The California Transportation Commission unanimously approved a commitment of $61.3 million in state high-speed rail connectivity funds to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s (SFMTA) Central Subway Project.
The Central Subway, which will extend the Muni Metro T Third Line from the Caltrain station at 4th and King Streets through SoMa, Union Square and Chinatown, will offer direct and proximate access to the proposed blended high-speed rail system at 4th and King Streets. The Central Subway ties directly into the future high-speed rail service at 4th and King station and will also be just three blocks from the Transbay Transit Center, the planned terminus for high-speed rail. When the Central Subway is completed, it will provide significant light rail connectivity for high-speed rail and Transbay Transit Center patrons, enabling travel throughout San Francisco.
The connectivity funding comes from the state High Speed Rail Train Bond Program, approved by voters as Proposition 1A in 2008. The program will invest $950 million in capital improvements to rail lines around the state. Eligible rail projects must provide direct connectivity to the planned high-speed train system and its facilities, be part of the construction of the high-speed train system or provide capacity enhancements and safety improvements.
The $61.3 million in Proposition 1A state bond funds is part of a funding plan that includes $942 million in federal New Starts funds for the Central Subway project.
Work on the Central Subway tunnel is progressing in SoMa, with construction of a major excavation known as a launch box under way on 4th Street between Bryant and Harrison streets. At nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide and up to 40 feet deep, the launch box will take up most of the block.
For more on the work that is currently under way, including photos and a video, check out this recent post on the Central Subway Blog.
The Central Subway Project will extend the T Third Line from the 4th Street Caltrain Station to Chinatown, providing a direct, rapid transit link from the Bayshore and Mission Bay areas to SoMa and downtown. Four new stations will be built along the 1.7-mile Central Subway Project alignment — a street-level station at 4th and Brannan streets and three subway stations: Yerba Buena/Moscone Station, Union Square/Market Street Station and Chinatown Station.
Travel times through this busy corridor will be significantly reduced by the Central Subway. During peak hours, current travel between Stockton and Washington streets and 4th and King streets takes more than 20 minutes on Muni trolley coach routes. On the Central Subway, the same trip will take less than eight minutes.
The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Transit Project. The first segment of the T Third Line opened in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years.
The Central Subway is expected to open to the public in 2019.