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Central Subway

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Mayor Newsom and SFMTA Join Elected and Community Leaders to Celebrate Groundbreaking for Central Subway

Second Phase of Third Street Light Rail Project Will Connect Communities, Provide Thousands of Jobs

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (center) and others break ground

SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr.
(Photos: SFMTA)

February 9, 2010, San Francisco, CA... Mayor Gavin Newsom today joined the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and numerous elected and community leaders to celebrate the beginning of construction on the Central Subway, which is Phase 2 of the Third Street Light Rail Project. When service begins in 2018, this 1.7-mile extension of the existing T Third rail line will connect communities from Visitacion Valley to Chinatown with modern, convenient light rail service. The Central Subway will improve 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 Central Subway represents a dramatic investment in San Francisco’s transportation future,” said Mayor Gavin Newsom. “Tens of thousands of residents and visitors will use this environmentally-friendly subway to get to work, school and to see their families and friends.”

In January, construction began with work to relocate utilities that currently reside within the footprint of the future Moscone Station and the portal under the I-80 freeway where the Tunnel Boring Machine will go underground. The $9.3 million utilities relocation work is being performed by the San Francisco firm Synergy Project Management, Inc., with completion expected by the end of this year.

“It is incredibly gratifying to see construction begin on the Central Subway,” said SFMTA Executive Director/CEO Nathaniel P. Ford Sr. “We appreciate the tremendous amount of support from federal, state and local officials and the incredible efforts of so many community partners who are helping to make this project a reality.”

Today’s groundbreaking comes as the Central Subway continues to build momentum. Last week, the project again received a positive review as part of the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program with a Medium-High project justification rating and Medium-High overall rating. In addition, the President’s FY2011 U.S. Department of Transportation Budget for the first time included a specific funding recommendation—$20 million to support ongoing design work for the project. Three final design contracts for the project are either awarded or in the final stages of negotiation.

The Central Subway has received $72 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 in January. Service is expected to begin in 2018. The total project cost (with contingency) is expected to be $1.57 billion, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

“After the hard work over several decades, today’s milestone brings us one significant step closer to seeing the Central Subway built, and will help us realize our vision of a 21st century Transit First city,” said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu. “The grassroots support for this project reflects the significant benefits it will provide to communities throughout San Francisco.”

The project will serve as an engine for economic growth and recovery in San Francisco, creating thousands of job opportunities. Recent estimates indicate that the Central Subway will support between 37,000 and 43,000 jobs over the life of the project.

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.

For more information on the Central Subway, and to follow the project’s social media updates, visit

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