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Release date: July 19, 2011

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced that the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) Board voted unanimously this morning to approve $57.2 million in Proposition K funds for the Central Subway Project.

These funds will make possible the purchase of two tunnel boring machines and construction of the tunnel launch box. This vital allocation puts a large portion of the funding in place for the $233 million Guideway Tunnel contract that the SFMTA Board of Directors approved at its last meeting.

“The SFCTA is pleased to assist the SFMTA in moving this important project forward,” said Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, Chair of the SFCTA Board. “The density and vibrancy of the neighborhoods that surround this corridor advocate not only for the construction of the subway itself, but also for the use of tunnel-boring machines that will help mitigate construction impacts.”

“This funding by the SFCTA clearly signals to the federal government that San Francisco’s leadership is committed to completing this project on time and on budget,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “I want to thank our partners at the SFCTA for their continued support of this crucial project.”

“SFMTA and SFCTA staff have been working closely over the past few weeks on the details for this funding agreement which maintains the momentum towards a federal full funding grant agreement for the Central Subway later this year,” said Debra A. Johnson, Acting SFMTA Executive Director/CEO.

The Central Subway is Phase 2 of the Third Street Light Rail Project. When service begins, this 1.7-mile extension of the existing T Third Line will connect communities from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown with modern, convenient light rail service. The improved service will decrease transit travel times, relieve congestion, enhance the environment, stimulate economic activity along the corridor and provide thousands of much-needed jobs along the way.

The project has consistently received positive reviews as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program. The Central Subway has received $92 million in New Starts federal funding to date. Environmental clearance of the project was granted by the FTA in November 2008, while approval to begin final design was granted January, 2010. The total project cost, with contingency, is expected to be $1.57 billion. The Central Subway is scheduled to open to the public in 2018.

Proposition K is a San Francisco voter-approved initiative which sets aside local sales tax dollars to finance transportation infrastructure improvements. It was approved by voters in 2003, and the Central Subway Project is included in Proposition K’s 30-year Transportation Expenditure Plan under Major Capital Projects.

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