This is from back in 2008, when the Central Subway project was projected to carry 100,000 riders per day and spin off cash for the SFMTA to use to fund the rest of MUNI:
“There’s really only one question to ask about the proposal to bore a light-rail subway deep under the heart of downtown San Francisco. You’re kidding, right?“
“Just the initial math makes your head hurt. Basically it works out to somewhere between $1.22 billion and $1.4 billion for an underground railway that runs for less than two miles and has only three stops. That’s not a transit system, it’s a model railroad.“
“Throw in a few of the inevitable cost overruns and this could work out to a billion dollars a mile.”
“No matter. This is the kind of big, splashy project that city officials love to put their name on.”
“Basically, the argument seems to boil down to this - we’ve got the money (as if federal tax dollars grow on trees), the Chinatown community is behind it, why not build it? Oh, let me count some of the reasons.”
“But, critics say, a stop on Market beneath which BART and other Muni lines already run might have made this whole thing an easier sell. That would have created an opportunity for a single station where riders could make connections between regional and local trains, almost like Grand Central Terminal in New York. Instead,riders will have to walk all the way up to Union Square.”
“Oh, and did I mention that in order to get under the BART tube, the subway station at Union Square will have to be at least 95 feet below the surface. That’s nine stories.”
“What is it about that image of deep, underground dirt-munching machines in earthquake country that makes me wince?”
And this is from 2013, after the projected ridership has plunged to about 30,00 per day and its obvious that this subway is going to be a massive annual drain on MUNI’s operating budget:
I believe the vast majority of the city would love to have a north-south subway that extended from SoMa to Fisherman’s Wharf.
There has never been a city that has regretted building a subway. It’s a great system of transit, it gets people off the street and underground, and it doesn’t experience delays like buses.
What they don’t like is constructing a subway. It’s messy, dirty and noisy. But the result is worth it. Suck it up.”