Central Subway going forward despite House’s vote to yank $850M in funds 

click to enlarge Senate is next: House legislation cutting off federal subway funds, penned by Rep. Tom McClintock, must still clear the Senate. - S.F. EXAMINER FILE PHOTO
  • S.F. Examiner File Photo
  • Senate is next: House legislation cutting off federal subway funds, penned by Rep. Tom McClintock, must still clear the Senate.

Despite the passage of a congressional amendment to strip future federal funds from San Francisco’s Central Subway project, Muni is moving forward with the plan as scheduled.

On Friday, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved an amendment to the proposed federal transportation bill that would prevent about $850 million from being used for Muni’s Central Subway project. Muni has already received about $130 million from the federal government, but it is still waiting to hear back on a full funding grant application that would account for more than half the project’s price tag.

Muni spokesman Paul Rose said amendments to strip funds for the project have been introduced in the past without success. He said the agency will continue to move forward with its current plans for the project.

“We know that there is strong contingency of support for this project, both at the local and the federal level,” Rose said. “That’s why we feel confident we’ll receive the federal grant later this year.”

Even through the amendment, introduced by Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, passed the House, it would still need to be approved by the Senate, which is controlled by Democrats sympathetic to The City’s project, and signed by President Barack Obama, also a Democrat, to take effect.

Carlos Sanchez, spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said McClintock’s bill would not hinder the progress of the Central Subway.

“The amendment is a minor setback that can be fixed in conference between the House and Senate,” Sanchez said.

“Completion of the Central Subway will relieve congestion in one of our nation’s most crowded urban corridors, creating jobs and spurring commerce, and I look forward to celebrating a full funding grant agreement later this year.”

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

Bill could block high-speed rail money

The House of Representatives on Friday passed an amendment to a federal transportation bill introduced by a Central Valley congressman that would prevent funding for California’s high-speed rail project.

Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, cited increased estimates for the total price of the rail project amid massive U.S. and California government debt.

“At a time when we’re overburdened by state and federal debt and already struggling to find ways to pay for existing programs, we should not be throwing money we don’t have at a project most don’t have confidence in,” Denham said.

Democratic Reps. Jim Costa of Fresno, Zoe Lofgren of San Jose and Laura Richardson of Long Beach critiqued the amendment as “thoughtless partisanship” and “job-killing.”

The bill would still have to be approved by the Senate and signed by the president to take effect.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

Correction: This story was updated July 3 to reflect that Carlos Sanchez is a spokesman for Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

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Will Reisman

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