Contact: Eric Young, San Francisco County Transportation Authority
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco County Transportation Authority today joins transit agencies across the Bay Area and the nation calling on Congress to pass a comprehensive transportation bill with predictable, long-term funding for highways and public transit.
The U.S. Highway Trust Fund, which distributes money for transportation projects ranging from highways to rail cars, is nearly exhausted with the current federal transportation program set to expire on May 31.
The fund can help with myriad projects around the Bay Area, including BART’s plans to buy new trains and upgrade its systems to run more frequently; Muni’s and AC Transit’s plans to acquire new buses; and Caltrain’s plans to electrify its commuter service and reinforce bridges and structures. These projects are at risk if federal funding does not come through.
“We are sending a message to Congress that long-term, reliable funding is vital to our region’s and nation’s competitiveness,” said San Francisco County Transportation Authority Executive Director Tilly Chang. “Bay Area transit operators are planning and building their operations to keep a growing city and region moving. A consistent source of federal funds is critical to that effort.”
Chang said Bay Area communities are doing their part to fund transportation. One important source of local funding is San Francisco’s half-cent sales tax for transportation approved by voters in 2003. That fund, overseen by the Transportation Authority, has directed more than $1 billion toward transportation improvements in the last decade. San Francisco voters also passed a transportation bond and general fund measure to support Muni last fall. More local measures in coming years could provide additional investment.
But more money is needed. Without enhanced federal support, the Bay Area may experience more crowded buses and trains and see more conflicts on busy streets and highways.
“We need a renewed federal-local partnership in transportation. Congress must agree on a funding plan that will allow San Francisco and other cities striving for a sustainable future to thrive,” Chang said.
About the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (www.sfcta.org)
Created in 1989, the Transportation Authority spearheads long-range planning and allocates funding for transportation-related projects in San Francisco. The Transportation Authority administers the city’s Prop. K half-cent transportation sales tax, the Prop AA $10 annual vehicle registration fee program and the Transportation Fund for Clean Air. The Transportation Authority also serves as San Francisco’s Congestion Management Agency and is the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency. The Transportation Authority Board consists of the 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who act as Transportation Authority Commissioners. Commissioner Scott Wiener is Chair of the Board. Tilly Chang is the Transportation Authority’s Executive Director.