Tech giant Google has agreed to donate $6.8 million to San Francisco to fund free Muni passes for low- and middle-income youth, under a deal brokered by Mayor Ed Lee, city officials said Thursday.
The donation is enough to cover the projected cost of the program for two years. It comes as tech companies are facing a steady backlash from city residents upset about rising housing costs and gentrification, which are often blamed on the large numbers technology workers living in the city but commuting to Silicon Valley on corporate shuttles.
"This is a good first step," said Supervisor David Campos, one of the program’s most vocal supporters at City Hall. "It’s a sign the community is being heard and, certainly, it’s appreciated, but there are still more discussions to be had around the future of free Muni for low- and middle-income youths and other issues around affordability."
Jane Martin, political director for the community group POWER, noted that the donation comes in the wake of a “growing movement against displacement.” She hopes the tech companies and workers will not just give money but “come to the table to work on solutions,” to broader displacement and affordability issues in the city.