Avalos ballot measure addresses Muni inequity

A proposed charter amendment to set aside $70 million to use for transportation needs in low-income neighborhoods could come to voters on the November 2014 ballot.

The amendment was introduced by Supervisor John Avalos who wants to use the funding to address disparities in Muni service for low-income and transit dependent areas in The City.

The money would be contingent on a vehicle license fee increase, which is also expected to be on the November 2014 ballot:

“The goal of the charter amendment is to work toward reducing social economic disparities as well as geographic disparities.”

Avalos said that despite the growth in The City, especially in the downtown core area, not everyone is benefiting:

“As this tremendous growth is happening, it is clear to many that we are not all sharing in this prosperity. Disparities are widening in the social fabric and many people are falling far behind.”

Avalos said city government should respond to these changes and promote equity including in The City’s transit system.

The amendment also includes requiring the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which oversees Muni, to provide performance metrics on service deficiencies in low-income and transit dependent neighborhoods.

It also includes limiting fare hikes and supports expanding the free Muni for low-income youth program.

Win Hoo Leung, president of the Community Tenants Association, a grassroots organization made up 1,000 low-income residents in The City, supports the amendment. He told SFBay that Muni is often unreliable:

“Muni riders often endure overcrowded buses, delays and long commute times almost everyday. If you come to Chinatown and take any Muni bus line during day I guarantee you there will definitely be an overcrowded bus.”

The amendment is backed by supervisors Eric Mar, David Campos and Jane Kim.

Supervisor Scott Wiener though said that problems with Muni service are just not concentrated in certain neighborhoods. He said we should have a transit system that’s reliable for everyone.

The amendment would need six votes from the board of supervisors in order to be placed on the ballot next year.