Budget Armageddon Comes to MUNI, “Whether You Like It or Not”….

So by now you may or may not have read about all that wonderful federal “stimulus” money that’s coming to MUNI. It’s good news, and they’re going to fund some much-needed repairs and (gasp!) ticket machines to collect money better. Yay!
Which is all fine and good, but despite the feds dropping almost 70,000,00 into MUNI, it does nothing to remedy the fact that MUNI’s year-to-year funding is pretty much devastated by the State of California, after Governor “Green Arnie” and Green Legislature gutted all transit funding. Nor does it stop “Green Gavin’s” authorized looting of MUNI by city departments either.
So tomorrow, on St. Patrick’s Day, the MTA will be meeting to confront the budget armageddon, and try and come up with ways to fill the budget holes. Tom Prete did a great job on his site posting a piece on a proposal to tack on extra fares for express buses as well as a copy of the MTA 2010 budget proposal and related links.
There’s no denying that all government agencies are going to be experiencing troubled times right now, as their revenues are pegged to sources that fluctuate wildly based on how the economy is doing. That said, politicians have been looting transit for many years now to avoid making tough choices, both locally and at the state level, and the cumulative effect of that, on top of today’s tough times, makes for a MUNI that’s going to raise prices and cut back service – pay more, and get less, basically. This at a time when more people than ever want to use mass transit. Ugh.
So remember all of this when you see Green Gavin or Green Arnie running around talking Big Ideas about the environment, and remember that when it mattered, both would rather wreck MUNI and mass transit than do anything to save it.
For you and I , who rely on MUNI to get around, I’m afraid that poor service is going to become the norm, not the exception, and that MUNI failwhales are going to be in season shortly. It’s unfortunate, but until someone presses the “reset” button on state and local government to run better, this is our lot and we’re going to have to learn to live with it. Sucks, but it’s not like we have a Mayor or other elected officials who seem to want to lead on these issues.

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2 Responses to Budget Armageddon Comes to MUNI, “Whether You Like It or Not”….

  1. @makfan says:

    The sad thing is I’m probably going to throw in the towel and buy a car.
    I’ve been taking Caltrain and Highway 17 Express to Santa Cruz every few weeks. Caltrain recently made an innocent-sounding 15 minute change to their southbound departure times on weekends. That little change means that none of the trains connect well with the Highway 17 buses. You get there about a minute or two after the bus leaves, so you have to wait up to an hour for the next one. It also means the earliest I can get there is now noon.
    I fully expect cuts on all the transit providers that I use. 5 minutes here and there easily turn into extra hours when your connections fall apart.
    Combine that with the horrible, unpredictable service on MUNI, and a car sounds better and better.

  2. Greg says:

    @makfan: I can totally understand – and I’m not surprised if more people don’t follow your lead. The commute you describe is never easy to begin with (I used to go to UCSC and remember commuting from the Bay Area to classes in a car and it sucked!) and the “minor tweak” the bean counters did to Caltrain just added way more time to your commute. It sucks!
    The only problem is that cars become a law of diminishing returns…as more people crowd 280, 101, 17, etc. inevitably they’ll get slower. Then EVERYONE is miserable!
    There’s a similar issue with going to the Peninsula…when “Mason Powell” takes the BART home from the Inner Sunset on trivia night, it often takes less time to go from Irving St. to Millbrae station than it does to go from Millbrae station to his home just a mile or so away, because the buses don’t connect with BART and he often just walks home to avoid waiting all night for the bus!

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