June 3, 2014
Contact: Mario Tanev, Spokesperson, mtanev@sftru.org,  (415) 255-5550

Mayor Lee takes from Muni, gives to motorists

Transit riders are left behind by Mayor's “transit-last” policies


SAN FRANCISCO – Mayor Ed Lee gives away Sunday meters, fails to manage transit labor negotiations—stranding transit riders without warning—and pulls support for the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) which was to increase funding to Muni. Mayor Lee’s actions seem well on their way to amending the city charter to enforce a “transit last” policy.
"Somehow riders keep coming up at the short end of this stick,” said Daniel Sisson, SFTRU board member. "It is extremely difficult to see our city’s actions as anything but entirely hostile to the 700,000 transit riders each day. It’s a complete failure of leadership.”
Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Muni riders woke up to a system-wide meltdown over labor negotiations: yet another reminder of the long line of actions that continue to hold San Francisco transit riders hostage.
Muni is in a state of financial and operational crisis. The Mayor’s task force showed decades of underfunding, with a $6.3 billion shortfall through 2030, much of which is required to simply bring Muni up to where it should already be today.
Incredibly, instead of following the recommendations set out in his own task force, the mayor has opted to defund Muni in order to offer free Sunday meters and forego a vehicle license fee measure, which was expected to bring in up to $1 billion in revenue, slated for this fall.
“The mayor argued that getting rid of Sunday meters would help pass the VLF this fall,” said Bob Boden, SFTRU Chair. “Then he just pulled the VLF off the ballot. That’s called ‘bait and switch.’"
In a time when we should be rising to meet the demand for transit today, and the increasing demand for transit in the city’s future, Ed Lee refuses to prioritize Muni at every turn. 
"Muni’s own data shows that ridership has been increasing,” said Boden. "Rather than increasing service to meet this demand, Muni continues to experience cutbacks and a complete refusal to invest in the core service.”
We, the San Francisco Transit Riders, call on Ed Lee, the SFMTA board, and the Board of Supervisors to work tirelessly to put an end to this vicious cycle and follow our city charter: prioritize transit first. This begins by maintaining a commitment to funding and service by bringing back Sunday parking meters and the vehicle license fee measure. 
We deserve better than this. It’s time to stop the excuses and put words into action.
SFTRU is a rider-based organization advocating for a reliable, robust and 21st-century transit system for San Francisco. Visit SFTRU.org for more information. 
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San Francisco Transit Riders
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