SUPPORT DTX FOR LEVEL 1 PRIORITY
WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2022, 9:45 AM (Item 5b: 10:30 am with public comments at 11:00 am). MTC (Metropolitan Transportation Commission) is considering downgrading DTX (Downtown Caltrain Extension) from Level 1 to Level 2 priority—which would jeopardize federal funding. Support DTX as the highest regional priority—to bring long-promised Caltrain to the Salesforce Transit Center. More info and major arguments below. ZOOM LINK: https://bayareametro.zoom.us/j/85868739599
DTX IS LEGALLY MANDATED: DTX is the highest regional transportation priority, mandated by SF voters with overwhelming passage of Proposition H (1999) and prioritized by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) for federal funding cycles. The project is environmentally-cleared. The underground station box has already been built. DTX will connect Caltrain to six Muni lightrail lines, four BART lines and more than 40 multi-agency bus lines at a centralized transportation hub. By 2025, 300,000 cars a day will be entering San Francisco from the South—more than the combined number of cars on the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges. DTX is the top priority to cut traffic congestion on highways, the Embarcadero, streets and arterials.
SF STANDARD: The Best Time to Build the Downtown Extension Was Decades Ago. The Second-Best Time Is Now. https://sfstandard.com/perspectives/perspective-the-best-time-to-build-the-downtown-extension-was-decades-ago-the-second-best-time-is-now/ The proposed extension of Caltrain Downtown to the Salesforce Transit Center will close the gap. The Downtown Rail Extension (DTX) is the single most important unfunded transit project in the Bay Area and the one missing link with potential to take the region’s transit network from good to great.
Letter of support from Lily Madjus Wu, of Transbay Joint Powers Authority
Dear DTX stakeholders:
On Wednesday, July 13, the MTC Programming and Allocations (PAC) committee is discussing Item # 5b, Major Project Advancement Policy, which update the projects under Reso 3434 (which DTX has been on for over a decade) using Plan Bay Area 2050 projects to arrive at an updated list of endorsed projects for State and Federal funding. The PAC is the third meeting happening that morning. Meetings start at 935am but our item probably wont be heard until after 11am.
Here’s the meeting agenda: https://mtc.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=5719012&GUID=16D8D352-06ED-4E18-AFCF-9E2A537BD366&Options=&Search=. Enclosed is the staff report that contains the funding matrix and list of projects to be endorsed, which was initially shared.
Providing the long overview and background for your reference below.
The Major Project Advancement Policy (MAP) includes DTX as one of five Plan Bay Area 2050 endorsed projects.
However, DTX is listed as a level 2 project instead of a level 1 project due to the required criterion that it needs to show over 50% committed funds or it has received a full-funding grant agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration. The proposed assignment of DTX to level 2 puts the project’s federal funding strategy and implementation plan in peril.
The DTX is recognized as a Federal SAFETEA-LU Project of National and Regional Significance, has been formally admitted to Project Development by the FTA in the New Starts process and is on track to submit for Engineering in February 2023, cleared all federal and state environmental requirements in 2019, and is nearing completion of several key milestones such as selecting the project delivery method, completing a governance study, and securing agreements with our agency partners. With these milestones in place or nearing completion, it is critical that we secure funding to both meet our required matching funds and to secure portions of the right of way and begin early preconstruction work.
Thus, we respectfully ask for the MTC’s support and inclusion of DTX in Level 1 in the MAP proposed projects list so that we have MTC’s endorsement to secure a total of $1.5 billion in matching funds prior to submitting our planned FTA request for rating in August 2023. We believe the project deserves to be included in Level 1 based on the following:
1. DTX is Project Ready – the DTX project has been environmentally cleared since 2019 and has received its FTA Record of Decision in 2019. It is in the FTA CIG pipeline in the Project Development phase (the first step to preparing to ask for a FFGA), which positions it to receive up to half of the total project’s costs (about $2.5b of the estimated cost) if we can meet our $1.5 billion required local match share by August 2023. Securing these matching funds leverages billions of federal dollars and allows the project to advance through the FTA process and begin advance work like relocating utilities and securing the remaining right of way.
2. Completion of a larger project within the Transbay Program – With the completion and operation of the $2.3 billion Salesforce Transit Center, Phase 1 of the Program has been completed. Originally conceived and approved by voters as a singular project, the DTX project will complete the Program through its second phase. Taken as a single project and including more than $800 million in existing, committed funds for Phase 2, the combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 project has secured 42 percent of its total costs and is at a critical stage to secure the remainder. This isnt shown on the funding matrix as MTC is considering DTX as a standalone project without the Center. Including DTX in Level 1 will allow the project to compete for these key matching funds and complete two key USDOT investments in the Bay Area: Caltrain electrification (as a project in the FTA CIG pipeline) and the two-story trainbox found under the Center (made possible by 2010 ARRA funding).
3. DTX is a longstanding legacy regional project – For over 30 years, DTX has been an established regional priority project. We have a historic opportunity to deliver this project, which has been on the Bay Area’s regional priority list to deliver since 1988 in MTC ’s Resolution 1876 and most recently MTC’s Resolution 3434 and included in the last several Regional Transportation Plans (Plan Bay Area).
4. Cost Increase Implications – delaying DTX will result in further cost increase. With the current funding opportunities on the State and Federal levels, we can collectively work together to deliver this essential regional project by 2031. With state and federal funds for transit infrastructure at historic levels, there is no better time to deliver on the region’s long held transportation priorities. Missing this funding window would call into question the viability of conventional gauge rail through downtown San Francisco and would add approximately $350 million of cost escalation for every year of delay if we were even able to achieve it in future years.
Lily Madjus Wu
Communications and Legislative Affairs Director
Transbay Joint Powers Authority
425 Mission Street, Suite 250
San Francisco, CA 94105