. The agency plans to redeploy parking control officers to better capture meter revenue and issue citations. Also, it will monitor ways to ramp up efforts to sell taxi medallions and cut down on overtime pay, agency spokesman Paul Rose said.
Projected meter and citation revenue is $11.6 million lower than expected, a sign that many motorists are wary of picking up parking tickets, Rose said. Parking citation fines have increased consistently in the past three years, with the most recent hike, $2.50, coming May 1.
High worker salaries are one of the main culprits in the agency’s budget problems. Expenditures, mostly from employee salaries, are on pace to be $9.6 million higher than projected. That includes $4.9 million extra for work orders, in which public agencies charge the SFMTA for services, according to agency documents.
The proposed means of generating revenue and saving money will not generate all the funds needed to restore all the Muni service cuts from last year. In May, the agency reduced service by 10 percent, although it restored some of that in September. To reinstate the remaining cuts, the agency needs $22 million, according to a working group made up of officials from the SFMTA, the Mayor’s Office and the Board of Supervisors. That group pledged to restore lost service in an efficient manner, but so far it has identified no funding.
To plug its current hole and restore all service cuts, the SFMTA would need to come up with $43.2 million, which is 5.5 percent of its $775 million deficit.
In 2010, the SFMTA faced a two-year budget deficit of $129 million. In response, the agency implemented 10 percent service reductions, agreed to increase transit fares every two years and took away several parking privileges for city workers.
“This deficit is not as bad as last year,” said Tom Nolan, the chair of the SFMTA’s board of directors, which will discuss the budget today. “But we basically used everything we could think of to plug that hole, so we’re running out of options.”
SFMTA budget at a glance: