Muni's Billion Dollar Problem

How to fix Muni's fiscal crisis
SPUR Report
January 18, 2006

Muni is in the midst of a financial crisis. For the last five years, San Francisco's transit agency has been able to patch over its structural deficit, primarily via a combination of one-time revenues, belt tightening, fare increases and service cuts. This year, an improving economy and more one-time windfalls may get Muni through another year, but these short-term solutions do not address the agency’s real long-term issue.

Bettering Muni is not a goal in and of itself, rather it is a means to an end: a more livable, sustainable, economically productive city for all San Franciscans. Finding the money and making the changes necessary to dramatically improve Muni will reduce congestion, enable economic growth, reduce pollution, promote social equity, increase public health and generally improve our quality of life. SPUR recommends a three-pronged approach to aggressively improve service, reduce costs and increase revenues.

About the Authors: 

This report was written by Jeremy Nelson and Jay Primus, both associate project managers at Nelson\Nygaard Consulting Associates, a San Francisco-based transportation consulting firm. It was reviewed, debated, and approved as SPUR policy by the SPUR Board of Directors on January 18, 2006. The authors would like to acknowledge the many people who contributed ideas and valuable feedback for this report.