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tv   [untitled]    December 14, 2010 12:00pm-12:30pm PST

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on the authorization that the state level being characterized through state approval. it really would depend on how the state watches and draft legislation as to what might apply. commissioner alioto-pier: 1 not wait until we have answers to those questions? it might impact the study itself and what we look at an all sorts of different things. >> commissioner alioto-pier, the question as to whether it applies or not -- and there are varying opinions about that already -- does not really affect our ability to analyze the potential environmental impacts and other impacts or the selection of any kind of alternative. if it applies, it would require
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a vote that meets the threshold of proposition 26. if it does not apply, obviously, it would be a simple majority. this is the kind of measure that has to be developed with a very broad consensus, not just in san francisco, but in neighboring counties that would be subject to this. i believe that doing some more analysis of this could even in form some of the debate happening in sacramento about the applicability. we can certainly wait, but it will not make a big difference in the sort of findings we are likely to make in the analysis. it is an externality that needs to be taken into account. a program that is weak will not really pass muster, and we are not interested in a week program. we are interested in a consensus program that will take a fairly long time to put together. that is why the idea of trying
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to move forward -- and let me clarify, this is not a staff advocacy position. it is in favor of studying it and having an intelligent conversation of the region because we see condition pricing as one of the very last frontiers as far as where we are going to be able to tackle both the climate change issue in the transportation revenue issue in the face of big challenges, both at the state and federal levels as far as budget is concerned. commissioner alioto-pier: thank you for that. it does seem to me that proposition 26 could be a rather large externality, that it could have a large impact on the way san francisco moves forward and on the decisions we make. what we're dealing with right now, i realize it is a study, but it is a study, as has been mentioned, that could cost anywhere from $1 million to $2 million. it sounds like perhaps with
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some eight, at least that is what we hope. if we're going to move forward at a time like this one resources are always going to be a little thin, what i'm curious about is why we simply would not wait -- honestly, there are a couple of different reasons. one is the fact that we could get more information regarding proposition 26 and how it could impact this, and the fact that four of us are leaving and we will have another commission here with four new commissioners in the next month, and this is the type of conversation in my opinion that should also be taking place with the full complement of the commission that we are looking at. any time that we are going to spend any money, even if it were a smaller amount, we should be looking at how we spend the authority's time, that we are spending it appropriately and smartly. proposition 26 is a concern to
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me. i would not like to see the city spend a lot of money toward this. feasibility, when we turn around and realize it is something we cannot implement. maybe we think we could get it through at the higher margins. i do not know, but i do think they should be part of the conversation before we move forward and approve of continuing to study something that, frankly, might be moot. i do not know. >> a couple of clarifications -- the first one would be that the federal government is keenly interested in the petition pricing program, and it is curiously one of the few elements that have remained intact through the transition from the bush administration to the obama administration. in fact, there is heightened interest of precisely because of
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the debate that is happening in congress. the fact that we cannot agree on a one-cent increase in the gas tax is generating the need for alternatives. this was the alternative that could work very well on a parallel of itself. i would also mention that because of leg work that was done, we did not get a super majority vote of 67%. i think that while i'm not supremely confident, i believe that the electorate is wise and when its seeds a separation of purpose, when its sees that the funds are dedicated 100% to transportation, when it understands the mechanism or the thinking behind it, it may very well choose to do something like that. the final thing is we are not talking about a position today or even when the new board is seated. we are talking about a decision on the merit in about five
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years. what the framework would be at that point would have been vetted with all due death and concluded in some fashion or another. i think that we can wait. what it will do is put us closer to the deadline to apply for federal funds, which would make competing for the money more difficult. that deadline is counted i just a couple of months. i do not know that the new board will have considerably more information than what you have today to move forward. >> -- commissioner alioto-pier: it is not about whether or not we have the proper information. i feel confident that the people sitting around these desks right now can do a fine job in their vote in moving it forward.
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let me ask you this -- i'm curious. this is a regional issue. we have a number of counties, san mateo probably being the closest one. no water separating us. there was a lot of conversation about the different interest groups. i believe there was a list of. i scanned it very briefly. what kind of outreach, what have we been doing with our neighboring counties regarding san francisco's congestion pricing ideas, particularly san francisco. i think people forget where san francisco and san mateo begin and end. it sometimes feels like we are closer sisters with them than anyone. also, alameda and marin county,
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not quite as directly impacted perhaps. >> commissioner, i am a student of history, and i cannot help but remember that once we were all parts of the same county. it is the same people and the same lifestyle, and what we have is an imperative to have a wide-ranging conversation, which is why we are advocating for the necessary time to do that. we have done outreach meetings in san mateo county and sarah plant county and marin county, precisely for the purpose that you mentioned. we have also done webinars and the newfangled technology things, and i have to give credit for the staff because i
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would not be able to do that if you pressed me. as you know, we can do a 30-year plan and have all-day meetings here and people do not pay a huge amount of attention until you have a specific proposal to do a project. that is the challenge planning has all the time, and that is why we believe the education process is very important. to have that discussion, mutually educate each other, and get to the point several years down the line when there is a more robust body of information that can inform and actual decision. what i can tell you is that we have received three letters that are included in the record. one is the letter from the university of california supporting the continuation of the analysis. one is from the bay area air quality management district strongly urging the analysis, and we also have a letter from the san mateo county
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government, and i know my counterpart have friend is here today, and i believe he intends to speak. i also know that -- and i see assemblymen cherry hill in the audience who will want to speak. their request is that we remove the what has been mentioned as the southern gateway from federal analysis. it will be your call to understand the motivation and reasoning behind that. our sense is that this is the type of study that is not trying to preclude any ideas. from the discourse is where we are going to get to a better result of what the potential for this is. the outreach effort is this very general plan or feasibility
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study, and as ideas get studied in more depth, a more vigorous way of engaging people. the last thing i want to say is this, there is a mis -- misconception that this is putting a moat around san francisco and charging an admission fee. that is not the way we live in the bay area. the idea is if we have a congested corridor, we need to fix it somehow, but we cannot expand the freeway because we do not have any room. we are not going to double becket, so one of the ways we can deal with that is through pricing. generate enough revenue to improve those services that across the county line, and those services are services that are paid by all of these counties in the peninsula, so we are not talking about taking money, plugging the general fund deficit in san francisco. we're talking about dedicating
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money to the corridors where people are paying the fee. commissioner alioto-pier: yes, but i will disagree with you on that. to me, it looks like a fee to enter san francisco. when you start looking at the downtown quarters, most of those people are san franciscans, so it has a very direct impact on our own county as well as the other counties and the people that live here. i know supervisor elsbernd's name is on the roster, but i think that the small business impact cannot be talked enough about. the economic impact to the surrounding communities. when we start saying things like, "do not go downtown during certain areas," you have people go to get their hair down downtown, who go shopping and eat breakfast and lunch, and when you start telling them not to enter into certain parts of san francisco during certain
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times, i think we need to be very aware of the type of economic impact it is having, particularly on the smaller businesses. the other question that i'm just very curious about are the privacy concerns. you know, if that has ever come up. you are driving around downtown, and your license plates are being captured. you are being sent your fee. it is being done through fast track. i realize that we do a lot through fast track now, and -- but it is sort of interesting within a very small demographic that we would be able to know where certain people are at certain points during the day. i do think that that is an issue that is going to come up because i do think there could be some privacy concerns surrounding it. i'm just curious to know if that has come up in any of your conversations because it is certainly coming up in
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conversations with the people i represent. commissioner mirkarimi: i'm going to ask that you try to be passing this possible. >> i will be brief. on the issue of small business impacts, there is quite a body of analysis that has already been done in the study that shows that people that take transit or walk end up spending more per month and making more shopping trips than drivers. so there is evidence that the equation is not as intuitive as one might think. this is also from evidence in stockholm where sales have actually gone up in the quarter and areas rather than down, and that is because they have been facilitated and more people are able to access the downtown areas. i'd also point out that at least in the feasibility study, and nobody knows how the final
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proposal might be, the price times r 6:00 to 9:00 a.m., which is when shops are not even open, and then 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., so people have the ability to miss both the access and the exit fee by simply working around those three hours. as far as the privacy concerns, there are technology solutions for that. commissioner alioto-pier: -- >> we would be looking at solutions like london which expunge is any records of the travel once there is evidence the fee has been paid. we would have no interest in keeping it beyond once the motors trip has been paid for. using either electronic or traditional payment methods. we would have no need to maintain a record of that trip, and that could be deleted from
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the system. the database. commissioner alioto-pier: ok. thank you. thank you, commissioner. bad commissioner mirkarimi: thank you. commissioner elsbernd. commissioner elsbernd: you mentioned that san francisco and san mateo county used to be one county. that is why we are the only county in the state of california that has 11 members of the board of supervisors. when san mateo county was created, there county was only given five, but we were allowed to keep 11. if we pursued it, assemblymen hill might pick that up and put us back like every other county in the state. but a couple of things -- i'm not usually one who likes to do things in san francisco simply because it has been successful in europe, but playing that the milan, london and stockholm, in
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those situations, where the entire cities put with holes around the entry, or was it just central corridor? >> it was the central corridor. >> there is no comparison to us, to san francisco putting tolls up on this entire border. is there any other city anywhere in the war that has put tolls up circling every entrance to the city? >> the stockholm case actually, even though the area that is quarter and that is the downtown area, on the -- i think west end, it involves the entire municipal limit. >> were -- commissioner elsbernd: with the golden gate bridge, the bay bridge, and the proposed tolls, there would be no way to get in without paying a toll. i do not think there is any other city in the world that could claim that, right? >> i really could not tell you, but the point is there would not be a way to get in without paying a toll during six hours
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of the day. but there is plenty of opportunity to get in other than the commute time. >> or to get out eat you are a san franciscan who lives in the city and works outside of it. you would have to pay to go to work, whether you go north or south. if you have to be at work at 8:00, you will have to pay to go to work. >> not necessarily. one of the options in the feasibility study, the one that charges only the outbound, would miss that group of people because if you go to work in the morning, the outbound would be free, and in the evening, the inbound would be free. it really depends on how it is structured. >> the chart you gave on page 18 where it says 46% of the respondents support the pilot -- who was your class of respondents? >> this was a representative sample of all bay area folks.
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the summary of 400 people who participated in our most recent round of feedback. commissioner elsbernd: so these are people who knew about the issue and participated and gave feedback? in the past, we have done polls where we generally cold people. this was not a general poll. this was people who knew about the issue -- >> these are people who participated in our online sessions, but we have also conducted polls, and they have shown similar levels of response time. commissioner elsbernd: i would like to see those if i could. >> the information is available. commissioner mirkarimi: thank you. commissioner dufty. commissioner dufty: thank you. one point you made indicates -- it's sort of indicates that the interest is not going to go away near term. uncertainty about other forms of
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financing for federal transportation programs and unwillingness to pursue the gas tax increase, so for me, it feels that right now, the transportation authority has had an unprecedented level of attention and dialogue around the study, more than any i have seen in the eight years i have been a member of the authority. so i think part of having that engagement is for me, not supporting moving forward until we have more engagement. i think the attention of the public is there, and i think the opportunity -- we have a member of the state assembly waiting to testify before us today -- i think that individuals who often do not focus on the ta's work are really interested in this, and i do believe that long term, tools like congestion pricing around climate change and government having to take leadership, that those are tools that we are going to see used
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around california and around the world. i just feel that at this stage, i did not think for me that there is enough by in an understanding. i think there's a lot of uncertainty. i think the situation is still precarious. we have not moved where we hope we would be at this stage, and while i think it would be different in 2015, for me, i would like to have a little more engagements around it and take advantage of the interest in the public and neighborhood organizations. i do not think there is a group that would turn you down right now. those are my concerns. we are not in a situation where we are with the central subway were if we do not move forward, those funds are going somewhere else, just like we saw with the governors of ohio and wisconsin opting not to pursue high-speed rail, but i think it is important to build more constituents to support in and around san francisco, in and
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around the businesses that are in our city to understand if it is not going to be a negative to understand that and accept it. >> if i may, i understand what you're saying. we do have a deadline to apply for the funds. when is that? january 18. we have to be able to apply for federal funds for the value pricing program, which means that if we do not apply, that we would have to wait a year. the fear i have, and i will give you the full strategy, even though the federal government may be watching, is that when we get through this year in washington and it becomes clear that there will not be or will not likely be a significant increase in revenue for transportation and this program is still alive, the value pricing program that i'm talking about, there will be renewed interest in applying for that money, and we will then be competing with 15 or 20 cities that want to get their hands on that money.
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if we apply now, we have a better chance of getting a significant amount of funding, especially after just having completed a feasibility study that shows that the concept is feasible and was done with a great deal of professional care. i think that creating a hiatus of a year between now and when we apply for funding is going to be an advantage for us. the other reality is that although i agree with you that it would be great to have a lot more engagement and a lot more public discourse, we do not have the budget to do that. that is why we are pursuing the federal funding. this would give us a 521 leverage on leverageprop k we have -- on whatever prop k we have. if we do not do this right, we have to do with the design of some kind of alternative that i -- that addresses what i believe will be assemblyman hill's concerns and so on. we cannot do that without money, and it will not be my
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recommendation, and it would not be prudent on my part to recommend that we move forward on this sort of casual engagement effort with the public because it will cost money. this is essentially just providing the opportunity to capture the federal money and a real job of educating people and educating ourselves to what their concerns are so we get to a place where we have real information to make a decision. commissioner mirkarimi: commissioner dufty, are you through? commissioner maxwell. commissioner maxwell: i think those are exactly the arguments for me as the reason we need to move forward. i think it is extremely important we go forward with this at this particular time because we do have people's eyes and ears. and it is not comfortable for them and there are questions that need to be asked, but while we're talking about it and while those questions are being asked, people are really thinking about their travel. with this congested pricing, if
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we were to implement it, there's a lot of things that happen with that. we have money that goes directly into transportation, not into the dark hole of the general fund, but they go directly to transportation. they go to pedestrian safety. they go to more buses. there is a lot of things that come with this money, and i think it is important that people understand that. if we look at what happened in sweden, they implemented it, and folks complained of it, and after awhile, they said they would let them vote on it, and they took it away, and the vote came, and people voted on it because what they saw was what it gave them initially and up front. they saw better transportation, safer streets, less crowds, so i think, yes, it is uncomfortable. it is different, but if you go to new jersey, and if you go from washington, d.c., to new york, you are paying tolls all the way, and you do not see a
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whole lot for it, but here, you have options, and the options would be better. yes, it is uncomfortable, but let's go forward. let's think ahead of the game. commissioner mirkarimi: thank you. commissioner alioto-pier. commissioner alioto-pier: thank you. one real quick question. commissioner maxwell is correct in that this would give funds to the transportation system here in san francisco. the question that needs to be asked is where is the mta on this? how would they combine their resources to figure out what is best for san francisco? do they have an official stand on congestion pricing? $60 million to $80 million for one area is a lot of money. >> commissioner, what we are
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proposing would certainly dedicate a nice amount of money to the mta and transit in general. i guess the caveat is it would not be just the mta for the reasons i explained earlier. we are at a stage where we are bringing this to you. we have had mta, or participate in the study, but again, we are talking about a feasibility study. we have not sat down to design a particular transit line, but let me give you a sense as to how that might happen. they put on 17 new bus routes. that is the kind of message ultimately we want to give the general public, of course, and the operators themselves, that this is not about a promise.
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this is about to the producing an improvement in the transit service before you start charging people, so when they get hit with the charge, they know they have a real option, not an imagined option. i do not think that the m.t.a. has taken a policy position on this, but there might be somewhat -- commissioner alioto-pier: if it is so wonderful, why have they not come out on it? >> it is a very innovative things. it is still controversial. i do not know that they have taken a position on it. >> the city in its 2004 climate action plan -- [no audio] the city of san francisco's a climate action plan did call for congested pricing to be explored, and we are also looking into the update to the climate action plan. congestion pricing is one of the main strategies to achieve our climate goals. commissioner alioto-pier: but they have not officially endorsed this particular study? >> not that i know of. we have not asked anyone to
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endorse or not endorse pricing at this point. commissioner alioto-pier: does it concern you at all that we are talking about putting his money into san francisco's public transportation system? >> they have been for dissipating fully in our process. all the various transit operators are actually quite interested in the opportunity to put transit on a more stable footing and to increase frequencies and service and deal with the various challenges. commissioner alioto-pier: i'm sure that they would be, but our own municipal transportation agency. >> they are doing their own congestion pricing pilot of a different flavor. that is dealing with localized ingestion and localized opportunities associated with parking management. i would say that the agencies are similarly -- commissioner alioto-pier: those are different things. >> yes, but they are in the family of congestion pricing to manage scarce resources. co