Public backs new vehicle fee 

The majority of San Francisco residents support an additional annual fee for their vehicles that would go toward transportation projects, according to a new poll.

A $10 vehicle license fee, which 62 percent of San Francisco residents supported in the new poll, is projected to raise $5 million annually. The funding would pay for street work, with an emphasis on San Francisco’s bicycle and transit networks, sidewalk improvements and upgrades to transit stations and stops.

A recently passed state law allows the congestion-management agency in counties to put additional vehicle license fees before voters.

A survey released by EMC Research, a private polling firm, indicated that 60 percent of the 510 San Francisco residents polled would support the $10 fee, with an additional 2 percent leaning toward supporting the measure.

That 62 percent total was essentially the same as a separate poll conducted in April, which found 66 percent in favor of the fee, and well above the 50 percent threshold needed for passage in November.

The vehicle license fee was by far the most popular of five potential revenue-generating measures headed for the ballot in November.

Nersi Boussina, a 39-year-old San Franciscan who owns a car, said he would support an increase to the vehicle license fee, although he was wary of the narrow scope of the funding.

“I would like to see the revenue go toward a more general fund,” Boussina said. “I think there are facets out there, particularly education, that need more funding than transit and infrastructure.”

The deadline to get the vehicle license fee on the November ballot is July 31, which would be met if the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which is governed by Board of Supervisors members, approves it today. Three Bay Area counties, including San Mateo, have already elected to put the measure before voters in November, and five other counties are considering it, according to TA documents.

A separate increase to vehicle license costs could come before voters in 2012. State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, is supporting legislation that would increase the vehicle license fee from 1.15 to 2 percent of the automobile’s value, with the revenue aimed at more-general purposes. Results from the EMC Research poll indicated that 50 percent would support that measure.


Results of poll on vehicle fee

Respondents’ reaction to $10 vehicle license fee:

60 percent: Yes

2 percent: Leaning toward yes

35 percent: No

1 percent: Leaning toward no

2 percent: Undecided

Source: EMC Research

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Will Reisman

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