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Muni set to vote on raising fares, parking fees

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  • 2/26 SF Chronicle
    Published Sturday, February 26, 2005, in the San Francisco Chronicle Muni set to vote on raising fares, parking fees By Charlie Goodyear A 25-cent fare
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 27, 2005
      Published Sturday, February 26, 2005, in the San Francisco Chronicle

      Muni set to vote on raising fares, parking fees

      By Charlie Goodyear

      A 25-cent fare increase, higher parking rates and fines and changes in
      transit service will be on the table Monday as San Francisco's
      Municipal Railway tries to decide how to close a $57 million deficit.

      [BATN: <http://www.sfmuni.com/cms/brd/mta/SFMuniMTAFebruary282005SpecialMeetingagenda.htm>]

      Muni officials detailed the latest plan to balance the transit
      agency's budget Friday, including a proposal to use $10 million from a
      preventative maintenance fund.

      The Muni's Board of Directors must submit a balanced budget by Tuesday
      for the fiscal year beginning in July. On Monday, the board will
      consider proposals that have drawn angry protests from riders and
      employees, including a fare increase.

      The board will consider increasing the base fare to $1.50 from $1.25,
      the second such hike since 2003. Discounted fares would be raised to
      50 cents from 35 cents, the first increase in that category in 13
      years. Overall, the fare increases would generate $13 million.

      The prices for monthly fast passes and discounted passes would rise to
      $50 from $45, and to $12 from $10, respectively.

      Rates for parking meters would rise by $1 an hour, parking-ticket
      fines would jump $10, and garage parking would cost 50 cents to a
      dollar more per hour as part of a plan to bring in an additional $21
      million.

      Changes in Muni service -- most likely in the form of increasing the
      amount of waiting time between buses, trains and trolleys -- would
      bring in an additional $13.5 million. Muni spokeswoman Maggie Lynch
      said details of service changes were still being worked out.

      To close the rest of the budget gap, Muni is proposing to shift $10
      million from a maintenance fund and delay the purchase of new
      vehicles. Lynch said the move would not affect maintenance of
      vehicles now in service.

      "We're trying to share the solution so that there isn't a single area
      where people are going to be suffering more than someone else," she
      said.

      If approved, the proposed changes could go into effect by September.

      Andrew Sullivan, head of transit watchdog Rescue Muni, said the agency
      needs a balanced response to its fiscal crisis.

      "Clearly, they have to pass a balanced budget," he said. "But I would
      strongly prefer that the money proposed to come from preventative
      maintenance come from higher parking fees. It makes more sense to get
      that money from auto drivers than from preventative maintenance."

      Muni chief Michael Burns has blamed the deficit on higher fuel costs
      and the rising cost of health and retirement benefits for Muni
      employees. Members of the Board of Supervisors have proposed a number
      of measures to help fund the Muni in the future, including a downtown
      assessment district and toll charges for drivers in the most congested
      parts of the city.

      Burns has also expressed interest in a sales tax that could bring more
      than $30 million to the agency. The tax would require voter approval.

      The Muni board meets Monday at 2 p.m. in Room 250 at City Hall. If
      approved, the transit agency's budget would be reviewed by the Board
      of Supervisors, which must either accept or reject the entire spending
      plan.


      E-mail Charlie Goodyear at cgoodyear@...
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