Funding San Francisco's Transportation future

Market St multi-modal

The Transportation Funding Gap

Building, maintaining, operating, improving, and expanding a transportation system often relies on a mix of revenues from a variety of sources. In San Francisco, as in the rest of the Bay Area, local revenue sources are a substantial piece of the overall funding picture and are often matched with other federal, state, or regional dollars to maximize their impact and help fully fund projects.

San Francisco's Transportation Task Force 2045 recently identified a $22 billion funding gap for San Francisco's transportation systems from 2019-2045, a gap that will require multiple funding sources to help close.

Local and state officials have proposed strategies to address this funding gap at the state, regional, and local levels.

  • Regional Measure 3: Regional Measure 3 would increase bridge tolls on the Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges (all toll-bridges except the Golden Gate bridge) to fund transportation improvement projects in and around the bridge corridors. Residents in the nine Bay Area counties will get to vote on this in the June 2018 election.
  • Senate Bill 1: This landmark transportation funding package generates more than $5 billion per year to increase funding for repairing local streets and roads, maintaining and rehabilitating the State Highway System, and delivering multimodal improvements along the State's most congested trade and commute corridors. On the June 2018 ballot, California Proposition 69 will give voters across the state the opportunity to ensure that revenue enacted by Senate Bill 1 will be spent on important transportation improvements and can’t be diverted by the State to other uses.
  • Future local transportation measure (TBD): In 2017, Transportation Authority Chair Aaron Peskin collaborated with former Mayor Edwin M. Lee to convene the 60-person Transportation Task Force 2045, comprised of neighborhood and civic groups, labor, business, and advocacy organizations, as well as local and regional transportation agencies. The task force examined revenue and expenditure options, focusing on a potential local transportation revenue measure in 2018.

The Need To Fill The Transportation Funding Gap

San Francisco's economy has been booming since 2010, with tremendous residential and employment growth:

  • A total of 63,600 housing units are in the development pipeline as of 2017.
  • Between 2010 and 2014, San Francisco gained 120,000 new jobs, and tourism hitrecord-breaking highs-a trend that is projected to continue.
  • By 2040, San Francisco is forecasted to add an additional 73,400 housing units to accommodate the city's growing population. The city will also add 275,000 jobs, many of which will be in new office space, maintaining San Francisco's position as the major jobs center of the region.

All of this growth is putting strain on the city's transportation system, as more trips are being made across all modes.

San Francisco's transportation system is intrinsically linked to quality of life in the city.

Economic competitiveness requires a high level of mobility and accessibility, including reliable and affordable transit. All modes of travel - walking, biking, driving, and taking transit - rely on smooth and safely designed roads. Current capacity issues must be addressed, and improvements must be made to keep pace with the city's rapidly growing population and job market.

Safe neighborhoods require dependable transit access, at all times of day, and quality walking and biking infrastructure.

A healthy environment requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, which can be achieved through strategies that reduce vehicle miles traveled. It is essential that San Francisco meet these transportation challenges to improve the overall livability and affordability of the city.

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Photo via via Sergio Ruiz, Flickr commons.