Authorizes the City and County of San Francisco to issue $400 million in general obligation bonds for certain transportation, street safety and transit-related capital improvements.
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What the Measure Would Do
The bond measure would provide funding for the following types of programs:
- Repairs, upgrades and maintenance of aging Muni bus yards, including upgrades that support transitioning to zero-emission buses.
- Modernization and enhancements to Muni service to make buses move faster, including smart traffic signals, dedicated transit lanes and a new train control system.
- Improvements to make streets safer for people to walk, ride bicycles and connect to Muni, with a focus on equity priority communities;1 these include improved traffic signals and street crossings, traffic-calming investments and speed-management programs to reduce injuries and deaths from crashes.
The funding programs proposed under Proposition A are based on the needs identified in previous city planning efforts like ConnectSF, the citywide transportation vision developed with extensive community involvement. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s 2020 State of Good Repair report,2 which informs the city’s capital planning process, outlined the types of necessary investment in transit infrastructure that are included in this bond measure.
Before the pandemic, Muni carried about 600,000 transit riders a day, including 254,000 low-income transit riders, serving more than half of the region’s low-income ridership.3 Currently, Muni ridership during weekdays is about half of what it was before the pandemic,4 but the system is still critical for moving around the city — especially for lower-income workers who rely on Muni for their commutes.
During the pandemic, funding available for transit declined steeply, resulting in an increase in Muni’s operating deficit. Some of Muni’s operating costs are rising, partly due to the inefficiencies of running and maintaining buses and trains with old infrastructure that has not been upgraded in decades.
San Francisco adopted a Vision Zero policy in 2014, with the goal of eliminating traffic-related injuries and deaths. Every year, more than 500 people are severely injured or killed while traveling on San Francisco’s streets.5 The 2021 Vision Zero SF Action Strategy prioritizes making crosswalks safer, reducing speed limits and building bike and transit lanes. Similarly, the city’s Climate Action Plan 20216 recommends strategies to make transit more reliable and efficient and to encourage more walking and biking. All of these actions will require additional funding beyond what is available now.
In 2014, 72% of voters approved a similar general obligation bond for $500 million, which has funded Muni’s transit infrastructure upgrades, pedestrian and accessibility improvements, complete streets program and traffic signal improvements.
This ballot measure was proposed by Mayor London Breed and approved unanimously for the ballot by the Board of Supervisors. As a bond measure, Prop. A requires a two-thirds majority to pass.
Future investments in Muni will benefit low-income people. Before the pandemic, the city’s public transit system served more than half of the region’s low-income transit riders. Under this measure, the SFMTA would prioritize its street improvements in neighborhoods with a higher share of people of color and low-income households, known as equity priority communities. Street safety improvements would also benefit people with disabilities or limited mobility.
Since this is a general obligation bond measure, the burden would be distributed evenly among existing property owners based on the assessed valuation of properties, making it a reasonably progressive funding source.
- Muni is central to San Francisco’s transportation system and the overall health and vitality of the city. Many San Francisco residents rely on Muni to get to work or school, shop and visit friends. Greater investment in the system would have widespread impacts, helping the city to function and thrive.
- The creation of local transportation funds would allow the SFMTA to leverage federal dollars for proposed capital upgrades, including the modernization of the Muni rail system.
- Investments from the bond would improve Muni’s reliability and efficiency, creating a better transit experience for all riders, especially low-income residents who depend on transit to move around the city and region. Investing in capital projects that improve efficiency and reliability would also help to address SFMTA’s operating deficits in the longer term.
- Because many of the neighborhoods that have the most dangerous streets are in equity priority communities, improved street safety would deliver a significant benefit to low-income residents and communities of color.
- SFMTA has not always completed projects from the 2014 general obligation bond quickly and cost-effectively.
Muni is a critical part of San Francisco’s transit infrastructure. Investing in public transportation provides benefits to everyone in San Francisco, not just transit riders, by reducing traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and injuries and deaths from crashes.
Many San Francisco transit facilities and much of the city’s infrastructure have been allowed to deteriorate over time, with inadequate funding for routine maintenance, repair, replacement and improvements. Investments from the Prop. A bond would improve Muni reliability and efficiency, creating a better transit experience that would increase ridership and help San Francisco reach its climate and equity goals.
The dollars generated from the bond measure would also fund improvements to streets to make them safer for pedestrians and people on bikes, especially in San Francisco’s equity priority communities — neighborhoods with a higher share of low-income residents and people of color.
1 This is the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s term for areas with higher percentages of households of color, low-income households, seniors and people with limited English proficiency. See MTA, “Equity Priority Communities,” https://mtc.ca.gov/planning/transportation/access-equity-mobility/equit….
2 San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, 2020 Annual State of Good Repair Report https://sfmta.com/sites/default/files/reports-and-documents/2021/09/202….
3 San Francisco County Transportation Authority, “Bay Area Transit Riders Map (Pre-COVID),” https://transit-riders.sfcta.org/.
4 Ricardo Cano, “These 7 Charts Explain How S.F. Muni Has Recovered Riders Since the Pandemic,” San Francisco Chronicle, February 5, 2022, https://www.sfchronicle.com/sf/article/These-7-charts-explain-how-S-F-M….
5 San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco Severe Traffic Injury Trends: 2011–2020, September 2021; Vision Zero Traffic Fatalities: 2020 End of Year Report, March 2021. http://visionzerosf.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Vision-Zero-2020-End….
6 SF Environment, Climate Action Plan 2021, 2021, https://sfenvironment.org/climateplan.