- San Francisco supervisors sitting on the San Francisco Transportation Authority board voted Tuesday to withhold additional money for the $2.2 billion Salesforce Transit Center and denied a $9.7 million funding request submitted by the Transbay Joint Powers Authority that would have started the process of bringing rail service into the transportation hub. The money would take a planned Caltrain extension to the 30% design level.
- Chair Aaron Peskin led the charge against funding the Caltrain downtown extension into the transit center, which is expected to one day also accommodate the California High-Speed Rail Authority's bullet train. Peskin and other board members questioned the authority's management and financial capabilities, but said they would be open to eventually granting the funding request after a thorough review and possibly even handing over management of the Caltrain extension to another agency. Members of the public also spoke at the meeting, with several expressing support for the extension.
- The authority also updated board members on the status of testing and repairs to cracked steel beams discovered in one area of the facility in late September. Authority staff told the board that pending a Metropolitan Transportation Commission peer review, sampling of the beams in question should begin and take approximately five days. Once the lab has the samples, the results should be available by mid-November. When it is determined whether the root of the problem is due to fabrication, installation, design or some flaw inherent in the material itself, then a fix can be determined.
The discussion of whether to spend more money and bring trains into the transit center has been a discussion since the cracked beans were found just a little more than a month after the facility opened for business. However, some officials are adamant about seeing the transit center fulfill its intended purpose. For instance, Gerald Cauthen, the project's former deputy director, said recently that the transit center was designed to provide train service and if that plan did not come to fruition, then the project would be "nothing more than a $2 billion bus stop."
The authority is also in the midst of a legal struggle with general contractor Webcor/Obayashi. The joint venture, which built the transit center, is suing the authority for $150 million after claiming the agency breached its agreement by not being able to make the "critical decisions required to keep the project on time and on budget."
The legal action does not address the cracked beams, a situation which the authority says Webcor/Obayashi is obligated to make right.