MUNI official cites federal aid for Central Subway
By Mike Aldax
June 21, 2007
John Funghi of the Municipal Transportation Agency reiterated
Wednesday that the federal government supports a controversial
Central Subway plan that would bring light rail service into San
Francisco's Chinatown by 2016.
Funghi told critics who say the $1.4 billion plan is an ineffective
use of funds that the San Francisco project is one of only 15
projects nationwide approved for the funding.
The government has earmarked $762 million for the project, according
to the MTA.
"The government provided (the project) with a favorable
rating compared to other transportation project costs in other
cities," Funghi said.
In February, the project's proposal was given a medium rating,
which allows the MTA the opportunity to lobby for more funds in
the 2008 national budget.
Funghi said the issue is not about whether we should spend the
federal money on alternative local projects. If the Central Subway
project doesn't happen, "It won't mean federal money will
stay in San Francisco," Funghi said. "The money might
go to projects in other (U.S.) cities."
The Central Subway project would extend light rail service in
a subway tunnel under the South of Market, Union Square and Chinatown
neighborhoods, relieving pressure on the 30 and 45 bus lines,
among others, according to the MTA
The project would not mean the discontinuance of either bus line
except for the 30 short line, which currently ends in North Beach.
The 1.7-mile extension would connect to the new T-Third line,
which serves the city's southeastern neighborhoods, according
to the MTA.
MTA projects more than 20,000 people to ride Central Subway each
day, claiming it would relieve congestion on bus lines, improve
transportation service reliability and provide connections to
Caltrain, BART, and Muni Metro.
But in January, an independent study commissioned by the MTA
suggested that the Central Subway was a costly investment that
does little to address future transit needs.
Engineering consultant Thomas Matoff, the city's former director
of transit planning who analyzed the project, said in January
that the Central Subway plan fell short.
"As proposed," Matoff wrote, "(the project) does
not, apparently, effectively meet the market needs in the corridor
it is intended to serve."
Funghi said the MTA continues to amend the project. The next
steps for project planning include implementing cost reduction
measures, finding more funding, continued public outreach and
advancements on preliminary engineering.
Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication,
Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent
of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.