The nation’s first high-speed rail station —“one of the most important and transformational public transportation projects in America,” according to the U.S. Secretary of Transportation— is officially underway after a groundbreaking ceremony yesterday in San Francisco.
Federal, state and local officials joined the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) to kick off the $4.2 billion Transbay Transit Center, the northern terminus for the California High Speed Rail system. The multi-modal facility will accommodate 11 transit operators and serve more than 45 million passengers a year.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the future center “a new ‘Grand Central Station of the West.’”
Officials estimate the project will create more than 48,000 jobs in its first phase of construction, which will last seven years. These jobs include the people who will design, build and operate the facility; the manufacturing jobs created by the materials being utilized in the facility; and the businesses providing consumer goods and services to workers and passengers utilizing the Transit Center.
"This is one of the most important and transformational public transportation projects in America,” said U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. "The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Railroad Administration are proud to contribute to the first phase of this effort."
The full Phase 1 (Transit Center) and Phase 2 (Downtown Rail Extension) project and build-out of the Redevelopment Plan will increase the Bay Area’s gross regional product by $80 billion, officials say.
The groundbreaking capped decades of planning. For more than 40 years, San Francisco has been planning for the replacement of the outdated and seismically deficient Transbay Terminal at First and Mission Streets.
The new 1 million-square-foot Transbay Transit Center will feature a 5.4-acre public park on the roof. The five-story Center will include one above-grade bus level, a ground-floor entrance on Mission Street, concourse level, and two below-grade rail levels serving Caltrain and future California High-Speed Rail.
Funding sources for the $4.2 billion project include the federal and California governments, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the San Francisco County and San Mateo County Transportation Authorities and AC Transit, among others. The first phase of the program, which includes constructing the Transit Center, is fully funded, officials said.
“Today we deliver to the public the first new High-Speed Rail station in the United States, the first modern regional bus station in more than 60 years, and after more than 100 years, a downtown San Francisco train station,” said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, Executive Director, TJPA. “This is truly an important time for our city and our state. We are making a real and lasting investment to improve our public infrastructure system while protecting our environment and creating new jobs.”
The Center is scheduled to open in August 2017.