Wednesday, March 16, 2011

City income from parking meters, parking tickets, parking lots: $180 million

As a candidate for mayor, Supervisor David Chiu at least stands forthrightly for something: He wants to be the candidate of the city's bike people. Unlike other city politicians who have filled that role---Gavin Newsom and Ross Mirkarimi come to mind---Chiu is a serious bike guy.

But this pitch to the bike people at Bike Nopa is a bit disingenuous:

The condition of city streets rounds out Chiu’s concerns for transportation policy. He said he looked forward to further consideration of a streets bond measure to secure funds to repair and maintain city streets. Several district supervisors initially backed a streets repair bond measure for the November 2009 ballot before determining that the recession and public sentiment made passage unlikely. City planners are now looking to November 2012 for a similar streets measure, although Chiu said it might appear in the current election cycle instead.

And I might ride in the Tour de France! Putting a bond measure on the ballot to repair city streets is not going to happen, and Chiu probably knows that [Later: Wrong! The bond is on the November ballot]. He mentioned this to Bike Nopa because he knows that the Bicycle Coalition and city cyclists in general are rightly concerned about the condition of city streets. To a motorist, a pothole is a nuisance and maybe a repair bill, but to a cyclist a pothole can mean serious injury.

Let's look at the numbers. How much does the city now extract from the city's motorists? The San Francisco Transportation Fact Sheet of November, 2010, provides the answer: for fiscal year 2009/2010 the city collected $180,015,984 from city drivers! Hard to believe that the city can't keep city streets paved with all that money.

A breakdown: parking meters, $38,868,351; from the city's parking lots, $37,515,348; from residential permits, $7,905,051; and from parking tickets, $95,727,234 for a total of $180,015,984.

And the city collects money from the DMV in vehicle license fees, though I don't know what that number is or where to find it.

My impression is that city drivers are already annoyed with the escalation by the city in handing out parking tickets. The idea that they would vote for a bond to fix city streets in light of the numbers above seems fanciful.

Where does all that money now go? As I explained the other day, a lot of it is going into the Rose Pak Central Subway to Chinatown and the new transbay terminal (where high-speed rail will never arrive or depart). The city also gets a pot of money from the Prop. K sales tax for transportation, a lot of which is also going into these projects. Why does Muni have a deficit with all this transportation money sloshing around?

Chiu does some more campaigning for the anti-car vote by endorsing the city's plan to screw up traffic on Masonic Avenue:

Chiu said his transit-first vision for the city includes a safer Masonic Avenue, and he strongly endorsed the Boulevard design developed by city planners with support from several neighborhood groups. “We should make Masonic one of the great streets of this city,” Chiu said. He recognized that “creative financing” will be required to pay for the traffic calming changes proposed for the corridor.

The aforementioned Prop. K money is administered by the SFCTA, whose board of governors is the Board of Supervisors. Prop. K money can't be used for Muni's operational expenses, but it can be used for almost everything else that has to do with transportation in the city, including paving city streets.

If you can find out from the SFCTA's website exactly how much the city gets every year in Prop. K sales taxes, you're a better man than I. But I did find this: $2.35 billion over a 30-year period in this document, which seems like enough to pay for both screwing up Masonic Avenue and paving our streets. In fact on page 16 we learn that paving the streets is part of Prop. K's mandate: "Repaving and reconstruction of city streets to prevent deterioration of the roadway system, based on an industry-standard pavement management system designed to inform cost effective roadway maintenance."

All of this tends to make city government in San Francisco look a lot like a conspiracy against its citizens and taxpayers. The idea that City Hall would ask city residents for more money to pave their streets is outrageous.

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At 8:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can do better. Let's make it an even 200 million!

At 9:32 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

That's exactly what Chiu---he's your man!---says on his idea-free, issue-free campaign website: "Now, I'm running for Mayor because I believe I can lead us in building a better San Francisco."

First he's going to screw up traffic on Masonic, then he's going to hire somewhat who knows how to use commas...

At 12:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and how much money does the City extract from bicyclists? Answer: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Despite their constant whining for more pavement, much of which they seem have have been given. For all of the whining about how so much of the city's real estate is given over to cars, there is never any acknowledgement that drivers and car owners pay for the privilege in a myriad of ways, and cyclists don't contribute a nickel.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger Mikesonn said...

"cyclists don't contribute a nickel."

Doesn't get more uninformed or ignorant than that. Cyclists pay property taxes (either through rent or actually writing the check). Local general fund taxes pay for road maintenance, not the gas tax which doesn't even come close to covering state and federal highway contributions.

Then add in the fact that cyclists put very very little wear and tear on the road (1/100 to 1/200 the weight of a car) and you have a situation where the car does exponentially more damage while barely paying more for the "privilege".

At 10:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...and how much money does the City extract from bicyclists?"

I contribute to the SFBC, which as we know is just an undercover arm of the City Government anyway.

At 12:29 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

You're attempt at irony falls flat when the facts show that the SFBC is an adjunct to City Hall. Bike to Work Day is performed by the SFBC under a contract with the city that costs city taxpayers $50,000 a year

And the Bicycle Coalition regularly gets other lucrative contracts from the city to promote its agenda.

And there's Critical Mass, which provides the SFPD with $10,000 in overtime every month to babysit those adorable scofflaws.

The SFBC operates a lot like a city agency, even though it's a special interest group with a radical agenda that's subsidized by city taxpayers.

At 4:43 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

By the way, one of the main points of the post is that the city has plenty of money to keep our streets well-paved but they're spending it on the ill-advised Central Subway and a bloated trans-bay terminal project.

Potholes are a much bigger danger to cyclists than they are to motorists.

At 11:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, and how much does the city spend on motorists?

At 9:15 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, I'll bite. How much?


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