Vehicle fee could bring in $5M for street projects 

San Francisco residents will vote in November on adopting a $10 vehicle registration fee, a measure that’s projected to generate $5 million annually for improvements to transit operations, street conditions and pedestrian networks.

The measure made its way to the Nov. 2 ballot after being approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday in an 8-3 vote, while members acted in their dual role as directors of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the agency in charge of administrating The City's transportation tax.

“The San Francisco Transportation Authority has moved on a rare opportunity to help fix our crumbling infrastructure by placing a ‘baby’ vehicle license fee on the ballot,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, who chairs the TA.

Tuesday’s approval came after a poll backed by the agency showed voter support for the vehicle license fee at 62 percent, well above the 50 percent threshold needed for the measure to pass.

That poll compared voter reaction to the vehicle license fee with several other tax measures potentially headed for the November ballot. Critics of the poll, notably board President David Chiu, said language regarding the vehicle license fee was biased in favor of the measure, and other tax proposals were given improper wording.

While the $5 million generated annually by the fee is comparably small to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s $750 million budget, TA staff members have said it would be useful in leveraging additional money from state and federal sources for long-term projects.

Chiu, along with supervisors Eric Mar and John Avalos, voted against the measure.

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Will Reisman

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