Posts Tagged ‘Federal Transit Administration’

SFCTA Confirms Public Comment Cards for Geary BRT Stolen – But Some Returned “Anonymously” – Comment Deadline Extended

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Here’s the latest on this issue, from the SFCTA, below.

If our SFCTA wanted to handle this issue with the least possible effort, then I give it an A+, or a passing grade if we’re grading pass/fail. Another approach would have been to notice another meeting and yada yada.

This project has been on the radar for a long, long time, but I never really paid attention to it until the pedestrian bridges issue came up. If the SFCTA were a person and we took what it said seriously, I’d tell you that our SFCTA is in deep denial on this bridges issue.

(And how much would a BART spur under Geary end up costing, like a billion dollars a mile, like our already-failed Central Subway? Is something like this unreachable pie in the sky? IDK.)

Anyway, here it is:

“To the Participants at the Geary Bus Rapid Transit Project’s November 5, 2015, public comment meeting:
Thank you very much for the time you spent coming to the meeting to learn about the project and for submitting comments on the Draft Environmental Document. Your input is important and appreciated.
Unfortunately, we wish to provide notice that during the meeting, at approximately 7:10 p.m., sign-in sheets with your personal contact information and a few completed comment cards were stolen, at least some of which were later returned by mail anonymously. We sincerely apologize for this incident and have contacted the police about it.
We take your privacy seriously. When we share publicly the comments submitted to us by community members, our policy is to remove any personal contact information. We do not share any personal contact information with third parties, nor do we condone the use of stolen contact information by others. Please let us know if you receive any suspicious communications from anyone who would not normally have access to your phone number or email address. It may help with the investigation of this incident.
Third, in response to these extenuating circumstances, we are extending the public comment period until November 30, 2015, and we encourage you to contact us if you submitted a comment card at the public meeting before 7:10 p.m. and are concerned about whether we received it.
Feel free to contact us to verify your comment’s receipt, or simply submit another comment, via email at

Here’s One of the Pedestrian Bridges that Our SFCTA Now Despises – 99% of Us Can Use It, Of course

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

Here you go, click here and then Control-F for the phrase pedestrian bridge – 26 mentions you will find.

Can you see anything positive at all mentioned about the bridges of J-Town? Perhaps our SFCTA doesn’t think there are any? Or perhaps it thinks it’s writing an advocacy document and so it feels free to lie? IDK.

There were about a dozen people on the bridge when this photo was taken – they’re hard to spot:

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And if these bridges aren’t up to standards, well, then why hasn’t anybody sued us over accessibility? Perhaps they are up to standards?


Oh well.

Our SFCTA SFMTA Tries to Impress the Feds But Loses Box of Public Comment Cards? – Geary BRT – 75 Million Smackers

Monday, November 9th, 2015

Is this the box what got swiped from the basement of St. Mary’s the other day?

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I think it is!

(That’s what some railfan/urbanist/Googler told me, and this particular demographic has ne’er lied to me yet.)

And what’s that, the whole point of this meeting was primarily to be able to tell the FTA that we had a meeting so give us some money money money?

“As the San Francisco Examiner reported, Geary BRT is jockeying for a $75 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration’s Small Starts fund, which may be awarded after public input is taken on the draft environmental impact report.”

And this drive for money is what fuels the SFMTA’s rabid hatred of the pedestrian bridges in the Japantown area on Geary?

Oh, I see!

Gentle Reader, check out any EIR, draft or whatever, then control-F for “pedestrian bridge” and then brace for the haterade. Shouldn’t an EIR, draft or whatever, outline the pros and cons of destroying the ped bridges? And hey, does the SFCTA want to tear down all structures in town what aren’t 100% ADA compliant right now? Oh, no, just these bridges?

(I should say that the SFCTA is already on secret double probation for the disastrous Central Subway and the failing T-Third, among other crimes and misdemeanors.)

On It Goes.

Will the Geary BRT be a good thing? IDK. But certainly, the honest answer to this question won’t come from our SFCTA. (Perhaps we should pay them $75 million to recommend doing nothing and then we’d be better off, IDK. )

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Central Subway Update: Aaron Peskin and Quentin Kopp Object to World’s Shortest and Most Expensive Subway Line

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

It looks like it will be up to Congress to stop the horrible, out-of-control Central Subway Project. That’s our last chance.

Click on the 13-minute video below to listen to former Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin succinctly make the case for killing this turkey.

And here’s some coverage from the local press:

Joe Eskenazi of SF Weekly: Central Subway Critics: Costly Boondoggle Can Still Be Stopped

Michael Cabanatuan of the San Francisco Chronicle: Reinforcements enlisted in battle against Central Subway

KQED: SF Central Subway Opponents Worry About ‘Blank Check

And oh, hey, what about San Francisco’s #1 Mayor Ed Lee Kiss-Ass / Suck-up, you know, San Francisco Chronicle writer CW Nevius, what does he think of the Central Subway?

Nevius: Chinatown subway plan makes me wince

Oh, but that was all the way back in 2008 and, you know, these days The Nevius doesn’t have the stones, apparently, to comment about this particular boondoggle anymore. Oh well.


(Is Aaron Peskin a good public speaker?

Yes, Aaron Peskin a good public speaker.)

And oh, how can Federal Transit Administration leader Peter Rogoff get away with saying that the Central Subway will reduce trip time from 27 minutes to 7 minutes?

This is a complete fantasy.

Is he seriously misinformed or is he lying? I can’t tell.

Does he mean that the pink bag mafia will spend an average of seven minutes descending 30+ yards down into Mother Earth and waiting for the short line? Is that what he means? But that by itself doesn’t get you anywhere you want to go. It just gets you 30 yards beneath C-Town.

Anyway Congress, please, please, please kill this boondoggery.

OMG, MUNI Sucks Even More Than You Know: Central Subway – Hush-Hush Revenue Bond Vote Coming May 1

Monday, April 30th, 2012

If San Francisco could magically get the “Subway to Nowhere” Central Subway installed today for free it would still be a bad deal for San Francisco, mostly owing the very small amount benefits it would provide to a very small number of people and the very large hole it would put into MUNI”s annual budget.

But unless the Feds help out San Francisco by cancelling funding, politically connected players such as AECOM are all set to make a mint off of this project. Oh well.

Anyway, San Francisco officials are still trying to reassure the Feds about how great this horrible project is going, so, as of tomorrow, we’ll be on the hook for another $100,000,000, or so, to make up for the fact that California doesn’t want to chip in the money.

Check it out, from

“On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.

A shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget. In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California.” This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.”

Here are the deets:

April 30, 2012

MTA’s Stealth Maneuver to Commit Additional City Funds to the Central Subway

On May 1, 2012, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (MTA) Board will be asked to approve Central Subway revenue bonds, of undetermined amount, to plug a large hole that has developed in the Central Subway budget. This is a very risky course of action.

MTA Board Agenda, Tuesday, May 1, 2012: See Item 10.4.


The cost of the MTA’s Central Subway project has ballooned from $647 million to the current estimate of $1.58 billion.i The original plan was for $983 million of this total to come from the federal government, $471 from the State of California and $124 million from San Francisco’s Prop K sales tax fund.

In attempting to sell the subway to the public, MTA has repeatedly called the public’s attention to its “success” in leveraging a mere $124 million City & County contribution into a $1.58 billion subway.ii However, a shortfall of between $61.3 million and $140 million has now appeared in the project budget.

In order to make up for this substantial loss of previously anticipated State of California funding, the MTA staff is asking its Board and the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to approve a revenue bond sale of undetermined amount. On the agenda of the May 1, 2012 MTA Board meeting, the bond authorization is scheduled as Item 10.4 which is unaccountably included under the Board’s consent calendar rather than its regular calendar. In the Agenda packet, the staff attributes the need for the revenue bond sale to “uncertainty regarding HSR in California”. This statement is false and misleading, for the reasons set forth below.

The MTA is caught between a skittish Federal Transportation Administration (FTA) appropriately worried about the MTA’s financial ability to handle the Central Subway project and a huge shortfall in the non-federal share of the project budget. The MTA apparently believes the solution to this problem is to skim millions of dollars a year from already overburdened Muni revenues, in order to sell revenue bonds as necessary to make up for the loss in State capital—all in hopes that the action will reassure the feds and therefore put the hoped-for federal grant back on track.

The best that could be said of the MTA’s plan is that it is extremely risky. By far, the most important element of that risk is that the costs of servicing the revenue bonds, coupled with an indeterminate amount of project overrun (estimated by CGR Management Consultants to be as high as $422 million), could result in unacceptably high Muni fare increases and/or unacceptably damaging Muni service cuts.”

Ever more deets after the jump


A Plea From San Franciscans to Congressional Republicans: Please Save Us From the Corrupt, Useless Central Subway

Friday, March 16th, 2012

I’ll tell you, I don’t exactly know how San Francisco managed to get (basically) free water and (basically) free electricity through flooding half of the good part of the Yosemite National Park area, but somehow, through bribery, corruption or whatnot, we got a sweetheart deal to take advantage of Hetch Hetchy in perpetuity.

Of course the right thing to do would be to start sharing the benefits of Hetch Hetchy with the rest of California, or at least pay market price for what we’re getting, or just tear down the damn dam altogether. Something like that.

But the single-party state of San Francisco doesn’t want to do anything like that. The single-party state of San Francisco wants to hold on to the Hetch Hetchy deal for as long as possible. Maybe some Republicans can help us find the right path…

Speaking of which, the federally-funded Central Subway [cough, BIG DIG II, cough – and you know, Boston’s Big Dig is different because it had a chance to actually benefit people] project is useless and horribly corrupt. It will burden San Francisco for decades, whether it gets used or not.

Why don’t we stop this thing [cough, BRIDGE TO NOWHERE, cough] right now? And Feds, why not just call it even? So we won’t pay you back the $200,000,000 but you all will end up saving big bucks.

It’ll be up to you, Congressional Republicans, to save us from wasting money on the Central Subway [cough, ROAD TO NOWHERE, cough – hey, I bet you didn’t know about that one!]

The Central Subway to Chinatown is the replacement for our long-dead Embarcadero Freeway to Chinatown. And somehow, calling the Central Subway the Subway to Nowhere is considered racist and hurtful, but calling the Embarcadero Freeway the Freeway to Nowhere, well, that’s good times. See?

Click to expand

Off we go:


Everyone should re-scrutinize the Central Subway—in light of growing Muni deficits and cutbacks.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) hasn’t granted final approvals.  And Congress has a mandated 60-day review period.  Instead, let’s shift hundreds of millions of dollars into citywide Muni.


The Central Subway means more Muni service cuts and fare/ fee increases. 

The Central Subway Project has drained over $500 million of state and local funding from the citywide Muni system.  Facing a $19.6 million deficit in 2012 and $33.6 million in 2013, San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) threatens more service cuts and fare/ fee increases—after cuts/ increases in 2009 and 2010.  SFMTA projects $1.6 billion in budget deficits and $25.4 billion of capital needs over the next twenty years.  While Muni infrastructure crumbles, Muni’s $1.9 billion in deferred maintenance is a ticking nuclear bomb.

Muni wouldn’t have budget deficits—if scarce dollars were used wisely.

The Central Subway Project has usurped over $500 million of state/ local funds from system-wide Muni needs—exacerbating system meltdowns and rider discontentment.  Service cuts, fare increases, parking/ meter rate hikes, painful traffic citations and frustrated Muni riders have subsidized the Central Subway Project.  No degree of service cuts and fare/fee increases will offset Muni’s mismanagement of assets and existing funds.

PROP K 2003 has higher, legally-mandated citywide Muni priorities.

Instead of the tiny 1.7 mile Central Subway, hundreds of miles of Transit Preferential Streets can be created with the Central Subway’s existing state/ local funds—benefiting all Muni riders, taxpayers and neighborhoods.

With its uniqueness, character, Mediterranean-scale, geographic beauty and topographic splendor, San Francisco’s northeast quadrant is a natural pedestrian realm.  The distance from Downtown to Fisherman’s Wharf is 1-½ miles.  Columbus Avenue is 1 mile long.  Washington Square is 1 mile from the Powell BART/Metro Station.  Chinatown is ½ mile from Market Street.  As seen in cities throughout the world, these are distances opportune for a pulsating street life.

From an urban planning perspective, robust pedestrian and surface transit assures wider economic vitality—with very efficient costs and more immediate jobs.

The Central Subway’s own reports depict an abysmal project.  .

CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) cites pervasive Muni safety Issues. 

In the 3-6-12 SFMTA Board Agenda:  “Conference with Legal Counsel:  Existing Litigation—Investigation into the Operations, Practices and Conduct of the SFMTA Regarding Ongoing Public Safety Issues, California Public Utilities Commission, I. 11-02-017, Issued on 2/24/2011.”


“The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) today began penalty considerations based on CPUC staff allegations of pervasive safety concerns regarding the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA or Muni) light rail system. This action was taken after CPUC safety inspectors found numerous safety violations on Muni’s light rail system in San Francisco. In their report to the CPUC, the inspectors have alleged that SFMTA has been chronically unresponsive to alleged violations and other findings.”


“If you’re a regular Muni rider, you know that delays are common on weekday commutes to and from work. You might not know, however, that San Francisco’s transportation agency has routinely fallen short on safety inspections for the past year and a half, according to a report released this week by the California Public Utilities Commission.”


If the Central Subway were truly a sound transportation project, than politicians, public officials and lobbyists wouldn’t be needed to twist the arms of the public and decision-makers.  Instead, a multi-million dollar media campaign has pitched the Central Subway like snake oil and subprime derivatives, using Muni funds to lobby Muni’s own customers, governing bodies and officials.

CITIREPORT:  “Lobbyists Turn Millions into Billions”:

“Money Follows Controversy

The top ten clients who promised payments for lobbying surfaces some of the most controversial issues at City Hall.

California Pacific Medical Center promised the most in payments for lobbying, at $750,985. Aecom, which is leading the Central Subway and other projects, ranked second at $360,000. Third was Millennium Partners, also at $360,000.”

 NEW YORK TIMES:  “Out Of Office, but Not Out of Things to Say”:

“His [former Mayor Willie Brown] law firm represents prominent clients, among them Aecom, an engineering firm involved in San Francisco’s central subway project, and the California Online Poker Association.”

EPOCH TIMES:  “San Francisco Mayoral Debate gives Glimpse of Chinatown Politics”:

“CCDC [Chinatown Community Development Center} also gets a juicy subcontract related to the Central Subway project, including $30,000 a month to spend on ‘community outreach’.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL:  “The Billion-Dollar-A-Mile Subway Makes Perfect Sense”:

NOTE:  Even while the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is evaluating the Central Subway project, the FTA Administrator defended the project in the Wall Street Journal—responding to an Editorial that blasted the Subway Boondoggle. The conflict of interest is worsened by transit data that shows the Central Subway decreasing transit service levels and travel times for tens of thousands of riders.

Instead of Muni service cutbacks, fare/ fee increases and crumbling infrastructure, imagine how the Central Subway’s hundreds of millions of dollars in existing state/ local funds could revitalize the citywide Muni System.  Political leaders do pay heed to well-reasoned arguments of their constituents.

Join with in lobbying Washington and Sacramento.

And if the blue sky mining company won’t come to our rescue
And if the sugar refining company won’t save us
Who’s gonna save us?