Wiener elected to chair County Tranportation Authority

Supervisor Scott Wiener was elected Tuesday as the new chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

Authority commissioners, made up of the 11 San Francisco supervisors, voted Wiener in to replace Supervisor John Avalos as chair. Avalos had served as chair for two years.

Supervisor Malia Cohen nominated Wiener citing his work around transportation funding, reliability and regional work. Wiener represents The City on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and on the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District.

Supervisors David Campos and Eric Mar voted to keep Avalos as chair. Supervisor Jane Kim was absent for the vote.

The Transportation Authority, created in 1989, plans for longer-term transportation projects in San Francisco, working closely with the Municipal Transportation Agency. Many of those projects include the Van Ness and Geary Bus Rapid Transit Projects.

The authority’s commissioners decide on how to allocate funds requested by city agencies from The City’s half-cent transportation sales tax program — known as Proposition K — approved by voters in 2003. Its predecessor was the voter-approved 1989 Proposition B.

Commissioners approved to use some of the funds for the replacement of Muni’s trolley coaches and, most recently, the purchase of new light-rail vehicles.

The Transportation Authority also administers the Proposition AA $10 million annual vehicle registration fee and Transportation Fund for Clean Air. Funds from Prop. AA recently help funded street improvements on McAllister Street near the University of California Hastings College of Law.

Staff from the authority work on getting state and federal funding and work on longer-term transportation studies on different neighborhoods and corridors in The City.

Wiener said in a statement that San Francisco and the Bay Area are at transportation crossroads:

“Our city and region are growing and experiencing severe strains on our transit systems. We need to keep up by aggressively investing in the capacity and reliability of our transit systems and by making our streets safer.”

He said to accomplish the goals, The City needs to work with partner agencies in San Francisco and the in the region and to invest wisely in maintenance, safety and efficiency.

The authority is celebrating is 25th anniversary this year. Tilly Chang, appointed in 2013, serves as the executive director of the authority.

Chang told SFBay that she is excited to work with Wiener because of his bold vision and deep knowledge of transportation issues to the Transportation Authority:

“His transportation policy experience, including his tenure on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, will boost our regional collaborations and benefit our current efforts to increase transit infrastructure and pedestrian safety throughout The City.”