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City leaders begin pitch for transit measures

San Francisco voters will soon be getting an earful over three separate transportation ballot measures expected on the November ballot.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and Department of Public Works will co-host community meetings to start gathering support for ballot measures that could fund transportation capital projects in The City over the next 15 years.

Those ballot measures include a $500 million general obligation bond, an increase in the vehicle license fee from 0.65 percent to 2 percent and a policy statement to direct revenue from the vehicle license fee to fund transportation projects.

The three ballot measures are recommendations from Mayor Ed Lee’s 2030 Transportation Task Force. Lee asked the task force last year, made up of 45 finance and transportation experts, to come up with new revenue sources to make up the $6.3 billion funding gap needed to fix the City’s transportation infrastructure.

As of now the City has $3.7 billion in existing funding from local, state and federal resources. The ballot measures, if passed, would add $1.5 billion to fund transportation capital projects for Muni, road repaving and pedestrian safety projects.

From the $1.5 billion, the SFMTA would get $635 million from the measures to help improve and modernize Muni. The funds would help the transit agency upgrade its maintenance facilities, replace aging Muni vehicles and improve transit stops.

Transit officials said Tuesday that the funds, for example, could help pay for bigger Muni buses to help reduce crowding, something the SFMTA has not been able to do because of the lack of funding. The measures could also help for pay for other transit projects such as transit-signal priority and transit-only lanes.

City roads could also benefit. At least $625 million would go toward repaving 500 blocks a year and help maintain roads throughout The City.

The Department of Works said repaving projects would also result in 1,000 new curb ramps a year to make it easier for people to access the sidewalks.

Projects to keep pedestrians and bicyclists safe would get a boost in funding of $296 million. The City is currently focused on installing pedestrian safety enhancements on streets where 60 percent of serious or fatal traffic injuries occur.

The projects include installing pedestrian signals, better lighting at crosswalks, traffic calming measures and wider sidewalks. Up to 65 miles of new safer bikeways would also be built.

Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said in a statement that the investments will benefit all forms of transportation throughout the City:

“We know that it can be challenging to get around San Francisco. With these funds, we’ll invest in improvements that make it faster, safer and easier to get around town – to home, to work, to school and everywhere else you travel.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has until May 13 to introduce the bond measure and June 10 to introduce the vehicle license fee measure.

The last day for the board to place measures on the ballot is July 22. The bond measure and vehicle license fee needs eight votes from supervisors to place on the ballot in November. The third measure just needs six votes.

The bond measure will need two-thirds of voters to pass while the vehicle license fee and policy measure will need a simple majority to pass.

List of community meetings:

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