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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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