Eric Young, SFCTA, 415-306-4509 cell; email@example.com
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority announced that proceeds from its first-ever capital bond have been completely disbursed within the originally scheduled timeframe, supporting faster project delivery citywide.
“I am delighted that the Transportation Authority has cost-effectively leveraged its financial capacity to advance significant sales tax projects for the benefit of sponsoring agencies and the traveling public,” said Transportation Authority Board Chair and District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.
The Transportation Authority sold its first-ever long-term bond in 2017, raising $248.25 million to meet the cash needs of various significant transportation projects funded by the local half-cent transportation sales tax program. Since then, the Transportation Authority has overseen a total disbursement of $253.83 million in bond proceeds, plus interest earned, to support projects such as:
- Muni bus and light rail vehicle purchases ($95 million)
- Muni Central Control and communications systems ($41.5 million)
- New and upgraded traffic signals ($15 million)
- Central Subway ($14.7 million)
- Salesforce Transit Center ($8.7 million)
- Caltrain electrification ($6 million)
- Muni Escalators ($2.7 million)
Approximately $46 million in bond proceeds was used to refinance the agency's prior short-term debt.
As San Francisco’s transportation sales tax administrator, the Transportation Authority typically disburses funds for projects on an ongoing basis from its half-cent sales tax revenues. However, in 2017, the agency issued its first long-term bond to meet the higher cash needs of transit providers and other agencies, particularly the SFMTA for its Muni system. If the Transportation Authority waited to have all cash on hand before allocating funds, in some cases projects would have had to wait years longer to get started.
“Our ability to finance helped Muni to accelerate its next-generation bus and light rail fleet and addressed other long-standing maintenance needs,” said Tilly Chang, Executive Director of the Transportation Authority. “That is especially important as the city seeks to improve service quality and raise the reliability of the system across the city.”
The Transportation Authority administers San Francisco’s half-cent transportation sales tax, allocating more than $1.9 billion to voter-approved projects large and small since passage of the current measure, known as Prop K, in 2003.
Prior to the pandemic, the sales tax program generated about $110 million per year to help fund transportation sales tax program projects like the Presidio Parkway, Central Subway, Caltrain electrification and Salesforce Transit Center. Half-cent sales tax funds also support neighborhood-scale improvements like pedestrian crosswalks, bicycle facilities, transit infrastructure, signal systems and street resurfacing.
Following a decline in sales tax revenues during the past year, sales tax receipts are showing an upswing, with March 2021 figures rising to $8.4 million, a monthly average that is consistent with the agency’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget.
The Transportation Authority has a strong credit rating with Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings. In July 2020, Fitch affirmed the AAA rating of the Transportation Authority's sales tax revenue bonds, its highest, and the Transportation Authority continues to hold the AA+ rating with S&P.
About the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (sfcta.org)
The San Francisco County Transportation Authority’s mission is to make travel safer, healthier, and easier for all. We plan, fund, and deliver local and regional projects to improve travel choices for residents, commuters, and visitors throughout the city. The Transportation Authority Board consists of the 11 members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who act as Transportation Authority Board Members. Board Member Rafael Mandelman is Chair of the Board. Tilly Chang is the Transportation Authority’s Executive Director.