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Bay Area transit to get billions in federal stimulus. Here's how BART, Muni and others will benefit

Bay Area transit to get billions in federal stimulus. Here's how BART, Muni and others will benefit

Bay Area public transit agencies with pandemic-battered budgets are getting a second windfall from the second federal coronavirus stimulus bill worth $802 million. That’s the final installment of the $975 million in total from that bill.The Metropolitan Transportation Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to dole out funds to agencies based on revenue losses and ridership during the pandemic. The biggest recipients are the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni ($297 million), BART ($274 million) and AC Transit ($55.5 millon). Caltrain, Valley Transportation...

Mar 24
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'Stranded': Only 85% of Muni service returning by 2022 in struggle to restore lines

'Stranded': Only 85% of Muni service returning by 2022 in struggle to restore lines

Muni plans to bring back 85% of service by January 2022, as the agency struggles to restore lines while facing hiring and financial troubles after a year of scaled-back service.The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is currently running 70% of pre-COVID service. While the agency plans to restore some subway and streetcar lines in May, with cable cars returning by the end of the year, the L-Taraval, M-Ocean View and K-Ingleside Muni Metro trains likely won’t restart until early 2022, Director of Transit Julie Kirschbaum told the SFMTA board last week.Supervisors and residents...

Mar 23
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San Francisco offered permanent housing to homeless people staying in hotels, but 70% said no. Here's why

San Francisco offered permanent housing to homeless people staying in hotels, but 70% said no. Here's why

As San Francisco a shelter-in-place hotel program that leases rooms for vulnerable homeless people during the pandemic, the city has run into a roadblock: Some residents find where they’re staying more appealing than another permanent option.Shelter-in-place hotels, opened during the pandemic for vulnerable homeless individuals, offer private rooms with bathrooms and three meals a day, but the program is temporary. In contrast, a newly available permanent supportive housing option in a recently renovated hotel has communal bathrooms and charges 30% of a resident’s income as rent.So far,...

Mar 3
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BART faces 'crisis without precedent': $1 billion in lost revenue with few daily commuters

BART faces 'crisis without precedent': $1 billion in lost revenue with few daily commuters

BART expects ridership won’t be close to rebounding to pre-pandemic levels for years and is grappling with “a crisis without precedent in our history,” the transit agency’s staff told its board Thursday.The pandemic is expected to cost the train system more than $1 billion in revenue losses through fiscal year 2022.Ridership plunged to 12% of pre-COVID levels under shelter-in-place and has barely budged for nearly a year. Before the pandemic, two-thirds of BART trips had an origin or destination at a Market Street station in downtown San Francisco. Board President Mark Foley said BART...

Feb 26
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When will cable cars return? Future of San Francisco's iconic transit vehicles uncertain

When will cable cars return? Future of San Francisco's iconic transit vehicles uncertain

San Francisco’s landmark cable cars, sidelined since the start of the pandemic, face an uncertain future. The iconic transportation system will roll again, Muni officials say, but when the cars will return and what that will mean for the rest of the city’s transit network and the recovery of the tourist industry is unclear.City officials, business leaders and residents are urging a return of the nearly 150-year-old cable cars, but the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency is grappling with hard choices about while facing long-term financial issues.Muni officials are also...

Feb 19
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San Francisco reports $125 million budget surplus this fiscal year - but deficits still loom

San Francisco reports $125 million budget surplus this fiscal year - but deficits still loom

San Francisco halfway through the current fiscal year on Friday, reversing the city’s short-term financial fortunes from a $116 million deficit three months ago.The gap was filled by higher-than-expected property tax revenue, increased federal reimbursements and lower expenses. Friday’s update was a rare bit of good news for the city’s $13.1 billion budget, which has been ravaged by the pandemic over the past year. But the city still likely faces a more than $500 million deficit over the next two years, which will need to be bridged somehow.The Board of Supervisors and Mayor London Breed...

Feb 13
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Bay Area transit to get $975 million from new federal stimulus bill, but cuts still possible

Bay Area transit to get $975 million from new federal stimulus bill, but cuts still possible

Photo: Yalonda M. James / The ChronicleThe Bay Area’s transit agencies, hard hit by fare losses during the pandemic, are slated to receive $975 million in federal funds from the latest coronavirus relief bill, officials said Tuesday.Congress approved $14 billion for transit agencies nationwide, which the president still needs to sign into law. The nearly $1 billion amount will be allocated to Bay Area agencies, including BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which runs Muni. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission will divide the funds between all agencies. It’s a...

Dec 22
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Six injured, including three police officers, during clashes in S.F. between pro- and anti-Trump groups

Six injured, including three police officers, during clashes in S.F. between pro- and anti-Trump groups

San Francisco police said six people were injured, including three officers, during clashes between a small group of President Trump’s supporters and a larger crowd of counterprotesters Saturday near Civic Center. No arrests had been made by early Saturday evening.The pro-Trump protest, billed as a free speech rally, drew people from Team Save America wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and carrying pro-police “Thin Blue Line” flags. They set up a stage at the Federal Building at U.N. Plaza, but dozens of black-clad demonstrators quickly gathered to oppose the group, holding signs that...

October 18, 2020
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SF bans natural gas in new city buildings, plans all construction ban

SF bans natural gas in new city buildings, plans all construction ban

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Jan. 14 to ban gas appliances in new and significantly renovated city buildings. It’s just the beginning, officials say: The board also passed a law to give incentives for all-electric construction, paving the way for a possible gas ban in all new buildings later this year. “I look forward to collaborating with environmental advocates, labor unions, developers and all stakeholders to end the use of natural gas in new buildings in San Francisco,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who plans to introduce the follow-on legislation, said in a...

January 18, 2020
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