The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the transportation network in the city, today announced that the San Francisco board of supervisors and the SFMTA board of directors unanimously approved several resolutions that will move the Central Subway Project forward.
Of the five measures approved by the board of supervisors, one supports an assurance funding plan that will allow the Central Subway to advance if state bond funds earmarked for the project are delayed. The SFMTA board of directors approved a similar measure. The board of supervisors also passed four resolutions approving the acquisition of temporary construction licenses, allowing work related to the Central Subway tunnel to commence around Union Square.
“The Central Subway will create thousands of jobs, strengthen community connections and significantly speed up travel through some of the busiest areas of the city,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We are thankful for the continued support of our federal partners and their commitment to improving transportation and investing in San Francisco.”
“This resolution brings us one step closer to receiving the full funding grant agreement for New Starts funding later this year,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, one of the sponsors of the resolution. “The Central Subway will dramatically improve transportation for thousands of San Franciscans. With the strong support of our federal, state and local partners, we can continue to move forward with this essential investment.”
The resolutions supporting an assurance funding plan allow the SFMTA to issue revenue bonds in the event of a shortfall or delay in state Proposition 1A High Speed Rail (HSR) Connectivity funds. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA), which is expected to provide nearly $1 billion in funding to the Central Subway Project through its New Starts program, requested this additional assurance as a backup plan.
“This process will assure the FTA that the Central Subway Project has a contingent funding plan in place in the event that these state funds are delayed,” said Tom Nolan, chairman of the SFMTA board of directors. “We expect to receive the full $61 million in High Speed Rail Connectivity funds, but having a viable backup plan in place will ensure that the Central Subway can move ahead as scheduled even if we receive these funds later than planned.”
The other resolutions passed by the board of supervisors approve the acquisition of four temporary construction licenses around Union Square. Work to prepare the project alignment for tunneling is on track to begin in June in this area. The temporary construction licenses would authorize the SFMTA to acquire the rights via eminent domain to install temporary piles that cross into privately owned property dozens of feet below ground. The SFMTA continues to negotiate a license agreement with the owners of the four properties.
“The board of Supervisors has consistently demonstrated support for the Central Subway by unanimously approving each and every piece of legislation related to the project that it has considered,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “As the project continues to advance, we thank our local elected officials for their commitment to improving public transit in the city.”
The assurance funding measure and the four construction license resolutions were unanimously approved by San Francisco’s 11 supervisors. The SFMTA has the authority under the city’s charter to issue revenue bonds to support capital projects.
About the Central Subway Project
The Central Subway Project will extend the T Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, providing a direct, rapid transit link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa and downtown. Four new stations will be built along the 1.7-mile Central Subway Project alignment – a street-level station at 4th and Brannan streets and three subway stations: Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, Union Square/Market Street Station and Chinatown Station.
Travel times through this busy corridor will be significantly reduced by the Central Subway. During peak hours, current travel between Stockton and Washington streets and 4th and King streets takes more than 20 minutes on Muni trolley coach routes. On the Central Subway, the same trip will take less than eight minutes.
The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. The first segment of the T Third Line opened in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years.
The Central Subway is expected to open to the public in 2019.