New Reports In: Central Subway Cost Overruns Continue…

If you’ve not already checked out the SF Appeal, San Francisco’s newest online news source, you really should. It’s a great new resource for local news, and I’m really rooting for them in these turbulent times for local news. They just started up last week, and already have some interesting news worth reading.
The Central Subway – a project that’s been beset with problems since it was conceived – is experiencing some rather dramatic cost overruns as the contract to manage the project has ballooned. And oddly enough this outsourced project is going to a former MUNI boss. Hmm.
The Central Subway project continues to roll along, despite its many problems, because the MTA is accepting federal money for the project, and once a project starts to go through the federal process, you can’t change it without returning the money (which hasn’t been completely secured, by the way).
As it stands, the Central Subway will continue to consume more and more resources, and eventually cripple the MUNI Metro system, without really helping anyone. And any talk of it “going to North Beach” is just talk – the chance the Catholic Church and the “build nothing” crowd in that part of town would allow a massive turnound bored under the church by Washington Square Park is fairly remote.
There are other ideas to help move people more effectively in Chinatown and downtown (do recall that the Stockton Tunnel was originally built for a streetcar line that served the area), but they’re essentially moot since any changes would mean starting from scratch with the federal government – and that’s not likely to happen either.

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3 Responses to New Reports In: Central Subway Cost Overruns Continue…

  1. anonymouse says:

    I have a much cheaper alternative suggestion: why not build the line at street level? There’s plenty of room on 4th Street at least, and Stockton in Chinatown could be reconfigured to have only the light rail and delivery trucks (and slightly wider sidewalks). And even if the trains are slower, it might actually be a net gain in travel time, since passengers won’t have a long walk from Market to Union Square for the transfer and a long trip up three flights of escalators in Chinatown.

  2. Greg says:

    @anonymouse: I agree 100%. However, the feds are pretty strict about funding and if the city tried to use federal dollars for something NOT the project the dollars were requested for, they have to give the money back.
    People are so keyed up to “keep the money” they’re willing to push through a project that helps no one, and will cost billions. No wonder people dislike us sometimes.

  3. anonymouse says:

    Question is, how much cheaper is a surface alignment compared to the subway? At $40 million a mile, it’s only $80 million, and still less than just the project management contract to get all the way to Van Ness/North Point. At double that, $320 million to go all the way to Van Ness and North Point still seems like it would be within the city’s means, even without federal help.

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