SaveMuni advises city to reject MTA budget

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May 4 2018

Mayor Farrell and Supervisors,

Save Muni urges the Board of Supervisors to take the unprecedented step of rejecting the MTA’s 2019-2020 budget and returning it to the MTA for adjustment.

We believe that staffing and budget increases for this one department are not warranted given the limits placed on other city department…

MTAs proposed staff increase of 277 comes on top of continuous increases over the past decade resulting in an agency with over 6,000 employees making it the second largest city department. We believe that the agency needs an independent management audit to look at the effectiveness of its current structure before considering additional staffing..

MTAs recent performance has been at best mediocre. The Agency has a history of poor project decisions and even poorer project management.

Traffic congestion continues to worsen and Muni ridership has failed to increase even with substantial population growth and robust economic activity. The budget needs more focus on transit service and emphasis on better coordination of road projects to facilitate transit movement.

We believe that a number of specific issues with respect to the budget need to be addressed:
1) Lack of adequate time for the public to review the budget. The budget book was not available until very shortly before the MTA Board hearing, which made considered review impossible.
There was no meaningful narrative about the budget changes. Expenditures were not linked to specific programs and staffing levels.
The use of operating reserves to balance the current budget is unsustainable and flies in the face of intelligent fiscal planning. Instead we urge the MTA to reduce current costs and to identify new sources of revenue.

By returning the MTA budget to the Agency for revision, the Board of Supervisors will send a powerful message that MTAs current way of doing business needs to change.

Save Muni urges the Board to send that message.

Sincerely,

Bob Feinbaum
Chair, Save Muni

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