Wednesday, February 03, 2010

FTA gives strong rating to San Francisco's Central Subway Project

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San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said that the Federal Transit Administration has again provided a strong rating to the Central Subway Project, Phase 2 SFMTA's Third Street Light Rail Project. The Project has received a positive review as part of the FTA's New Starts program with a Medium-High project justification rating and Medium-High overall rating.

In addition, the President's FY2011 U.S. Department of Transportation Budget includes a recommendation that the Central Subway Project receive $20 million in New Starts funding to support ongoing design work for the project. This is the first time the project has been included with a specific recommendation for funding in the President's budget.

"This ongoing federal commitment is crucial to building the Central Subway," said Mayor Gavin Newsom. "Our appreciation goes out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer for their continued leadership and support of light rail expansion in San Francisco."

"We are deeply gratified by this decision," said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.  "We are making tremendous progress toward improved transportation for the communities along the congested corridor that the Central Subway will serve."

The Central Subway has received $72 million in New Starts federal funding to date. Environmental clearance of the project was granted by FTA in November 2008, while approval to begin final design was granted in January. Construction to relocate utilities under 4th Street also began in January 2010. Service is expected to begin in 2018. The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

The project will serve as an engine for economic growth and recovery in San Francisco, creating thousands of job opportunities as the project moves into pre-construction and construction phases. Recent estimates indicate that the Central Subway will support between 37,000 and 43,000 jobs over the life of the project.

The Central Subway will extend light rail service with a surface stop on 4th Street near Brannan Street and subway service under the South of Market, Union Square and Chinatown neighborhoods. It will operate as an extension of the T Third light rail line, which opened for full revenue service in April 2007. The two-phase Third Street Light Rail Project will unite the city's established civic, business, retail and cultural centers with the diverse communities along the light rail line and encourage economic revitalization along the line.

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