NEW YORK - APRIL 12: A Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) worker walks in an underground tunnel for the long-proposed 2nd Avenue subway line April 12, 2007 in New York City. A groundbreaking ceremony was held for the line, one of numerous since the project was first proposed 80 years ago. The first phase of the line is scheduled to be completed in 2013, running from 96th Street to 63rd Street at a cost of $3.8 billion. Upon completion, line would add 8.5 miles of tracks and carry five million riders on weekdays in four of New York City's five boroughs. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
The city's plan to connect Bayview to Chinatown -- and, possibly, one day to North Beach -- moved one step closer to reality this week with the approval of a controversial finance plan.
Muni's board of directors approved the financial plan, an advisory step before submitting the plan to the Federal Transit Administration. The city expects to achieve a grant agreement from the federal government by the end of the year.
Approving the plan required closing a budget gap of $137 million with state bond funds, among other sources.
Nearly a billion dollars more will come from the FTA, bringing the total cost of the project to about $1.5 billion.
"Closing the funding gap for the Central Subway Project stems from the commitment of federal, state and local government and community support from the southeast sector of the City to Chinatown," said Mayor Edwin Lee. "This project is vital to connecting our City’s civic, business and cultural centers with our diverse communities along the corridor."
Not everyone is pleased by the project. Some observers claim that the subway isn't needed, is purely a political gift from former Mayor Willie Brown to his Chinatown backers, and will slow down existing transit. They sent out email blasts opposing the finance plan, but were unable to sway the board of directors.