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Release date: September 7, 2011

*** Press Release ***

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the City, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today was joined by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce and the Union Square Business Improvement District (BID) to announce the receipt of $20 million in federal funds for Phase II of the Third Street Light Rail Project, the Central Subway. In addition to these funds, the SFMTA announced that it will send to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) the final submittal for the New Starts Full Funding Grant Agreement by Sept. 19. These leaders of San Francisco’s business community stood with the SFMTA at the announcement in order to highlight the importance of the Central Subway Project to San Francisco’s economic growth.

“The momentum continues to build for San Francisco’s Central Subway Project because it will expand transit options in the heart of the City,” said Jerry Lee, Vice Chairman of the SFMTA Board of Directors. “The City’s transportation infrastructure serves as the lifeblood of our expanding industries as well as our vibrant neighborhoods and the residents, visitors and employees that support them.”

“The completion of the T Third light rail project with the Central Subway represents an investment in the future of San Francisco,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation. “The SFMTA and its City partners are committed to working with communities from the Bay View to SoMa to Chinatown to ensure that gridlock does not paralyze the City’s economic growth.”

“The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce continues to support the Central Subway Project for the simple reason that it will improve San Francisco’s economic growth,” said Jim Lazarus, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Public Policy. “Economic growth does not happen by accident. A great workforce and the right policies bring businesses to the City; well-planned infrastructure makes it possible for them to thrive here.”

The project will serve as an engine for economic growth and recovery in San Francisco, creating thousands of job opportunities as the project moves into the construction phase. The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) has estimated that for every $1 billion spent on transportation infrastructure projects 30,000 jobs will be created. During these difficult economic times, the progress and development of the Central Subway will employ thousands of individuals throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Furthermore, the improved service will decrease transit travel times, relieve congestion, enhance the environment and stimulate economic activity along the corridor.

The project has consistently received positive reviews as part of the FTA’s New Starts program. The new infusion of $20 million from the program means that Central Subway has received $92.4 million in New Starts funds to date. The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

The SFMTA continues to work closely with its funding partners: the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the leadership in Sacramento and the FTA. This collaboration has leveraged state and local funds to secure $942.2 million in federal New Starts funding for this project that would otherwise be unavailable to San Francisco for any other project. The New Starts program is highly competitive, and other cities and regions would benefit if these funds were redirected.

The FFGA is the formal action embodying the federal government’s financial commitment to the Project, currently projected to be $942.2 million. The submission that the SFMTA will make by Sept. 19 will begin the final review by the FTA, followed by the 60-day Congressional review and awarding of the FFGA in early 2012.

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