May 2, 2012

Measures enable S.F. subway project to move forward

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees the transportation network in the city, announced the San Francisco board of supervisors and the SFMTA board of directors unanimously approved several resolutions that will move the Central Subway Project forward.

Of the five measures approved by the board of supervisors, one supports an assurance funding plan that will allow the Central Subway to advance if state bond funds earmarked for the project are delayed. The SFMTA board of directors approved a similar measure. The board of supervisors also passed four resolutions approving the acquisition of temporary construction licenses, allowing work related to the Central Subway tunnel to commence around Union Square.

The resolutions supporting an assurance funding plan allow the SFMTA to issue revenue bonds in the event of a shortfall or delay in state Proposition 1A High Speed Rail Connectivity funds. The Federal Transit Administration, which is expected to provide nearly $1 billion in funding to the Central Subway Project through its New Starts program, requested this additional assurance as a backup plan.

The other resolutions passed by the board of supervisors approve the acquisition of four temporary construction licenses around Union Square. Work to prepare the project alignment for tunneling is on track to begin in June in this area. The temporary construction licenses would authorize the SFMTA to acquire the rights via eminent domain to install temporary piles that cross into privately owned property dozens of feet below ground. The SFMTA continues to negotiate a license agreement with the owners of the four properties.

The assurance funding measure and the four construction license resolutions were unanimously approved by San Francisco’s 11 supervisors. The SFMTA has the authority under the city’s charter to issue revenue bonds to support capital projects.

The Central Subway is expected to open to the public in 2019.

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