Wednesday, July 7, 2010

SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel Ford Speaks at San Francisco's Government Affairs Committee Meeting

Susan Court, 2010 BOMA San Francisco GAPAC Chair and Nathaniel Ford, SFMTA Executive Director/CEO

Nathaniel Ford, the Executive Director and CEO of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) spoke to members of the BOMA San Francisco Government and Public Affairs Committee (GAPAC) on July 7, 2010 about what's happening at the SFMTA.  Here are the highlights:

About the SFMTA
  • The SFMTA is the only public transit agency of its kind in the United States. Indeed, the agency handles it all: historic streetcars, modern light rail vehicles, diesel buses, alternative fuel vehicles, electric trolley coaches and the world famous cable cars. Muni’s fleet is among the most diverse in the world.
  • In addition, the SFMTA also manages the 40 City-owned garages and metered parking lots and traffic engineering functions (including the placement of signs, signals, traffic striping, curb markings, and parking meters).
  • The SFMTA provides transit options for 700,000 riders per day in a city of 800,000 people.
Budget and Service Reductions
  • The SFMTA Board of Directors recently approved a 2-year budget that included a 10% service reduction that would save the Agency $29 million annually.  Mr. Ford mentioned that 5% of the service reduction will be restored by September 4, 2010 due to $11 million in one-time funding from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.
    • As we reported from our meeting with Mr. Ford in 2009, the State of California reallocated money appropriated for local transit funding.  Mr. Ford stated that the SFMTA's current budget woes have been exacerbated due to the loss of this important funding source. 
  • As with any reduction in service, the public perception of the impact is greater than the reality. Why? In May of 2006, the SFMTA launched the Transit Effectiveness Project (TEP), which is the first comprehensive effort in over 25 years to review Muni and recommend ways to make the public transit system in San Francisco more efficient.
    • The data collected by the TEP (via ridership data, public outreach and best practices research) has allowed the SFMTA to develop proposals to improve transit reliability, reduce travel delay, and update transit routes.
    • In short, the TEP allows the SFMTA to provide more efficient service without higher costs.  The goal is to not eliminate service but to expand service where it is needed the most.
Capital Projects 
  • Mr. Ford spoke about a number of capital projects that the Agency is currently working on:
    • Central Subway
      • The SFMTA has received the approval from the Federal Government to go into the final design phase.  This will allow for time for some construction and general preparation work.
    • St. Francis Circle 
      • The St. Francis Circle Rail Replacement Project will help improve Muni service by replacing track and the overhead system at the St. Francis Circle intersection and will include other additional benefits at the intersection such as improved pedestrian islands, crosswalks and curb ramps, and new road pavement.
    • California Cable Car Infrastructure Improvement Project
    • Rehabilitation of Muni's light rail cars
      • Upgrades will help to greatly improve transit time.
    • Click here for more information on all of SFMTA's capital projects.
Other Issues
BOMA San Francisco would like to thank Mr. Ford for taking time out of his very busy schedule to speak to the members of the GAPAC.  

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