SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The question of what to do with two huge tunnel boring machines that will dig the hole for the Central Subway project in San Francisco is generating more controversy.

On Wednesday night, over 100 people packed a community meeting in North Beach where some neighbors questioned why the machines can’t be left underground.

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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) has already backed off a plan to rip up a section of Columbus Avenue to extract the tunnel boring machines. Instead, the agency plans to tear down the empty Pagoda Theater and pull them out there.

SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin said getting the machines out and tearing down a building many consider an eyesore seems like a win-win for the community.

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“I’ll note also that there was no support in this room at the time to leave the machines buried here in North Beach,” Reiskin said.

The MTA wants to spend $6 million on the extraction, but a subcontractor said it could cost more than $10.5 million. The overall Central Subway Project is expected to cost $1.57 billion.

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