San Francisco’s transportation sales tax
Whether you are a San Francisco resident, student, worker, or visitor, it is likely you have already experienced a Prop K-funded transportation improvement. Prop K is a half-cent local sales tax for transportation that was approved by San Francisco voters in November 2003 that is used to fund everything from signals to streetcars, bicycles to boulevards, and pedestrian safety improvements to paving.
Projects like these are identified in the Prop K Strategic Plan’s associated 5-Year Prioritization Programs (5YPPs). Every five years the Transportation Authority updates the Prop K Strategic Plan and 5YPPs. Right now and through the end of 2018, we are working with our Board, the public, and project sponsors (e.g. SFMTA, DPW, BART) to identify what projects will be funded with Prop K sales tax funds over the next five years. At the end of the year, the Transportation Authority Board will consider for approval updates to the 21 Prop K 5YPPs. See the Prop K outreach page for more information.
In November 2003, 75% of San Francisco voters approved Prop K, extending the existing half-cent local sales tax for transportation (Prop B, approved in 1989) and approving a new 30-year Expenditure Plan identifying projects and programs to be funded by the sales tax. The sales tax revenues are invested in projects and programs contained in four major categories, which are shown below along with the percentage of overall Prop K revenues that each category will receive over the life of the Expenditure Plan.
- Transit: 65.5%
- Paratransit: 8.5%
- Streets and Traffic Safety: 24.6%
- Transportation Systems Management/Strategic Initiatives: 1.3%
The Expenditure Plan describes the types of projects that are eligible for funds. Major capital projects include Central Subway, Caltrain Modernization Program (including Electrification and Positive Train Control), Presidio Parkway (formerly known as the Doyle Drive Replacement Project), and Caltrain Downtown Extension to a Rebuilt Transbay Terminal (renamed the Salesforce Transit Center). The Expenditure Plan also includes a paratransit operations category and 21 programmatic categories comprised of typically smaller projects ranging from street resurfacing to new and upgraded traffic signals and signs to pedestrian safety improvements to transit vehicle replacements.
The Expenditure Plan identifies eligible sponsors for each line item and establishes limits on sales tax funding by Expenditure Plan line item. It also sets expectations for leveraging of sales tax funds with other federal, state and local dollars to fully fund the Expenditure Plan programs and projects. The Expenditure Plan estimates that $2.35 billion (in 2003 $’s) in local transportation sales tax revenue will be made available to projects over the 30-year program; however, it does not specify how much sales tax funds any given project would receive by year. The Expenditure Plan requires that the Transportation Authority develop and adopt periodic updates to the Strategic Plan and 5YPPs to guide the implementation of the program while supporting transparency and accountability.
The Prop K Strategic Plan sets policy for administration of the Prop K program to ensure prudent stewardship of taxpayer funds. It also reconciles the timing of expected sales tax revenues with the schedule for when project sponsors need those revenues, and provides a solid financial basis for the issuance of debt needed to accelerate the delivery of projects and their associated benefits to the public.
Concurrent with development of the Strategic Plan, the Transportation Authority developed and adopted 5YPPs for each of the 21 programmatic categories. The 5YPPs each include a transparent prioritization methodology to identify projects that should receive Prop K funds, a five-year list of projects to be funded from the programmatic category including scope, schedule, cost, and funding information for Prop K and other revenues, and performance measures. The Strategic Plan and 5YPPs were updated in 2009 and 2014.
Click on the links below to find more information:
A Prop K Fact Sheet is currently being updated.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON PROP K RELATED ITEMS
San Francisco County Transportation Authority
Attention: Policy & Programming Division
1455 Market St., 22nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103