Board of Supervisors unanimously approves traffic congestion mitigation tax for november 2019 ballot

Sponsored by Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin, the measure would add a surcharge on Transportation Network Company rides originating in San Francisco to fund congestion mitigation projects, including safe streets and Muni transit operations

The Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved a ballot measure introduced by Mayor London N. Breed and Supervisor Aaron Peskin to add a surcharge to rides made through Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) in San Francisco in order to fund street safety projects and investments in Muni service. The Traffic Congestion Mitigation Tax will now be on the November 2019 ballot and will need to be approved by two-thirds of voters. If approved by voters, the tax would become effective on January 1, 2020.

The measure is estimated to raise up to $35 million annually for transit and Vision Zero safety projects, and would impose a 3.25% surcharge on all individual rides and a 1.5% surcharge on shared rides that originate in San Francisco. Rides in electric vehicles (EVs) would have a surcharge of 1.5%, regardless of whether they are individual or shared, in order to encourage the use of EVs. The proposal was crafted by Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin in cooperation with TNCs Uber and Lyft.

“We need to reduce congestion on our streets so that people can get around more easily, while continuing to invest in our public transportation and make our streets safer for everyone,” said Mayor Breed. “This requires coming together to find solutions to improve street design and encouraging people to take transit, walk, and bike.”

“We all know congestion in San Francisco is terrible and everyone needs to be a part of the solution, including the TNC companies, users and the City,” said Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “This requires strategic investment from all of us to prioritize solutions that get people out of their cars, onto public transportation and safely walking and biking.”

In 2017, then-Board of Supervisors President Breed and Supervisor Peskin convened a task force to explore the potential for new transportation revenue measures in San Francisco, consisting of neighborhood organizations, advocacy groups, business and civic organizations, and public agencies. The task force issued its final report in 2017, which found that TNCs accounted for roughly 15% of intra-city trips, and an estimated 20-26% of vehicle trips Downtown during peak periods. It is estimated that on an average weekday, 6,500 TNC vehicles are on the street.

Assemblymember Phil Ting authored legislation last year that ensured San Francisco’s authority to implement a surcharge on rideshare trips with voter approval. Governor Brown signed Assembly Bill 1184, which allows a higher tax rate for single-passenger rides and lower rates for shared rides and zero emission vehicles. The bill also allows the surcharge to be applied to autonomous vehicle rides when the technology becomes available.

“San Francisco’s ability to move its people around safely in a growing economy is vital. But the City’s current transportation revenue streams can’t keep up with the demand,” said Assemblymember Ting. “I’m glad to see Mayor Breed and Supervisor Peskin taking the next step spelled out in AB 1184 and working to invest in bike lanes, public transit, and safer roads. If the tax is approved by voters, I hope the lower rates for shared rides and EVs motivate consumers to use those options.”

Revenue from the tax measure would be split equally between transit improvement measures, such as improving bus and rail service frequency and reliability, and Vision Zero safety improvements, including pedestrian and bicyclist safety infrastructure and traffic calming measures.