S.F.'s Mayor Sets His Sights on Public Transit

During his first State of the City address, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee put reforming MUNI - the city's "notoriously late and overcrowded public transit system" - at the top of his agenda.
January 29, 2013, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Buoyed by recent success in overhauling San Francisco's business tax and lining up funding for housing programs, Mayor Ed Lee used his first State of the City address Monday to put another intractable problem in his sights: Muni," report John Coté and Heather Knight. During his speech, Lee announced to formation of a task force to help develop a plan for modernizing the "third rail of San Francisco politics" in order to adequately handle the city's growing population.

"'We need to modernize our system ... to better match up with 21st century patterns of where people live, work and shop,' said Lee, who also wants to explore BART expansion in the city."

"Lee is copying his successful approach to lining up dedicated funding for affordable housing and changing the way San Francisco levies its business tax: bringing those on all sides of the issues into the same room to hammer out a compromise. The Muni group, which includes transit advocates, tech figures and the City Controller's Office, will start meeting next month."

"Gabriel Metcalf, director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association and a member of the new Muni task force, said the system suffered from a lack of funding and a lack of priority on the streets - with buses, trains and streetcars often stuck in traffic or at a stoplight."

Among the other items discussed in Lee's address: efforts to address the city's enduring homeless problem, reforming the city's Housing Authority, and the plan to build a new arena for the Golden State Warriors just south of the Bay Bridge.

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Published on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 in San Francisco Chronicle
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