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Ambitious Subway Agenda Endorsed by Transportation Secretary Foxx

When San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener proclaimed last month that his city "should always have a subway under construction," there were many doubters due to the funds required and unlikelihood of federal support. "Aggressive" is good, says Foxx.
October 8, 2015, 10am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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Transit officials from throughout the country were gathered this week in the City by the Bay to attend the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Public Transit Association (APTA). Joe Fitzgerald Rodriguez, transportation beat reporter for the San Francisco Examiner, writes that "while [DOT Secretary Anthony Foxx] only took a handful of questions from local journalists in 10 minutes, perhaps the most controversial concerned San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener’s proposed Subway Master Plan."

The plan would task San Francisco with ‘always’ building a subway, until it has a network of tunnels across The City.

The Examiner asked if Foxx approves of such an ambitious plan – especially in light of dwindling federal funds, which are key to capital projects.

Foxx gave all the reasons to be hesitant to pursue such an aggressive plan. Federal transit funding has gone from an 80 percent match to a 50 percent match, and "you're lucky to get that." The future for federal transit funding is uncertain, particularly with Republicans in charge of Congress.

With that in mind, Foxx said, local transit agencies should still aggressively pursue capital projects, like the Subway Master Plan.

Wiener's reaction: “Secretary Foxx’s support sends a powerful signal that we are on the right track in pursuing this plan. We need to work hard to convince other policymakers of the Secretary’s vision.”

San Francisco is currently building the the 1.7-mile, $1.6 billion Central Subway from Caltrain to Chinatown, and is "studying an extension of the subway to Fisherman's Wharf."

Hat tip: MTC-ABAG Library

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Published on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 in San Francisco Examiner
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