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Federal funding recommended for Transbay Transit Center

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

A planned $4 billion Transbay Transit Center in downtown San Francisco took a big step forward Thursday when the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Credit Council recommended the approval of a $171 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan for the project. The loan will help fund 14% of the Phase I capital cost. A combination of federal, state, and local sources is funding the project.

“We are very grateful to the council for this unanimous recommendation of approval,” said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA). “This important step will help us move the project forward and bring to fruition the largest, fully approved transportation project in the country.”

The Joint Powers Authority submitted a letter of interest to the DOT in October 2003 and the application was submitted in October 2008. Following the Credit Council’s recommendation, the next step is for the Secretary to approve a term sheet and loan agreement. The Joint Powers will bring the agreement to its board of directors for approval by November.

TIFIA was established to create a Federal credit program for eligible transportation projects of national or regional significance.

The Transbay Transit Center will replace the existing Transbay Terminal with a multi-modal facility, and centralize the region’s transportation network by accommodating nine transportation systems under one roof. The project also involves extending the Caltrain rail line 1.3 miles into the heart of the Financial District and redeveloping the surrounding area with 2,600 new homes, parks, and a retail main street.

The project broke ground on the temporary terminal in December 2008 and demolition of the current bus terminal is scheduled for February 2010.