Mayor Lee Announces Strong Federal Support For Central Subway Project

02/17/11- Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) today announced that the Central Subway Project – Phase 2 of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Project – received a strong positive rating from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) in their latest annual New Starts Report. Its “medium high” rating ties the project as the highest rated of all infrastructure projects participating in the Report.


In addition, President Barack Obama’s Department of Transportation Fiscal Year 2012 proposed budget was released this week and called for allocating $200 million for the Central Subway Project. For the second year in a row, the Project has been included with a specific recommendation for funding in the President’s budget. 


“We are extremely pleased to see continued support from the highest levels of the federal government for this crucial transportation infrastructure project in San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “Our deepest appreciation goes to President Obama, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer for their vision, leadership and support to expand transit light rail in our City.”


“This strong backing reflects the progress being made by the SFMTA to move this project closer to becoming a reality,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “This light rail project will serve one of the most densely-populated and transit-dependent communities in the country and provide a vital transportation link connecting people from the farthest communities in the City to downtown and Chinatown.”


Environmental clearance for the project was granted by the FTA in November 2008. The project team has completed the design plans for the Guideway Tunnel which is the largest construction contract in the program estimated to cost approximately $195.5 million and will be advertised for bid by the end of this month. Design plans for the three Central Subway stations at Moscone Convention Center, Union Square and Chinatown are advancing and these contracts will go out to bid later this year and early next year.


“Speaking for Muni customers and all of us at the SFMTA, we are delighted with President Obama’s continued willingness to support and invest in our country’s transportation infrastructure,” said Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.  “The Central Subway Project has gained tremendous momentum and is on track to receive the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the FTA by the end of the year.”


Construction to relocate underground utilities for the Moscone Station and Portal Tunnel, which was the first construction contract to go out to bid, is nearly complete and will be finished within the next three months. In January, the project was awarded its second construction contract to relocate underground utilities for the Union Square Station. The contractor began work earlier this month.


The Central Subway will extend light rail service north of 4th and King Streets with a surface station at 4th and Brannan Streets providing a transfer point for Caltrans users. The light rail line will then travel north up 4th Street and descend underground at the I-80 Freeway. There will be subway stations at Moscone Center, Union Square/Market Street and in Chinatown on Stockton Street. The Central Subway will operate as an extension of the Third Street Light Rail and is expected to carry 64,000 passengers daily by the year 2030. The project will serve as an economic engine creating thousands of job opportunities for people throughout the Bay Area.  The Central Subway is expected to start service by 2018.