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Release date: February 7, 2012

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which manages transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today received a letter granting federal approval to proceed with a key component of the Central Subway Project. The approval, a letter of no prejudice (LONP) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), allows the SFMTA to commence work that will prepare the 1.7-mile project alignment for tunneling and station construction.

"I join Mayor Ed Lee, SFMTA Chairman Nolan and Director Reiskin in applauding today's action," stated Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "We are one step closer to a full funding commitment from the federal government to the Central Subway—creating jobs, improving transit and relieving congestion in one of the most crowded corridors in the nation."

“The Central Subway Project will create jobs, improve local and regional transit options and reduce congestion in one of the busiest areas of the city,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “We are grateful for the support of our federal partners and look forward to more good news from Washington.”

“The federal government’s consistent support of the Central Subway is a testament to the importance of this project and the merit of our vision for improving transit in San Francisco,” said Tom Nolan, Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “Once in service, the Central Subway will decrease transit times and improve access to jobs, commercial areas and cultural venues for residents and visitors alike.”

Issuance of the LONP provided the newest indication that the full commitment of federal funding through the FTA’s New Starts program may be forthcoming. The SFMTA submitted an application for the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), the formal agreement of federal financial assistance, for the Central Subway Project in September 2011. A decision on whether the project will attain the FFGA is expected this spring.

“Year after year we have received positive feedback on this project from the FTA,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “With this letter in hand, we are one major step closer to completing this essential infrastructure investment in San Francisco’s future.”

The LONP will allow the Central Subway Project to complete the following work:

  • Excavation of the tunnel portal and mobilization and setup of the tunnel staging area at 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets.
  • Construction of a steel and concrete deck structure at the tunnel staging site to carry traffic over the excavation site.
  • Installation of below-ground structural supports at three locations: the tunnel staging site, the Moscone Station site at 4th Street between Howard and Folsom streets and another site within the project alignment at 4th and Jessie streets. The structural supports will act as watertight barriers and stabilize the construction sites.

This is the second of two LONPs the FTA has issued to the SFMTA for the Central Subway Project. The first allowed the Project to install overhead trolley wires to reroute electric trolley coaches around construction sites north of Market Street.

About the Central Subway Project

The Central Subway Project will extend Muni’s 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 – an above-ground station at 4th and Brannan streets and three underground stations at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. Phase 1 of the project constructed a 5.2-mile light rail line along the densely populated 3rd Street corridor. This segment of the T Third Line began revenue service in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years.

Revenue service on the Central Subway is expected to begin in 2019.

For construction updates and project information, please visit

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