Supervisors introduce ballot measure to support transportation infrastructure 

click to enlarge A general obligation bond, introduced by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday for the November ballot, would generate $500 million for SFMTA for various infrastructure needs. - MIKE KOOZMIN/2013 S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • Mike Koozmin/2013 S.F. Examiner file photo
  • A general obligation bond, introduced by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday for the November ballot, would generate $500 million for SFMTA for various infrastructure needs.

With Tuesday's introduction of a $500 million general-obligation transportation bond for the November ballot, city officials are hoping residents' frustration with Muni will translate into votes.

The measure's introduction is the first step toward coming up with the $10 billion investment a recent city task force identified is needed during the next 15 years for an adequate transit system. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is facing a projected $6.3 billion funding shortfall over that time, which the bond would help close.

Transit and city officials are also pushing a second ballot measure -- a vehicle license fee increase from .65 percent to 2 percent -- that is expected to be introduced in subsequent weeks. Combined, the two measures would generate $1.5 billion to support transportation efforts in The City.

"I believe that this bond will be a turning point for transportation in San Francisco," said Supervisor Katy Tang, who introduced the bond measure with the support of Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors.

Tang said that the most frequent complaint she hears from residents is about the unreliability of Muni. The system is a "great source of frustration for people trying to get to work, to school, to run simple errands or to get to and from events," she noted.

Tang said that the transit system has fallen into disrepair "after decades of underinvestment."

The Board of Supervisors is expected to vote to place the bond on the November ballot by the deadline of July 22. It would require two-thirds of the vote to pass.

The measure, which is backed by property taxes, would not result in an increase in taxes on property owners since it is timed to keep the taxes at their existing rates as other debt retires.

The $500 million bond would include $230 million for capital projects to improve the Muni system, $30 million for transit-stop accessibility, $70 million for maintenance and $68 million for pedestrian-safety projects. Additionally, $52 million would be directed toward new and improved bike lanes and other street improvements, and $22 million for new traffic signals.

Similar past bonds have generated revenue for such things as roads, parks, libraries and fire stations.

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