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T-Third Mission Bay loop moves forward

The Mission Bay Loop project for the T-Third Muni line will be able to proceed after a judge ruled last December that the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency did not have to complete a new environmental report for the project.

City Attorney Dennis Herrera announced the ruling last month, saying the ruling confirmed The City performed a complete environmental report and that new report was not needed.

Petitioners William Schwartz and Richard Weiner, representing The Committee For Re-Evaluation of the T-Line Loop, said in a lawsuit filed on Sept. 26, 2014, that the project needed a new environmental report assessment because of changes in the neighborhood since the 1999 report.

The project is part of the T-Third line that would provide a turnaround for the T-Third on Illinois Street between 18th and 19th streets. The transit agency said the loop would help to remove disabled trains and to turn trains around for special events and during peak periods of travel between Mission Bay and the Market Street subway.

The transit agency approved a contract for the project with Mitchell Engineering on Sept. 18, 2014. In March 2015, the state court of appeals issued an injunction, which halted construction work of the project pending a resolution.

Schwartz, a Dogpatch resident, has been outspoken about the project. SFBay previously reported on a hearing of the Mission Bay Loop project in 2014 at a Board of Supervisors committee, where Schwartz said the old report did not take into consideration how the neighborhood has changed over the last 15 years.

He also said that area was not an ideal place to put the loop, and suggested in the hearing to move the loop closer to Muni Metro East facility.

But SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin said at the time that the project was tied to federal funds, which would not allow the transit agency to change its plans. The SFMTA has $10 million in federal funds for the project and would have to use the funds by Sept. 30, 2018.

The court of appeals dissolved the injunction to temporary stop work on the project last month, said Matt Dorsey, a spokesman for the city attorney.

SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose said the transit agency does plan to still complete the Mission Bay Loop project before the Central Subway opens in 2019. The Central Subway is an extension of the T-Third line to downtown San Francisco and to Chinatown. He did not give a date when construction would potentially start.

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