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Release date: 3/23/10

*** Press Release ***

Yesterday Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill X8 9 that will provide crucial funding to transit agencies around the state. This bill will direct an estimated $36 million in State Transit Assistance (STA) funding for this Fiscal Year (FY) and the next to the SFMTA. Another bill approved today, ABX8 6, will provide STA funding on an ongoing basis beginning in FY 2011-12 through a complicated gas tax swap.

“While Monday’s action by the Governor does not restore all of the revenue we have lost from the state in recent years, the funding will clearly help us provide more reliable transit service to our customers,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO. ”We thank the State Legislature and in particular State Senator Leland Yee, State Senator Mark Leno, Assemblywoman Fiona Ma and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano for their support.”

The transportation package includes an immediate appropriation of $400 million in STA funding statewide and a complicated gas tax swap that is projected to provide $350 million per year starting in FY 2011-12. In order to avoid a veto of the bills, today the Legislature passed Senate Bill 70, which amended provisions in ABX8 6 to clarify that the exemptions from current tax increases, such as aviation gasoline and dyed-diesel fuel, would continue to be exempt under the new tax increases.

According to estimates provided by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the SFMTA would receive $36 million from the $400 million STA appropriation for FY 09-10 and FY10-11 and $31.4 million in STA funding for FY 2011-12. The SFMTA has lost $179 million in STA funding over the last three years.

The $36 million for this fiscal year and next would likely be distributed in one lump sum. SFMTA staff is evaluating the impact of this potential funding on the current year budget. The SFMTA Board of Directors on February 26 made difficult decisions to raise revenues and reduce expenditures to bring the budget closer to balance, but some budgeted revenue sources such as $11.2 million in taxi medallion sales and $5 million in overtime reductions remain uncertain.

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