BOS Prez David Chiu, who voted not to reject: "It is time for us to move forward." Photo by Bryan Goebel.
The Board of Supervisors, for the second time
this month, voted 6-5 this afternoon against a motion to reject the MTA's $778 million budget. BOS Prez David Chiu and Sophie Maxwell were among those not supporting a rejection. The vote came despite Supervisor John Avalos' announcement that he had a commitment from MTA Chair Tom Nolan to come up with a different budget if supervisors rejected it.
Transit advocates, frustrated over the decision, said they are planning
to rally behind Avalos' proposed charter amendment to
reform the MTA Board, which is appointed by the Mayor. They felt a rejection of the budget was the only way to force a better plan, which they say is unfairly balanced, with riders taking a bigger hit than drivers.
But Chiu, who pointed out that he rides Muni more than any other supervisor and is the only member of the Board who doesn't own a car, said "we have come quite a ways" since the first MTA budget was proposed. He said the upcoming debate over the city budget is going to "make this debate look like child's play."
"In fact, as I've done the math, we've come about 30 million dollars from where the original budget was," said Chiu, who proposed the original rejection motion. "It is time for us to move forward."
Chiu's office said the $30 million he was referring to is a $15 million reduction in work orders, the $10.3 million worked out in a compromise, and $5 million in anticipated parking revenues, assuming the MTA moves forward with stronger parking enforcement.
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, in an interview after the vote, said he believed it was still possible to get the MTA to make more concessions because "a strong message has been sent," but said he is going to back Avalos' charter amendment, which could appear before voters as soon as November, assuming there are six votes on the Board to place it on the ballot. The amendment would see three members of the MTA Board appointed by the Board of Supervisors, three by the Mayor and one elected. Read more...