QUICK DATA: No on Prop A! Where have billions of dollars gone?


QUICK DATA SHEET – No On Proposition A
No on Transportation Bond, November 4, 2014 Ballot

$500 million bond measures are rare but Prop A squanders the opportunity.
SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) has already wasted billions of dollars while cutting Muni service in every neighborhood. Now Prop A incurs $1 billion in new debt (principal plus interest) with no legal commitment to Muni projects—cutting more buses in neighborhoods while raising property taxes and rents. If new bonds are rejected, property taxes and rents would decrease for everyone—not just for rich companies and the wealthy.

SFMTA annual budgets have increased but Muni riders get only service cuts.
Increased overhead, project cost overruns and mismanagement take money from the entire Muni system—causing Muni service cuts in every neighborhood. Vote No on A!

Budget Type 2010-2011 2014-2015
SFMTA Budgets $772,507,493 $945,195,950
SFMTA Overhead $55,522,397 $109,695,630
City Budgets $6,562,658,344 $8,581,831,811
Source: http://openbook.sfgov.org/

SFMTA has already wasted billions of dollars in additional funding.
Prop A perpetuates the bad projects, bad decision-making, cost overruns and mismanagement that have wasted billions of dollars given by taxpayers.

  • Prop E (1999) created the SFMTA (San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency) with more powers, more General Fund dollars and an 85% on-time performance mandate. Instead, Muni falsified on-time data and paid bonuses to its Director. Today, Muni’s current on-time compliance rate is only 60.6%.
  • Prop K (2003) extended the transportation sales tax and prioritized projects. The Central Subway’s listed cost of $647 million escalated to $1.6 billion. The citywide Transit-Preferential Streets Program and Bus Rapid Network were never implemented.
  • Prop A (2007) gave SFMTA more funding authority, revenue-bond-authority and even more General Fund dollars. Instead, work orders sent the new funds to other city departments.
  • Prop B (2011) provided a Road Repaving Bond of $248 million, with interest of $181 million, for a total debt of $429 million. Debt isn’t efficient for maintenance.
  • Central Subway: $1.6 billion cost includes $605 million in state/ local matching funds—taken from the rest of the Muni system. New cost overruns will take more state/ local dollars from the Muni system.
  • Increased budgets have been given to SFMTA by escalating annual budgets, federal/ state/ local funds, transportation taxes, fares/ fees/ fines/ citations/ overhead and more. But SFMTA has mismanaged the money.

Project cost overruns will continue to eat up SFMTA bonds and budgets.
The only independent audit of Muni projects, by CGR Consultants in 2011, concluded that nearly all Muni capital projects have large cost overruns. Projected Central Subway cost overruns will perpetuate the decline of maintenance and infrastructure. A Whistleblower’s Complaint, filed by the Central Subway’s Cost Engineer, alleges a cooking of the books and hidden cost overruns. AUDIT: See Pages 18-19:

Prop A does not restore past Muni service cuts.
Muni has cut service in every neighborhood, decreased annual vehicle revenue miles/ hours, eliminated 6 bus lines, shortened 22 routes, deferred maintenance, increased missed runs/ switchbacks/ late buses, increased fares/ fees/ fines/ meters (1,549,518 parking citations yearly)…. Muni has already cut cross-town routes, night service and route frequency, hurting the low-income, families, disabled, youth and seniors. … Eliminated bus lines will not be restored: Lines 4, 7, 15, 20, 26, 53, 89… Shortened bus routes will not be restored: Lines 1, 2, 10, 12, 16X, 18, 21, 29, 36, 38, 48, 67, 88, 91, 108…Vote No on A!

Prop A perpetuates Muni service cuts in neighborhoods.
Prop A’s Transit Effectiveness Project will perpetuate cuts of neighborhood Muni service in favor of “high-use” corridors—decreasing neighborhood buses, cutting frequency/ bus stops and shortening/ eliminating routes.

Prop A’s vague legal language means more diversion of funds.

  • Prop A’s Ordinance does not specifically say how funds are to be spent or what part of the funds will be allocated to vague descriptions of work. “May be allocated” instead of “shall be allocated” legal language.
  • Prop A’s Ordinance refers to the Mayor’s Transportation Task Force—but the Report’s funding plan allocates only 49% of funds to Muni (if not diverted elsewhere).
  • Prop A’s Ordinance refers to the Transit Effectiveness Project, which diverts neighborhood Muni service to “high-use” corridors—dismantling transit neighborhood networks.
  • Prop A’s funds can be diverted to non-Muni projects and other projects’ cost overruns—like the Central Subway, which itself has already taken $605 million of state/ local dollars from the Muni system.


P. 3-5: The Ordinance’s legal language makes no commitment to any specific work: “Projects to be funded under the proposed Bond may include but are not limited to the following:”For eight project types: “A portion of the Bond may be allocated to…” Everywhere else in the Ordinance, “shall” is used.

Smarter use of existing and future funds!
Reject this bond measure! From the surging City Budget ($8.6 billion this year), allocate General Fund dollars to Muni’s operating and maintenance budgets. Instead of new bond debt, utilize the $500 million savings in debt interest, to implement 2003 Prop K’s transit-preferential streets—quicker and cheaper. Before unproductive debt, let’s reverse Prop A’s policy of Muni cuts in neighborhoods. Then, SFMTA should work from a carefully-developed plan, prioritized to solve San Francisco’s most critical transportation needs—prior to new bonds. SFMTA should not be doling out $500 million haphazardly to politically-connected groups and to hide mistakes of the past. Vote No on A!

Muni has fewer riders now than it did a decade ago – the only major transit agency to lose customers among the nation’s top six transit districts. San Francisco’s modal trip shares are 20 percent by transit, 24 percent by walking, 3 percent by bicycle and 53 percent by automobile. By dismantling Muni’s neighborhood networks, Prop A further encourages driving—then SFMTA penalizes drivers with more citations/ fees/ fines/ parking elimination. To move San Francisco towards the 60% transit trip shares of the world’s top transit agencies, an integrated citywide Muni system is needed. Vote No on A!

Implementation of Zurich’s Transit Priority Program:
“Zurich is famous for the quality of its public transportation system and it has one of the highest levels of per capita transit ridership in the world. This is because its transit service is fast, frequent, reliable and inexpensive due in large part to its transit priority program.”

ENDORSEMENTS: Coalition for San Francisco Neighborhoods (45 neighborhood organizations), San Francisco Tomorrow, Chinese American Democratic Club, Irish American Democratic Club, District 3 Democratic Club, District 11 Democratic Club, San Francisco Green Party, San Francisco Republican Party, Log Cabin Republicans of San Francisco, Libertarian Party of San Francisco, San Francisco Taxpayers Association, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund (TRANSDEF), SaveMuniSF, A Better Chinatown Tomorrow (ABCT), Save North Beach Village, North Beach Tenants Committee, Eastern Neighborhoods United Front (ENUF), Judge Quentin L. Kopp (Ret., Chairman, California Senate Transportation Committee), Bruce Oka (Former SFMTA Board of Directors)…….
Vote No On A! www.NoOnTransportationBond2014.com For assistance: wongaia
Howard Wong, AIA, SaveMuniSF

Future Shock: Too much too soon


Alvin Toffler introduced us to the concept of Future Shock in a book with that Title in 1970. We are experiencing first hand what the author warned us of when he wrote, “Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”

If that doesn’t describe 2014 San Francisco I don’t know what does. We are all reeling from too much too soon. We are being subjected to too much news, too much data, too many bills, too many homeless living on our streets, too many choices, too many social engagements, and too many rules and regulations that are infringing on our lifestyles. We are stressed beyond the breaking point coping with the too much too fast syndrome. The one thing we lack is time.

Too much traffic leads the list of frustrations. We can’t do much about diseases and wars, or the cost of gas or who gets nominated to run for President of the United States, but we can do something about the disaster we are experiencing on our streets.

We can vote No on A and B and Yes on L to send a strong message to city authorities that we have no faith in SFMTA’s current lineup of directors and staff and we are ready to take back control of our streets.

We blame the SFMTA for everything that is wrong with parking, traffic and the public transit system. The SFMTA assumed total control for management of the streets, so they own all the problems and the blame associated with their system. Their failure to serve the public what the public needs and wants is coming to bite them. San Francisco residents do not trust them to make good decisions, or to fix any of the problems they are blamed for creating.

The SFMTA has failed. The change we need is a change in leadership and priorities. SFMTA needs to get us where we need to go, not tell us how to get there.

Demand relief. Vote No on A and B (No more money without accountability) and Yes on L: Restore Transportation Balance.

The Case Against Prop A

Prepared by Save Muni – savemuni.com

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: http://noontransportationbond2014.com

Prepared  SaveMuni

Download flyer: http://sfenuf.net/Media/NoOnA.pdf