Central Subway project clears major hurdle 

The City’s proposal to move forward with the massive Central Subway project passed a major hurdle Friday, with federal officials approving the go-ahead for final design plans of the transit undertaking.

By giving the approval, the Federal Transit Administration showed that it is committed to reimbursing The City for any investment it makes on final design plans for the 1.7 mile-long subway, which is one day slated to connect the SoMa District to Chinatown and, perhaps, beyond.

The federal approval comes at a time when the Municipal Transportation Agency, which is heading up the project, is working with contractors on designing the tunnel’s infrastructure.

“This federal endorsement is crucial to building the Central Subway and improving our environment,” Mayor Gavin Newsom said. “Our appreciation goes to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer for their continued leadership and support of light rail expansion in San Francisco.”

Although the MTA still has to identify additional funding for the project, the $1.6 billion Central Subway — $1 billion of which is coming from the feds — is scheduled to open up for service by 2018. It is expected to one day carry 100,000 daily passengers.

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Will Reisman

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