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Release date: 4/16/09

*** Press Release ***

Budget Challenges Prevent Facility from Being Fully Operational

San FranciscoThe American Public Works Association (APWA) has selected the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Muni Metro East Light Rail Vehicle Maintenance and Operations Facility (MME) as a Public Works Project of the Year for 2009.  Sharing this honor with the SFMTA are Stacy and Witbeck, Inc., and Gannett Fleming, Inc. the primary contractor and consultant on the project respectively.  The APWA recognizes select projects around the United States for this prestigious award, which will be presented in a ceremony at the 2009 International Public Works Congress and Exposition in Columbus, Ohio this September.

Unfortunately budget challenges have so far prevented the SFMTA from bringing the state-of-the-art MME facility, which opened in September 2008, completely online.  Like transit agencies around the nation, the SFMTA has seen its revenues and revenue projections plummet as a result of the global economic downturn.  More than 60 employee positions that the SFMTA planned to hire to make MME fully operational cannot be filled because of declining revenues this fiscal year and the Agency’s $130 million budget deficit for Fiscal Year 2010, which begins on July 1.  Among other fiscal blows, the State of California this winter essentially abandoned its commitment to fund transit operations for at least the next five years, resulting in a $43 million loss to the SFMTA’s operating budget.

MME is located near San Francisco’s eastern waterfront and flanks the City’s T Third Line.  This13-acre storage, maintenance and operations facility is an important component of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Project. An ambitious two-phase enterprise, the Third Street Light Rail Project was conceived to enhance connections between some of the City’s most traveled destinations while improving Muni’s infrastructure, enhancing Muni’s support capabilities and ensuring system sustainability for future generations. MME will be the operating base for the Central Subway, Phase II of the project.

MME’s 40-foot-high, 180,000 square foot, multi-tiered facility holds the promise of increasing Muni reliability by providing daily servicing of trains, preventive maintenance, running repairs and heavy repairs along with various support shops and a 16,000 square foot storeroom. The facility features a paved storage yard with 15 storage tracks that can accommodate as many as 80 trains. MME’s on-site parking lot includes 170 parking spaces allocated for both employees and non-revenue vehicles. The yard also accommodates storage for maintenance-of-way vehicles.

Muni’s light rail system was previously housed at only one full-service facility, Green Division at Balboa Park, to serve the J, K, L, M, N and T light rail lines, which collectively had more than 43 million boardings in the last fiscal year. That facility was built to accommodate 80 vehicles. Prior to the opening of MME, Muni’s entire fleet of 151 vehicles was dispatched and maintained there.  The goal is to move approximately half of Muni’s LRVs to MME, but currently only 35 are based at the facility.

Other local, regional and federal agencies that contributed to the completion of this $200 million project include: the Federal Transit Administration, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Department of Public Works, the Public Utilities Commission, the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Mayor’s Office on Disability.

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