Ruling delayed on stimulus application for new train station

Construction of a new Transbay Transit Center could be delayed, after the federal government announced it would not announce before winter whether $400 million in stimulus funds will be provided to build a train station beneath the site.

Transbay Joint Powers Authority directors voted in June to delay completion of a new transit center at First and Mission streets until late 2015. The decision was made based on the hope that the Federal Railroad Administration would provide $400 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds needed to add an underground train station into the project’s design.

In June, a ruling on the $400 million was expected to have been issued by early October. But the FRA announced on Tuesday that the decision would be delayed until winter.

The delay in the ruling could delay reconstruction of the transit center, according to project spokesman Adam Alberti.

“We need those funds to be committed to begin construction,” Alberti said. “The longer they take, the longer we have to worry about managing our program.”

Demolition of the existing transit center had been expected to begin early next year, after a nearby temporary transit center is up-and-running.

The delay in the $400 million funding announcement was the result of an overwhelming number of applications for high speed rail stimulus funds, Administrator Joseph Szabo said in a statement.

“These include 45 applications from 24 states totaling approximately $50 billion to advance high-speed rail corridor programs,” Szabo said in the statement. “We also received 214 applications from 34 states totaling $7 billion for corridor planning and smaller projects.”

Local transit officials hope to eventually secure $2 billion to extend a rail line from Fourth and King streets to the rebuilt Transbay Transit Center for Caltrain and bullet trains, which are expected to reach San Francisco by 2020.

If the $400 million is not provided for the $1.6 billion bus and train station, then the new transit center is planned to be built as a $1.2 billion bus stop. It would cost an estimated $500 million to excavate and build an underground train station beneath the site after the bus terminal has begun operating.

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