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Release date: 9/23/09

*** Press Release ***

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has announced that the Central Subway, which is Phase 2 of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Third Street Light Rail Project, will receive $9.9 million in grant funding this week to support ongoing preliminary engineering and design work for the project.

Earlier this year the project received a positive review as part of the FTA’s New Starts program with a “medium-high” project justification rating and “medium-high” overall rating. The project also received a “high” rating for both environmental and transit supportive land use benefits.

"This ongoing federal commitment is crucial to building the Central Subway and improving our environment,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom.  “Our appreciation goes out to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Dianne Feinstein and Senator Barbara Boxer for their continued leadership and support of light rail expansion in San Francisco.”

“The Central Subway will dramatically enhance San Francisco’s transportation network,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu.  “Thousands of people will ride it to get to school, to work, to where they need to go.”

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 pre-construction and construction phases.  Recent estimates indicate that the Central Subway will support between 37,000 and 43,000 jobs over the life of the project.

"The momentum continues to build for this project, which will connect communities from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.  “We are experiencing this high degree of success because of strong support from across San Francisco.”

The Central Subway will extend light rail service with a surface stop on 4th Street near Brannan Street and subway service under the South of Market, Union Square and Chinatown neighborhoods. It will operate as an extension of the T Third light rail line which opened for full revenue service in April 2007.  The two-phase Third Street Light Rail Project will unite the City’s established civic, business, retail and cultural centers with the diverse communities along the light rail line and encourage economic revitalization along the entire corridor.

With this week’s announcement, the Central Subway has now received $66 million in New Starts federal funding.  Environmental clearance of the project was granted by FTA in November 2008. FTA approval to begin final design should occur by the end of 2009 with construction anticipated to begin in 2010 and revenue service in 2018.  The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion that would otherwise not likely be invested in San Francisco.

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