The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that the Central Subway project, which is Phase 2 of the Third Street Light Rail Project, has received a Record of Decision (ROD) from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

The ROD, which was issued on Nov. 26, 2008, is required under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and represents the final environmental clearance for the project.

The SFMTA board of directors has also approved a $147 million contract for program and construction management of the Central Subway that moves San Francisco one step closer to extending the existing Third Street Light Rail line from 4th and King Streets to Chinatown.

The contract — set to last five years with an additional five-year option — was negotiated by SFMTA staff after a competitive process, with services to be performed by the Central Subway Partnership, a joint venture of AECOM USA Inc. and EPC Consultants, is set to go to the board of supervisors later this month.

The $1.3 billion Central Subway project has been favorably evaluated by the FTA as a "New Starts" project and is receiving federal funding from Congress.

Construction is expected to begin in 2010, with service to the public starting in 2016.

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