Jerry Brown May Rescue Muni

Muni may get a slight nudge from Jerry Brown, but even if it happens, the emphasis will be on the "slight."

Brown's new budget gives transit agencies access to money that they've been promised for years, but couldn't access under policies enacted by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even though the State Supreme Court ruled that Schwarzenegger's policies were illegal, he kept trying to use the money for his own projects instead of for transit riders.

Over the last few years, transit service has been cut and fees hiked due to funding shortfalls.

But now, hundreds of millions of dollars will be released to agencies around the state. Of that, San Francisco's aspiring transit agency will get $30 million. That's enough to keep the agency, which costs about a billion dollars a year, funded for ten whole days.

Obviously, more money is still needed. That may not happen for a few years, while transit agencies use the released funds to play catchup and establish a stable footing.

One potential source of funding: shifting highway funds to transit. A new study shines light on the taxpayer drain caused by the highway system, which experts estimate has cost the country $600 billion.

The reason for the drain is that highways cause citizens to use cars more than they otherwise would, causing traffic burdens that aren't nearly offset by America's unusually low gas taxes.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us