Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Double Negative: The Board of Supervisors Votes Not to Not OK the MTA Budget

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted this afternoon not to reject the MTA's 2009-2010 budget. Supervisors John Avalos and David Compos spoke at length against acceptance  of the budget - Avalos with a passion that Chris Daly (see photo) found entertaining - but, in the end, the opposition didn't have the votes.

It takes seven votes of the Board to overturn the MTA's budget and only Five Supervisors - Avalos, Compos, Daly, Mirkarimi and Mar - raised their voice votes against accepting it. Supervisors Alioto-Pier, Chiu, Chu, Duffy, Elsbend and Maxwell voted not to reject it.

President of the Board, David Chiu, had the final words. He said that San Francisco was a city with public transportation at it's heart.  He expressed concern about a raise in fares working a hardship on the poor. He thought that the "burden" of funding MUNI should "not fall only on the backs" of the those who used public transportation but on the public at large.

No mention was made of the $15 million alloted for the Taxi Medallion Program so it will be part of the budget. 

There is considerable confusion about what this means. Some people think that it's a "reserve" but I don't think that that is the case. The money has been alloted. What it has been alloted for is vague. The money could be raised by:
  • Issuing 100 new medallions. 
  • From transfer fees for auctioning off existing taxi medallions.
  • By charging medallion holders fees to fund medical and other benefits ala Chiu and now Daly.
The final budget doesn't call for a specific plan but it does put the money in the budget.

The confusion comes in because the $15 million would not be used unless the MTA comes up with specific plan to use the money. The MTA has a "contingency" plan to wipe the $15 million off their budget if they fail to come up with such a plan.

But ... coming up with A Plan is what Chris Hayashi's Town Hall Meeting are for.

In short -  by hook or by crook, one way or another, the City intends to use our backs to carry a huge burden in the funding of Muni.

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