The SFMTA and What to Do About It: Excerpts from Letter sent to Marc Salomon

Excerpts from Letter sent to Marc Salomon on May 9, 2019

Subject: The SFMTA and What to Do About It

Dear Marc,

Your article in today’s Examiner about the SFMTA’s change of leadership was most welcome because the questions you raised demonstrate that the usual response to agency dysfunction; namely, replacing the top guy, and sometimes adding money, isn’t enough. For over two years the Transportation Alliance of San Francisco (TAOSF) and BATWG have been pointing out that:

a.) the Director of the SFMTA was spread too thin, partly but not entirely because of his tendency to give too much priority to peripheral issues rather than to the main objective of optimizing San Francisco’s collective means of travel, easing congestion and effectively managing SFMTA contracts,

b.) the SFMTA Board has too much independence from San Francisco’s elected policy makers and,

c.) the existing SFMTA organization is overly complex and generally lacks management accountability.


Whether or not the SFMTA can continue to perform its function under the present structure is debatable. For this reason we have been recommending that as a first step the SFMTA be subjected to an independent management audit…conducted by a reputable outside management auditing team. The McKenzie Company comes to mind because they reportedly won’t take a job unless they are given a totally free hand, which is essential. No matter who conducts the audit it would need to proceed entirely free of political and special interest interference.


Gerald Cauthen
President, BATWG

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