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File photo of a passenger getting onto a MUNI bus near 6267 Mission St. on Monday June 21, 2010 in Daly City, Calif. Funding to provide free Muni passes to low income youths in San Francisco was recently denied by the Metropolitan Transporation Commission. (Aric Crabb/Staff)

It's not often that we can praise the Metropolitan Transportation Commission for making a tough decision.

The agency often seems out of touch with financial reality and its mission to strengthen Bay Area transportation systems. Commissioners have embarked on a misguided and illegal empire-building scheme to use bridge toll revenues for real estate speculation.

They are pushing ahead with studies of an intrusive plan to tax cars, using a GPS-like tracker, based on the miles and time of day they travel.

So we applaud the commission for its rejection of a plan to provide free bus service primarily to low-income San Francisco youth.

The 8-7 vote divided along regional lines, with San Francisco and South Bay commissioners overridden by East and North Bay representatives.

The regional vote directly resulted from the proposal, which was an ill-conceived $5 million plan that benefited San Francisco, and Santa Clara County to a much smaller extent, at the expense of other areas.

We appreciate trying to help low-income youth afford a dependable form of transportation. But singling out for funding primarily one transit agency -- especially one unwilling to rein in its costs while continuing to embark on irresponsible construction projects -- would have been unfair and irresponsible.


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If MTC wants to develop an equitable and reasonable fare program for low-income youth, and identifies what it's willing to give up to pay for it, we're willing to listen. This wasn't it.