The expansion of the T-Third, expected to cost around $1.6 billion, will mostly be paid for with federal funds. But Muni needs to provide more than $100 million, and possibly more than $200 million. That's going to be a challenge for the cash-strapped agency, which has seen rider abandonment en masse as service is cut, fares go up, and technical failures render the system unusable.
Changing political players could also delay Muni's access to money.
To close the gap, Muni may go ofter state bonds. One likely target is a high-speed rail bond, designed to help passengers connect between different transit agencies.
In order to ensure funding of the subway, Muni needs to prove that the project will benefit citizens and businesses, and won't negatively impact the rest of the system. That's a point of contention, with some local transit activists claiming that the subway line will prove under-used and disruptive to existing service.
Meanwhile, Muni has re-instated its ambassador program, which was cut in September after funding ran out. Under the program, a team is dispatched to high-crime areas to monitor and intervene in potential altercations. It costs half-a-million dollars.