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MTA Budget Facing Likely Rejection from Board of Supervisors

4:51 PM PDT on May 4, 2009

IMG_2998.jpgBOS Prez David Chiu is concerned fares would rise while service is cut. Photo by Bryan Goebel.

Support appears to be growing at City Hall for Supervisor David Chiu's motion to reject the MTA's budget passed last Thursday. Very little has changed to satisfy Chiu, who remains deeply concerned about fare hikes, service cuts and work orders that are draining the MTA's budget.

"Given the levels of concern about raising fares and at the same time cutting services it just seems to be a lose-lose proposition," Chiu said in an interview late today. "I think it's tough to tell San Franciscans that we're going to make you pay more and see less and see our critical public transit system take a hit."

When asked if it's possible Sunday parking enforcement, along with evening enforcement, could be put back on the table to raise much-needed revenue, Chiu said it's possible "we may end up somewhere midway."

"We don't want to deter folks from coming into the city during the evening, particularly when that could mean more money to our restaurants and various establishments. On the other hand, I think, it is absolutely true that as a city we've got to figure out a way to pay for services related to cars on our streets and I think that there is a good public transit rationale for increasing parking [enforcement]."

The MTA Board, at the urging of the Mayor's office, and Supervisors Carmen Chu and Bevan Dufty, eliminated the Sunday and evening parking enforcement proposals, which would have raised an estimated $9 million. MTA Chair Tom Nolan told Streetsblog San Francisco today that it's possible the issue could come back, but he's not so sure because "more than a few supervisors" expressed concerns.

"The thing that’s happened over the last month is pretty much everyone’s told us what they don’t like. The problem is we’ve got to be able to patch something together. My goals for the budget were to preserve as much service as possible, to do everything we could to preserve bus service, and second to divide the cost as equitably as possible. It’s not perfect in either sense but it seemed like a reasonable thing. I’m still hopeful that the Board will approve it."

The motion to reject the MTA's budget will be considered this Wednesday at the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee meeting. Nolan said he will be in attendance, along with MTA Chief Nat Ford and CFO Sonali Bose. The issue will then go to the full Board, which has the power to reject the budget with a super majority of seven votes.

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