Ford: Combine MTA and SFCTA?

SFCTAMTA Director Nat Ford proposed a new round of Muni reform to the Chronicle this week, suggesting that the SF County Transportation Authority, which administers the half cent sales tax most recently approved by voters in 2003 as well as doing countywide transportation planning, be merged into the Municipal Transportation Agency, to create a single entity that would oversee all transportation funding and operations in SF. This is the structure of the Valley Transportation Authority in Santa Clara County.

This is an interesting idea, not least because SFCTA and MTA have often found themselves conducting related but sometimes competing planning exercises (e.g. Geary and Van Ness BRT, Transit Effectiveness Project). However, it was considered and rejected by the authors of Proposition E, including current Supervisor Tom Ammiano and Mayor Newsom, in part because the state requires elected officials to serve on the board for a congestion management agency, and in part because of a desire to keep the Supervisors in charge of allocating tax revenue.

If this gains momentum we will certainly have specific recommendations. However, the SF voters just passed Muni re-reform last fall, so it’s not likely that another charter amendment (with associated State law changes) will get six votes at the Board so soon after. We’ll keep an eye on this.