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SF Central Subway Foes May Sue After Union Square Plans Approved

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San Francisco Central Subway

Map of the proposed Central Subway in San Francisco. (SFMTA)

BarbaraTaylor_KCBS_0001r Barbara Taylor
Barbara Taylor is the long time San Francisco City Hall Bureau Chief...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — While city officials approved plans for a Union Square station on the Central Subway, opponents said they could file lawsuits to put the brakes on the project with the hope of derailing it entirely.

On Thursday, San Francisco’s Recreation and Park Commission unanimously signed off on the plan that would bring the subway system to Union Square.

But Jerry Cauthen of Save Muni, a group opposed to the subway system, calls it the subway to nowhere because of the estimated $1.6 billion cost and its route from the Caltrain station to Chinatown that includes only four stops.

KCBS’ Barbara Taylor Reports:

Cauthen said the decision for the Union Square station is flawed because it violates the City Charter, which states that there must be a recreational component for the project to move forward. Therefore, he said, it must go before San Francisco voters.

“We don’t believe that San Francisco voters, knowing everything they know now, would approve that entrance into Union Square which would, in effect, stop the project,” he said.

Stopping the Central Subway dead on its tracks is the ultimate goal of Save Muni, which is trying to raise money to file a lawsuit.

“That’s our position right now,” Cauthen said. “It should not be built at all because it’s too flawed to be built.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera said he has already cleared the station plans, citing a 1981 legal opinion that allowed the installation of manhole covers in public parks and recreational areas.

Some construction for the Central Subway is already underway. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, which operates Muni, is waiting to hear back next month on its $942 million federal grant application that must be approved by Congress.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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