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Release date: 3/4/10

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which operates Muni, applauded today’s approval by the California State Legislature of ABX8 9, which could provide crucial funding to transit agencies around the state. If approved by Governor Schwarzenegger, this bill would 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, would provide STA funding on an ongoing basis beginning in FY 2011-12 through a complicated gas tax swap.

“For once, this looks like good news from Sacramento but now we need the Governor's support to make it real,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Reliable transit service is crucial to local economies and a better environment for our state.”

“While today’s vote does not restore all of the revenue we have lost from the state in recent years, the funding would 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. 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 over the next five quarters, meaning that the SFMTA could receive $7.2 million this fiscal year and $28.8 million in FY 10-11. 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.

The Governor, who has 12 days to act on these measures, retains the ability to line item veto, or “blue pencil,” the appropriation of the $400 million included in the package. The SFMTA is actively working to seek support for his approval of the entire transportation package.

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