The Community Transit Act is headed for the November ballot

The Community Transit Act is headed to the ballot box, thanks to a successful volunteer signature-gathering campaign, supported by local transit advocates including Livable City. Volunteers gathered over 17,800 signatures, and campaign organizers submitted them to the Department of Elections for verification on Friday July 5. Once the City certifies that at least 10,000 signatures are valid it will place the measure on the November ballot.

The measure will increase the City’s gross receipts business tax on ride hail companies, including Uber and Lyft, to fund Muni public transit. The additional funding will be dedicated to Muni service, and Muni can use it to prevent service cuts and improve transit access to public schools, libraries, and parks. It can also be used to fund discount programs for youth, seniors, people with disabilities, and people with low incomes.

Public transit is an essential public service. It provides freedom and opportunity to city dwellers. It gives us access to work, school, family and friends, shopping, recreation, nature, and culture. The Community Transit Act will boost Muni funding by an estimated $30 million annually. Ride hail services increase traffic congestion and pollution. These companies should pay a fairer share to offset their impacts on our health, our neighborhoods, and our planet, and to support transportation choices that do less harm.

Muni has worked hard to rebuilt service since the pandemic. These restoration efforts have been aided by Federal relief funds. While there’s much left to do, rider satisfaction is at a ten-year high. Muni has usage shifted since the pandemic. Fewer commuters are headed to downtown office jobs, ridership is higher than pre-pandemic levels on some neighborhood-serving lines. The MTA, which governs both Muni and street traffic and parking, wisely expanded the City’s network of transit-priority lanes during the pandemic. Prioritizing transit on more streets has helped preserve Muni speed and reliability. Muni service has grown the most on lines, like the Van Ness lines and the 22 Fillmore, where MTA invested in improving frequency, speed, reliability, and accessibility. These ridership increases show that San Franciscans will choose to use quality public transit if the City provides it. And encouraging more San Franciscans to choose transit is key to meeting our climate, equity, housing, and safe streets commitments.

The Community Transit Act will help protect us from Muni service cuts and fare increases as the City tightens its General Fund budget, and can help sustain progress on restoring and improving service. It’s not enough on its own to prevent cuts and fare increases after the pandemic Federal funding expires in 2026. Losing that additional public funding will leave Muni with an estimated deficit of $220 million annually in the 2026-27 fiscal year. The state legislature and the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission are discussing a regional measure to address the operating shortfalls of Bay Area transit agencies after the 2026 ‘fiscal cliff’. Such a measure would need voter approval in 2026. Passing the Community Transit Act is an important step towards meet the bigger budget challenges ahead.

We need your help to pass the Community Transit Act in November. You can find out more on the campaign web site. And be sure to sign up for Livable City’s e-news for more ways to support and speak up for public transit.

Volunteers and organizers carried 17.800 signatures into City Hall in Muni-themed boxes on Friday July 5