Van Ness Improvement Project Awarded $75M by U.S. DOT

Dec. 28, 2016
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) was awarded, on December 27, $75 million in federal grant funds for construction on the Van Ness Improvement Project.

The funds, which were announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration, will cover some of the costs of the transportation upgrades included in the project, a major overhaul of Van Ness Avenue between Lombard and Mission streets. The Van Ness Improvement Project will bring about San Francisco’s Bus Rapid Transit system, a globally proven solution to improve transit reliability and address traffic congestion. Features of Bus Rapid Transit on Van Ness will include dedicated center-running lanes, furnished boarding stations and safety enhancements for people walking, including sidewalk extensions, median refuges, high visibility crosswalks and audible countdown signals.

“This $75 million federal grant means better infrastructure and bigger paychecks for San Francisco,” said Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. “Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit will provide safer streets with less congestion and faster transit along one of our city’s most congested transportation corridors.”

“I want to thank Secretary Anthony Foxx, Leader Nancy Pelosi, and all our federal partners for their leadership and support of the new Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit system,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “This funding is a significant step forward in making transit faster and more reliable for all San Franciscans.”

The federal money comes from two sources: approximately $45 million from the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program and $30 million from the Bus and Bus Facilities program. These grants will help the project deliver more reliable service and shorter travel times for transit riders once construction is complete in 2019. They will also help the SFMTA increase the number of vehicles operating on Van Ness Avenue at no additional operating cost. The remaining cost of the project is being covered by state and local sources like San Francisco Proposition K funds.

"We thank Administrator Flowers and the FTA for this grant, which completes the federal, state and local funding partnership that we envisioned years ago when the voters passed Prop K," said Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. "With these funds in hand, we look forward to the efficient and timely delivery of Van Ness as a truly complete street."

Aside from transportation upgrades, the Van Ness Improvement Project also includes replacing 1800s-era water and sewer lines beneath the street and installing proven safety enhancements like protected median refuges and sidewalk extensions that make walking along the corridor a safer, more enjoyable experience.

“We thank Leader Pelosi for her leadership and the commitment from the federal government to improve transportation options for so many people who need it,” said SFMTA Chairman Tom Nolan. “The Van Ness Improvement Project will improve Van Ness from the sewers below ground, to decreasing transit travel time above ground. This grant is another key milestone towards realizing a better, safer Van Ness for people who ride, drive and walk along this busy corridor.”