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SFMTA Board Delays Budget Vote to Refine Free Muni for Youth Proposal

The SFMTA Board of Directors postponed a vote on a two-year budget yesterday in order to refine a proposal to provide free Muni for all youth. The board seemed to favor the rest of the budget, including enforcing parking meters on Sunday afternoons.

The proposed budget would have included free Muni for low-income youth, but that measure failed after dozens of proponents argued that it should be expanded to include anyone under 17. The SFMTA estimates that doing so would cost about $9 million per year, roughly double the cost of the low-income-only proposal, which the agency has secured regional funds for. The board asked staff to return to the next meeting with a refined proposal that lays out a funding plan for an all-youth program.

Sunday parking metering saw opposition from religious institutions, but on the board the only skepticism came from Leona Bridges, who voiced concerns about car-owning residents who live above businesses with parking meters. SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin pointed out that those spots already aren't free for residents during business hours the rest of the week.

Sunday metering may also see little opposition from the Board of Supervisors. In an article in the SF Examiner this week, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd said that West Portal residents "should be ready for Sunday enforcement." At a recent SFMTA presentation to the Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee, members also voiced very little criticism for the proposal.

The budget will be up for approval again at the SFMTA Board's April 17 meeting. It must be adopted by May 1 before heading to the Board of Supervisors for final approval.

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