Muni’s free youth plan facing crucial meeting 

click to enlarge Cash query: Muni hopes to receive $5 million from the MTC for its youth pass plan. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Cash query: Muni hopes to receive $5 million from the MTC for its youth pass plan.

A crucial funding element for the plan to provide free Muni for The City’s youths will be formally discussed this week by a regional transportation body.

Last month, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s board of directors approved a
22-month pilot program to provide free Muni for low-income youths. However, the plan was contingent upon receiving $5 million from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area’s lead transit financing agency.

The plan, backed by Supervisor David Campos, who is also an MTC commissioner, will have its first policy debate Wednesday. Several members of the MTC’s board have expressed skepticism about a plan that would use regional dollars to fund a program that would only benefit San Francisco residents.

Along with funding the Muni program, the MTC will discuss allocating $4.6 million for a similar plan for low-income adults in Santa Clara County. Scott Haggerty, who represents Alameda County for the MTC, has said he also intends to seek funding for a low-income transit program in his jurisdiction.

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener, who sits on the MTC board, said the growing requests for funds might impact the amount of money Muni receives.

“This could mean less money regionally for the SFMTA,” he said. “I don’t know how that’s going to go.”

No approval action will take place Wednesday, but the discussion will play a role in the MTC’s decision to recommend the funding allocation. The plan will come back for approval in June.

If the funding allocation is turned down, the SFMTA has said it will cancel plans for the program.

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Will Reisman

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