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Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 4, 2014 Election
Proposition A
San Francisco Transportation and Road Improvement Bond
City and County of San Francisco

bond - 2/3 Approval Required

Pass: 157,562 / 71.87% Yes votes ...... 61,657 / 28.13% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Arguments |

To construct, redesign and rebuild streets and sidewalks and to make infrastructure repairs and improvements that increase MUNI service reliability, ease traffic congestion, reduce vehicle travel times, enhance pedestrian and bicycle safety, and improve disabled access, shall the City and County of San Francisco issue $500 million in general obligation bonds, subject to independent citizen oversight and regular audits?

Proposition A is an ordinance that would allow the City to borrow up to $500 million by issuing general obligation bonds.

The City would use this money to implement many of the infrastructure repairs and improvements identified by the Transportation Task Force.

The City could use the funds for the following purposes:

  • Construct transit-only lanes and separated bike- ways;
  • Install new boarding islands, accessible plat- forms, and escalators at Muni/BART stops;
  • Install new traffic signals, pedestrian countdown signals, and audible pedestrian signals;
  • Install sidewalk curb bulb-outs, raised crosswalks, median islands, and bicycle parking; and
  • Upgrade Muni maintenance facilities. Any proposed use of these bond funds would be subject to review and further changes by the Mayor and the Board.

Proposition A would allow an increase in the property tax to pay for the bonds, if needed. It would permit landlords to pass through up to 50% of any resulting property tax increase to tenants.

Proposition A also would require the Citizens' General Obligation Bond Oversight Committee to review the spending of bond funds. One-tenth of one percent (0.1%) of the bond funds would pay for the commit- tee's audit and oversight functions.

Fiscal Impact:
City Controller Ben Rosenfield has issued the following statement on the fiscal impact of Proposition A: Should the proposed $500 million in bonds be authorized and sold under current assumptions, the approximate costs will be as follows:

  • In fiscal year 2015+2016, following issuance of the first series of bonds, and the year with the lowest tax rate, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $23.3 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0123 per $100 ($12.09 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • In fiscal year 2020+2021, following issuance of the last series of bonds, the estimated annual costs of debt service would be $42.2 million and result in a property tax rate of $0.0185 per $100 ($18.20 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • The best estimate of the average tax rate for these bonds from fiscal year 2015+2016 through 2039+2040 is $0.0122 per $100 ($12.00 per $100,000) of assessed valuation.
  • Based on these estimates, the highest estimated annual property tax cost for these bonds for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $500,000 would be approximately $91.02.

These estimates are based on projections only, which are not binding upon the City. Projections and estimates may vary due to the timing of bond sales, the amount of bonds sold at each sale, and actual assessed valuation over the term of repayment of the bonds. Hence, the actual tax rate and the years in which such rates are applicable may vary from those estimated above.The City's current debt management policy is to issue new general obligation bonds only as old ones are retired, keeping the property tax impact from general obligation bonds approximately the same over time.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
If you vote "yes," you want the City to issue $500 million in general obligation bonds on infrastructure projects designed to:
  • improve Muni reliability and accessibility;
  • improve the conditions of streets; and
  • make roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists

A NO vote on this measure means:
If you vote "no," you do not want the City to issue these bonds.

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Arguments For Proposition A Arguments Against Proposition A
Modernizing and upgrading San Francisco's aging transportation infrastructure is critical to public safety and improving everyone's experience in getting around San Francisco.

Proposition A is a smart investment that will create a safer environment for pedestrians and people with disabilities, make Muni more reliable, improve traffic flow, and decrease travel times for everyone.

Proposition A would fund projects that provide these upgrades for a 21st Century San Francisco.

And, Proposition A will not raise taxes because these bonds only would be issued as previous bond debt is retired.

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Prop A Raises Property Taxes and Rents.

If Prop A passes, it will raise property taxes and rents to levels higher than they would be otherwise.

Instead of Legal Commitment, "Weasel Words". Unlike other bond measures, Prop A's legal language makes no commitment as to how funds will be allocated. Instead, the Bond language uses the phrase: "Projects to be funded under the proposed Bond may include but are not limited to...".

And that is giving a virtual blank check to the SFMTA!

EXTREMELY DECEPTIVE: Proposition A does not guarantee money will be used for Muni.

The Ordinance makes no commitment to any specific work, instead using phrases "may be allocated" and "may include but not limited to." SFMTA could use all funds on non-Muni projects, cost overruns of current projects...

The Ballot Simplification Committee's Digest acknowledges this failure to commit: "The City could use the funds for the following purposes:"---rather than "shall use."

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
Prop A will bring San Francisco's aging transportation infrastructure into the 21st Century without raising taxes. Some facilities are more than 100 years old. Prop A's upgrades and replacements will make getting around the City better for everyone--whether you drive, bike, ride Muni or walk.

FACT: Prop A does not raise taxes. Because new bonds would only be issued as old bonds retire, tax rates remain the same.

FACT: Prop A bond funds are restricted to transportation infrastructure improvements. Citizen oversight and audits ensure that funds are spent as required by law.

Prop A improves pedestrian safety with improvements including more countdown signals; raised, wider, more visible crosswalks and better lighting. Separating bicycles and cars makes travel safer for everyone. Upgraded traffic signals that respond to changing traffic patterns improve traffic flow and reduce idling times at intersections.

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Created: July 23, 2015 14:58 PDT
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