MAYORS BUDGET TOWN HALL: CENTRAL SUBWAY OVERBUDGET BY $400 MILLION+

FRIDAY, MAY 17, 3 PM, Mock Funeral (Small Business Week) by No North Beach Dig, at 721 Filbert/ Columbus.
SATURDAY, MAY 18, 10 AM, Mayors Budget Town Hall, at Galileo Academy, 1150 Francisco/ Van Ness.
Speaker cards will be selective—but support speakers opposing the Pagoda/ Central Subway Projects

SaveMuni.com                                            Revision B  May 15, 2013
CENTRAL SUBWAY OVERBUDGET:  FISCAL CRISIS CONCEALED
Without the sunshine of independent audits, huge cost overruns for the Central Subway Project are being concealed—to force city officials and taxpayers into future debt loads.
According to the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), all project contracts have been awarded or bid.  Based on available data, contingency funds are now at insufficient levels or gone altogether—even before major construction begins for tunneling and deep excavations:

chart

Attached: Total Project Budget and Contracts List

Given the FTA’s designation of the Central Subway as high risk and given the problematic history of tunneling, the Central Subway will go over budget by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Without full independent audits, hundreds of millions of dollars of cost overruns are being concealed—to force city officials and taxpayers into future debt loads.

MUNI SERVICE CUTS FOR YEARS TO COME
The Central Subway will absorb most of San Francisco’s transportation capital budget for years to come, sacrificing essential transit projects.  As required by the FTA, San Francisco’s taxpayers will pay for all project cost overruns—with decreased Muni operating funds and service cuts.

  • Cost overruns do not include the unnecessary Pagoda Theater Project, which is also going overbudget, taking at least $9.15 million from Muni operating reserves.
  • SFMTA can save up to $80 million by burying, dismantling or extracting tunnel boring machines in Chinatown (like New York, Chunnel, Brisbane…) and deleting the 2,000 foot tunnels from Chinatown to Washington Square.
  • These cost overruns are stunning, since the Central Subway’s budget has already increased from $647 million to $1.578 billion since 2003.
  • Moreover, design cuts have reduced quality, shortened station platforms to maximum 2-car lengths (forever limiting passenger capacity), eliminated moving sidewalks, reduced fire exit paths….

Central Subway Has Already Cut Muni Service:  To get local matching funds, the Central Subway has drained Muni’s operating/ maintenance funds—-causing service cuts, route eliminations, deferred maintenance, crumbling infrastructure, missed runs, switchbacks, shorter “holiday” schedules, increased fares/ fees/ fines/ meters….

  • In 2007, the new T-Line (Central Subway Phase 1) eliminated the 15-Kearny Bus/ 20 Columbus Bus and cut hours for the 41-Union Bus.
  • In 2009-10, budget deficits led to 15%+ service cuts, including 6 discontinued routes, 16 shortened routes and reduced operating hours on 22 additional routes.
  • If built, according to FEIR and FTA documents, the Central Subway will take $15 million annually from Muni operating funds and cut 34,000-76,000 bus hours/ year from the 8X, 30, 45 bus lines.
  • With elimination of the T-Line’s Embarcadero loop and direct connectivity to Market Street’s BART/ Metro Stations, the Central Subway will cut transit service levels for hundreds of thousands of riders.

Central Subway a Development Deal, Not a Transit Project.  Initially a political deal, the Central Subway is now driven by developers, real estate interests and the 1% who benefit financially—at the expense of Muni riders and taxpayers.  Commuter links to Caltrain will drive up land values, development, gentrification, rents and evictions—hurting affordability, diversity, middle-class families and the Mediterranean quality of northeastern neighborhoods.

  • For the Central Corridor Plan on Fourth Street, business associations are already lobbying for densities higher than proposed by the Planning Department.
  • On October 9, 2008, the Planning Director and a Planning Commissioner held a Chinatown meeting for “Rezoning Chinatown”.
  • The illegal 2,000-foot tunnels from Chinatown to North Beach sneak in part of a northern subway without environmental reviews and public processes—sacrificing fragile businesses for development.

“If they build the Subway, it will ensure major, major new development at the stops in Chinatown and North Beach; and in terms of scale, these neighborhoods will never be the same again.”Allen B. Jacobs,  Past SF Planning Director & Dean of UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

Abandon the wasteful Central Subway and Pagoda Theater Projects;  Invest hundreds of millions of dollars into revolutionizing Muni throughout San Francisco.  Follow examples of stopping the Embarcadero Freeway and Alaska’s Bridge to Nowhere.

The Central Subway’s local funds and recovered federal funds (like Sarah Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere) can quickly create transit-preferential streets, pedestrian-bicycle enhancements, street beautification, robust commercial corridors and neighborhoods.  By example, in 1973, Zurich’s voters rejected an expensive subway project and voted instead to implement a less costly transit-priority program—-leading to one of the world’s highest per capita ridership rates because its transit service is fast, frequent, reliable and inexpensive.

ZURICH: The World’s Best Transit City:  http://www.planetizen.com/node/53044
ZURICH STUDY:http://www.andynash.com/nash-publications/Nash2001-Zurich-PT-MTI-01-13.pdf
ZURICH VIDEO:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=280mYXdci4w

Regards,
Howard Wong, AIA
www.SaveMuni.com
http://nonorthbeachdig.org/

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