SFMTA identifies $24 billion in long-term project needs 

Capital needs: San Francisco needs to spend $1.8 billion over 20 years just to maintain its overhead wire system, one of many expenses. - SF EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • SF Examiner file photo
  • Capital needs: San Francisco needs to spend $1.8 billion over 20 years just to maintain its overhead wire system, one of many expenses.

Never mind plans for big transit improvements — just keeping San Francisco’s transportation infrastructure in a state of good health will be a titanic challenge for The City.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, has identified $24 billion worth of needs for its capital program, which covers long-term planning projects such as the Central Subway and bus rapid-transit networks. Simply maintaining its current transportation assets — such as buses, railways, and storage facilities — in a state of good repair will require $10 billion over the next 20 years.

The $24 billion represents a needs-assessment of the agency’s major projects and will determine how the SFMTA prioritizes its long-term plans, said spokesman Paul Rose. In the next few months, the SFMTA will detail how much funding it has secured for its capital program and how much more it needs for necessary improvements, he said. At that point, the agency will release its capital program shortfall and potential funding sources to address the deficit.

Funding for capital plans typically comes from state and federal programs.

Of the $24 billion the agency has identified in capital program needs, the overwhelming majority — $20 billion — is related to transit operations. To maintain its overhead wire system, which powers its bus and rail fleet, the agency needs to spend $1.8 billion over the next 20 years, according to agency documents. Keeping transit stations up to spec will require $1.2 billion, and bus replacement and maintenance programs will need $1.7 billion over that same time period.

According to a 2010 report, the agency needs to spend $455 million a year to keep its transit operations in a state of good repair.

The agency’s funding problems are not limited to its capital program. The agency’s operating budget — which covers day-to-day service needs — is facing a two-year shortfall of $80 million.

Keeping SF transit fit

The SFMTA has identified $24 billion in needs for its capital program, including $10 billion just to keep its current assets in a state of good repair. Some notable programs, and the funding they require over the next 20 years to stay in good repair:

Overhead lines: $1.8 billion
Stations: $1.2 billion
Motor-coach vehicles: $1.1 billion
Facilities: $994 million
Light-rail vehicles: $987 million
Trolley-coach vehicles: $636 million

Source: SFMTA

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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