edlee_swornin.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Ed Lee today criticized fellow mayoral candidate and City Attorney Dennis Herrera for his recent criticism of the Municipal Transportation Agency’s Central Subway, calling Herrera’s opposition “political shenanigans.”

The Central Subway project, a new 1.7-mile branch of the T-Third line that would link the city’s South of Market neighborhood to Chinatown, has faced increased criticism in recent months.

In July, a San Francisco Civil Grand Jury released a report calling for the overhaul of the $1.6 billion project, which the report alleged was inefficiently designed and overrunning its budget.

Herrera, who is vying along with Lee to win the city’s mayoral election in November, has also recently expressed concerns about the project, according to campaign spokesman Matt Dorsey.

“The plan that’s on the boards now at the current level of costs has ceased to be a prudent investment in his view,” Dorsey said.

He said Herrera plans to release a statement detailing his position and the rationale for it later this week.

Speaking to reporters at an unrelated event this afternoon, Lee did not mention Herrera directly, but appeared to be referring to the city attorney in his criticism of opposition to the project.

“Why would you want to pick this time, especially after maybe being silent for the past couple decades serving in the legal capacity?” Lee said.

He said he has called several state and federal officials to reassure them that the city is supportive of the project, which is receiving the majority of its funding from the state and federal level.

SFMTA’s leadership held a separate media availability earlier today to defend the Central Subway project in response to the recent criticism, saying it has received widespread support across several mayoral and Board of Supervisor administrations.

Lee echoed those comments, saying the project “has met with every approval from every regulatory agency that’s been involved.”

He vowed the city “will be doing all the things we can to move this project along.”

The line, scheduled to be operational in 2019, will run north along Fourth Street from Brannan Street before going underground at Interstate Highway 80, with subway stops at Moscone Center, Union Square and Chinatown.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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