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Release date: SFMTA Joins Transit Agencies and Advocates in Sacramento to Question Diversion of State Transit Funding

*** Press Release ***

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

San FranciscoAt a press conference today in Sacramento, Nathaniel P. Ford, Sr., Executive Director/CEO of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), joined the California Transit Association (CTA) and other California transit agencies to question the drastic diversion of state funding away from public transportation outlined in Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May Revise. 

The May Revise proposes to fund total State Transit Assistance (STA) at the current year amount of $306 million, a reduction of $437 million from the funding January 2008 budget amount of $743 million.  Even this dramatic cut does not account for the total loss of funding to transit from the further diversion of excess gas tax revenues.

The SFMTA, which operates the Municipal Railway (Muni), is estimated to receive only $25 million in STA funding compared to the $62 million that was in the January 2008 budget.  As a result of this $37 million hit, the SFMTA estimates a $10 million shortfall in its 2008-09 operating budget, which will require additional revenue increases.  In addition, $27 million in major capital projects, including the Islais Creek Bus Maintenance Facility and planning and design of a critically-needed new Central Control Facility, will most likely have to be deferred.

Transit officials, including Ford, maintain that public transportation should be funded at the levels proposed in the January 2008 budget.

"Even with California’s massive deficit, scaling back the state’s support for public transportation makes no sense environmentally or economically,” said Ford.  “Every dollar spent on transit helps clean the air by getting people out of their cars, and with gas prices continuing to escalate we should be doing everything we can to encourage, not discourage, transit use.”

The May Revise proposes to spend more than $593 million from the Public Transportation Account to cover General Fund expenses associated with home to school transportation and yellow bus service.  This plan diverts funds that would otherwise flow to urban areas for public transit to rural and suburban areas that provide high levels of yellow bus service, which is not public transportation.  Muni provides significant numbers of supplemental trips for public schools and sells almost 20,000 passes for youth (ages 5-17) each month.

For additional information on public transportation and the state budget, visit the Web site of the CTA, the trade organization representing the state’s public transportation systems, at

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