Governor signs gas tax bill, state aid likely to increase for SFMTA

March 23rd, 2010

$4 GasolineAt last some good news from Sacramento (besides the frequent and comfortable Capitol Corridor service): Gov. Schwarzenegger has signed the bill to restore some state transportation funding, including aid to mass transit, from the sales tax on gasoline. This should allow Muni to restore some service cuts and delay others – $36 million is due immediately and another $31 million is expected for the next fiscal year.

While this removes some of the urgency for SFMTA fiscal reform, it does not solve the problem of its structural deficit. We continue to urge passage of the Elsbernd Amendment that would remove the Charter imposed wage floor for operators, allowing the SFMTA to bargain for wages and work rules with the TWU as they do with all other unions.

Why we support the Elsbernd Amendment

March 16th, 2010

SFMTAIf Rescue Muni stands for anything, it stands for putting the interests of Muni riders first, ahead of ideological canards, ahead of entrenched interests, and ahead of the instincts of people—so numerous in this supposedly “progressive” city—who resist change just because change rubs them the wrong way. We believe our value is in our singular focus on making Muni better, a mission we follow wherever it leads, even when it annoys people on the right or the left, or anywhere in between. This, above all, is what Rescue Muni is for.

Right now, Muni operator pay is set by a formula: it can’t be any lower than the average of the two highest-paying transit systems in the US. Before Proposition A (2007), which we supported, the rule was it couldn’t be any higher than the average of the top two. The theory was that, by making it a floor instead of a ceiling, Muni could offer higher pay in exchange for less restrictive work rules. That was an interesting idea, but it didn’t work that way in the real world. Unions didn’t take the deal, and nothing changed – operators got higher pay by the formula, without any change in work rules.

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MTA Town Hall on Budget Deficit Today and Saturday 3/20

March 10th, 2010

SFMTAConcerned about the budget deficit and even further service cuts? Attend the SFMTA’s town hall meeting today at 6 pm at 1 South Van Ness or on Saturday, March 20 at 10 am. Nearby transit service includes Muni Metro (Van Ness station), F, 6, 47, 49, and 71. Tell the MTA to extend parking meter hours and address escalating costs before cutting service!

Chronicle: No more free transfers?

March 2nd, 2010

The SFMTA isn’t finished in it’s quest to close its upcoming $100m budget deficit. On the table is a $0.50 fee to transfer between transit vehicles, a move that would generate $7.5m per year. Another, more pricey option, is to eliminate transfers completely, which would generate $20m per year.

Update: The MTA Board rejected this proposal today.

Mad as a March hare?

March 1st, 2010

Rider Alert 1In the wake of the MTA’s approval of a 10% service cut and Fast Pass increases over our protest (and that of many others) last Friday, at least two and possibly three protests appear to have been scheduled today – for the same time and place, 5 pm at Powell and Market. At a minimum there will be a gathering of the March Against Muni group, which is organizing a boycott of the system and/or a fare strike and demanding cuts in “excessive pay”, and also the International ANSWER led rally discussed in Beyond Chron. There may also be a union-led event there as well.

Rescue Muni is not participating in or sponsoring any of these events, but we thought you should be informed, if only so you can take the subway through the area. (Why? We don’t want to march against Muni – we want it to get the support, and more importantly the funding, it needs. And we don’t endorse the divisive behavior and irrational demands of ANSWER, which is best known for anti-war protests and has little to no transit knowledge.)

Update: Here’s what happened.