Governor, President, Even You Might Save Bay Area Transit

If you want to serve on Muni's board, just ask the mayor

By Jackson West
|  Friday, Mar 12, 2010  |  Updated 2:12 PM PDT
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Don't get your hopes up that the governor will help state transit agencies, as he's the guy who drove the Hummer through their budgets in the first place.

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Think you'd be better at helping to run Muni than the current crop of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency board members?

Then just send an email to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.

Don't worry, you wont actually get the (unpaid, volunteer) job. It will more than likely go to someone with a lot more pull in City Hall than anyone who actually rides Muni.

Although as political favors go, getting appointed to the SFMTA's board has to be one of the least desirable -- basically, you do the mayor's bidding, but he doesn't have to sit through the public's complaints when those decisions mean reduced service and increased fares.

Newsom isn't just pretending that he actually reads his email in an effort to address Muni's problems -- he's also teaming up with officials from transit areas around the Bay Area to beg Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would send some gas tax money their way.

No one knows if the governor will approve the bill, but here's a hint: He's the guy who slashed state spending on public transportation in the first place, leaving agency budgets across the state in tatters.

The good news is that President Barack Obama has his eye on the Bay Area for a number of capital projects in transportation infrastructure, specifically the proposed Transbay Terminal which may or may not be the terminus of a high-speed rail line that may or may not connect San Francisco to San Jose and beyond.

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