Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Vote No on A in November

Muni at work
From the No on A folks:

VOTE NO ON A November 4, 2014 Election, SF 


Raising property taxes and rents, without legal language to commit funds only to Muni, is deceptive, especially when Prop A’s TEP (Transit Effectiveness Project) eliminates more Muni service in neighborhoods. 

1) Raises property taxes and rents, by a 50% pass-through with no exemption for rent controlled units, to pay for General Obligation Bonds of $500 million, with $500 million in interest, for a total debt of $1 billion—without accountability. 

2) Non-binding legal language in the Ordinance:

a) “May be allocated” spending language, unlike other state and local bond measures.

b) “May include but not limited to” legal language, unlike any contract or agreement. 

The City’s Ballot Simplification Committee acknowledges this failure to commit by noting “The City could use the funds for the following purposes,” rather than the usual “shall use.”

3) Lack of binding project definition gives a blank check to the SFMTA, allowing expenditures on roads, on non-Muni projects, on other projects’ cost overruns.

P. 3--5: The Ordinance’s legal language makes no commitment to any specific work: “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bond may include but are not limited to the following.” For eight project types “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” Everywhere else in the Ordinance “shall” is used. 

4) Prop A does not restore past Muni service cuts. Since 2006 Muni has eliminated bus routes, shortened bus lines, decreased frequency, decreased night service, worsened switchbacks, missed runs, late buses and decreased connectivity in every neighborhood. 

5) Prop A’s TEP cuts more Muni buses in neighborhoods, diverting service to “high-use” corridors and eliminating bus stops, hurting seniors, disabled, youth, and low-income families.

6) Oversight provisions are extremely weak, with a citizens’ committee merely empowered to conduct an annual after-the-fact review of spending and to report findings to the Mayor and Board. The committee has no say in the allocation of the funds. 

7) Prop A is silent as to who decides on projects that will be funded and on dollar amounts. 

8) Muni has already wasted billion of dollars. Muni service levels and ridership numbers have declined, while Muni budgets, staffing and salaries have soared. The only independent audit of Muni projects, by CGR Consultants in 2011, concluded that nearly all of Muni’s large capital projects have large cost overruns.

9) Prop A’s dollars can be taken by other projects’ cost overruns. Before voters give SFMTA more money, SFMTA must show that it can track its capital projects’ schedules and budgets, as well as avoid overruns. 

10) A Better Way! Reject this bond measure! From the surging City Budget ($8.6 billion this year), allocate General Fund dollars to Muni’s operating and maintenance budgets. Instead of new bond debt, utilize the $500 million savings in debt interest to implement 2003 Prop K’s transit-preferential streets---quicker and cheaper. Before unproductive debt, let’s reverse Prop A’s policy of Muni cuts in neighborhoods. Then SFMTA should work from a carefully-developed plan geared to solving San Francisco’s most critical transportation needs prior to new bonds. SFMTA should not be doling out $500 million haphazardly in response to pressure from politically-connected groups.

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At 8:42 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

I'm all about having a great transit system, one that actually works. But as the article says SFTMA's track record on actually spending the dollars on what they tell you they're going to spend it on is incredibly poor. We should be less interested in passing yet another bond when we can't pay the ones we already have on the books.

At 11:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm all about NOT having a great transit system. let MUNI collapse, forcing people onto bikes.


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