The Case Against Prop A

Prepared by Save Muni –

Proposition A, a $500 million General Obligation transportation bond issue, will be on
the November 4th San Francisco ballot. The cost of Prop A including interest
payments would exceed $1 billion. This huge bond measure should be rejected.
Here’s why:

It Imposes a Large Tax Burden on San Francisco
taxpayers: Prop. A could result in significant hikes of property taxes and rents.

It Provides No Effective Oversight: There is no indication
in the Prop A Ordinance of who would be running the program or who would be
assuring effective oversight. Neither management nor oversight is defined.

Weasel Words: Unlike most bond issues, Proposition A does not allocate
dollar amounts to identified projects. Instead, the measure lists every transportation
category imaginable and then tells us that the projects “may include but are not
limited to the following….”. This language gives the SFMTA a virtual blank check.

Has the SFMTA Earned such Trust?

Throwing billions of dollars at this agency hasn’t worked in the past. Why should
things be any better this time?
In 1999 Prop E called for the SFMTA to keep its buses and trains on schedule at least
85% of the time. Today’s compliance rate is 60.6%. Despite the SFMTA’s sky high
annual budget ($978 million in 2013), Muni service has deteriorated. Since 2006, the
SFMTA has eliminated or reduced cross-town runs, slashed neighborhood and night
time service, eliminated 7 bus lines, shortened 22 lines and deferred vehicle
maintenance. If Prop A passes, its “Transit Effectiveness Program” (TEP) would make
additional cuts to pay for new service in selected “high-use” corridors.

SFMTA’s Cost-Control System is in shambles:
This is nothing new. In 2011 the SF Supervisors’ CRG Report concluded that the
SFMTA has been historically unable to meet its capital budgets. The cost of the
Central Subway has already soared from $647 million in November, 2003, to $1.6
billion today. According to a courageous whistle-blower and the Fed’s Oversight
Consultant, the SFMTA’s cost control system remains in disarray and its Central
Subway is headed for a major, as yet undisclosed additional overrun.

Slapped Together by Amateurs: Prop A’s “plan” is not a plan
at all. Instead of putting the most important things first, Prop A’s promoters promise to
spread funds around in response to the clamor of assorted special interest and
benefiting groups. Virtually no attention has been paid to:

  • bringing Muni service and vehicle maintenance up to standard
  • dealing with SF’s anticipated growth and the resulting strains on Muni
  • easing the peak period crush in the Market Street subway
  • putting SFMTA’s financial house in order
  • proceeding based upon an integrated citywide transportation program

A Better Way: San Francisco should tackle its serious transportation
problems seriously. $500 million in new transportation capital, if allocated prudently
and spent effectively, could result in many significant improvements. Before
launching a huge new spending program, let’s get it right. Vote No on Prop A. Tell
City Government to get its priorities straight and come back with a plan that works.
For more information, see:

Prepared  SaveMuni

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1 thought on “The Case Against Prop A

  1. I voice my agreement. MUNI & SFMTA are completely out of control, and throwing more money at them amounts to throwing it down a rat-hole. There is no accountability there, and a system where there is no real accountability is synonymous with failure. Replace MUNI & SFMTA’s “Management” with competent leaders with a mandate to clean house and the power to hire & fire. Nothing else will work. DO NOT throw more money down this rat-hole.


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