SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. /California Newswire/ — On Tuesday, Mayor Edwin M. Lee and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) announced that the federal government has once again demonstrated strong support for planned improvements to public transportation in San Francisco. President Barack Obama’s federal budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2013 includes a recommendation for $150 million in funding for the Central Subway Project and $10 million to implement bus rapid transit on Van Ness Avenue.

“These crucial investments in our City’s transportation infrastructure continue to receive strong support from the highest levels of the federal government,” said Mayor Lee. “We thank President Obama, Democratic Leader Pelosi, Senators Feinstein and Boxer and all our federal partners for their consistent leadership and their commitment to improving public transit, creating jobs and investing in San Francisco.”

“President Obama’s budget reinforces the federal government’s commitment to creating jobs and reducing congestion in San Francisco with the Central Subway,” said Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. “I will continue my work, along with Mayor Lee and local business and community leaders, to ensure the Central Subway becomes a reality for San Franciscans.”

The Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) New Starts program recommended funding for the Central Subway. The FTA’s Annual Report on Funding Recommendations, which was released today, demonstrates the federal government’s support for the Central Subway Project. For the fifth consecutive year, the planned 1.7-mile extension of the T Third Line received a rating of medium-high – the highest rating given this year to projects currently undergoing the New Starts review process.

According to the FTA report, the Central Subway Project is one of only six projects nationwide that are on track to receive a Full Funding Grant Agreement, the formal agreement of federal financial assistance through New Starts, by the end of FY2013. The SFMTA submitted an application for full funding in September 2011 and is expecting a decision this Spring.

New Starts has awarded $92.4 million to the Central Subway Project to date. The project is expected to cost about $1.6 billion in total, with the federal government contributing close to $1 billion.

The Central Subway Project is the second phase of the SFMTA’s Third Street Light Rail Project. So far, the Third Street Light Rail Project has received $256.8 million in federal funding, including $123.4 million for Phase One of the project. Phase One constructed the 5.2-mile segment of the T-Third Line currently in service between the Sunnydale Station in Bayshore and SoMa’s 4th Street Caltrain Station. The SFMTA will receive 50 percent of the funding for the Third Street Light Rail Project from federal sources.

The FTA report also gave a medium-high rating to the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project, recommending $10 million in funding in FY2013 through the Small Starts program. The Small Starts program invests up to $75 million in transit projects with total projects costs of less than $250 million.

The total cost of the Van Ness Avenue Bus Rapid Transit project is projected to be $125.6 million, including about $75 million in planned federal support. The project would improve bus travel along this crowded corridor by creating a dedicated bus lane along a two-mile stretch of Van Ness Avenue, from Van Ness Avenue and Lombard Street in the north to South Van Ness Avenue and Mission Street in the south. The project will also enhance pedestrian safety, upgrade bus shelters and optimize traffic signal operations, among other improvements.

“These projects will reduce congestion, decrease emissions and improve access to jobs, education and cultural amenities for the communities they serve,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Edward D. Reiskin. “We are incredibly grateful for the continued support of the federal government, and we look forward to more good news from Washington.”

About the Central Subway Project

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 alignment—an above-ground station at 4th and Brannan Streets and three underground stations at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

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 began revenue service in April 2007, restoring light rail service to a high transit-ridership area of San Francisco for the first time in 50 years. Service on the Central Subway is expected to begin in 2019.

For construction updates and project information, go to