Supporters plead with SFMTA for free youth Muni passes 

click to enlarge Free Muni youth passes would cost the agency $7.9 million, but backers of the proposal say outside funding would take the burden off the SFMTA. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Free Muni youth passes would cost the agency $7.9 million, but backers of the proposal say outside funding would take the burden off the SFMTA.

Students, parents and lawmakers showed up at City Hall on Tuesday to again voice their support for free Muni passes for youths.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, is considering allowing all residents under 18 to ride free, an initiative that would cost $7.9 million annually. The SFMTA is facing a $53.2 million projected budget shortfall over the next two years.

Backers of the plan said they can secure the bulk of the funding through local and regional sources.

More than 100 speakers touted the plan at the SFMTA’s board of directors meeting Tuesday, with public comment lasting more than four hours. Five supervisors also spoke at the meeting, including David Campos, who has led the initiative.

“We’re trying to create the next generation of transit riders,” Campos said. “For that to happen, every child has to be riding the bus, irrespective of income.”

Several members of the SFMTA board said they would support the free passes, but they need more evidence that outside sources would fund the program.

The SFMTA board will vote on the plan, along with the agency’s budget for the next two years, at its April 3 meeting.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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Will Reisman

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