Connecting Some Dots on the Latest “News” About MUNI’s Funding….

By now, plenty have weighed in on this morning’s Chronicle article, detailing the derailing of the much-vaunted Transit Effectiveness Project by bad economic times, and the resulting shockwaves in government budgets. None of this is really new to us at the N Judah Chronicles…we’ve been talking for a while about the long term effects of the Governor and the Democratic Legislature’s almost mythic devotion to cutting transit funds for the last few years, and about bad budgeting in the past on the local level. All of these are made much worse, since now, when times are really bad, we’re looking at a catastrophic situation for MUNI.
Even worse, jacking up fares won’t even come close to fixing these cuts, particularly those made by the State, who took taxpayer money that was designated for transit and road projects only and decided to spend it on something else. And despite 7 1/2 hours of policy talk, including this super happy rah rah piece on The YouTube, the Mayor never once even acknowledges the myriad of cuts, or talks about how he plans on funding any of this.
To be fair, if the Governor and the Democratic legislature decide to gut all transit funding, the Mayor can’t stop ’em. But he and his friends at the Board and the MTA are going to have to figure out a new, more stable way to pay for the costs of the system, independent of the state’s whims. It’s unfortunate that Sacramento feels a need to take our money, then not even bother to spend it the way they promised, all so they can feel good about themselves.
It is difficult to not be cynical when we read about expensive SUV’s for the Mayor, a fleet of expensive new cars for lawmakers right when we can least afford it. It’s lovely that some Greenpeace types held some 60s esque rally to ‘save the planet’, but wouldn’t be nice if we could get 300 people to do something more constructive to clean up our act here at home, instead of telling everyone else what to do all the time?
The whole thing is just depressing, especially after attending last week’s MUNI Town Hall Meeting, where people took the time to express concerns to MUNI, and MUNI’s leadership, to their credit, tried to listen. All of the great ideas in the world mean squat, however, if in the end we aren’t allowed to control our own destiny locally and be able to figure out a way to pay for an efficient, well-run way to get around town.
There simply is not enough room, not enough roads, and not enough parking for every single San Francisco resident to drive alone (not to mention all the people who need to come to San Francisco from outside our city limits). It would be nice if that were possible, but laws of physics say otherwise. A well-run MUNI benefits those who require a car or truck, as they can get around easier, while those that do not can go about their business, sans MUNI drama.
For now, I’m hoping that perhaps something might game-change the situation, but if things get to the point where we become a city that tut-tuts the rest of the world on All Things Green, yet can’t seem to figure out how to pay for and run a real transit system, count me out. Buzzword laden rhetoric makes everyone feel good, but it doesn’t help us live our lives any better one bit.
I did a little bit of research following the MUNI Town Hall Meeting, and will post something tomorrow on that event, sorry for the delay, but the Day Job has to take priority if push comes to shove here!

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One Response to Connecting Some Dots on the Latest “News” About MUNI’s Funding….

  1. Rob Anderson says:

    And then there’s the ten people working full-time on bike projects in MTA, whose salaries could support more Muni drivers.

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