Central Subway problems persist

Op-ed by Gerald Cauthen : sfexmainer – excerpt


Have you ever wondered how the Central Subway project, a 1.7-mile rail extension of Muni’s Third Street line from Fourth and King to Chinatown, managed to get so bollixed up? Here’s a brief history of what happened:

At the end of 2017, it was announced the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s Central Subway manager, John Funghi, was leaving his post for the $1.6 billion project to work on Caltrain electrification. His departure came shortly after Tutor-Perini, the station contractor, released a report Nov. 1, 2017, showing that the project is more than two years behind schedule and burdened with more than 1,300 construction contractor claims outstanding — only 73 of which had at that time been addressed by the SFMTA — leaving the remaining 94 percent awaiting “processing.”

As things stand, the trains won’t be rolling into Chinatown before Spring 2021, at least 29 months behind schedule.

The true extent of the project’s construction cost and delay problems are now revealed: The Tutor-Perini report submitted to Supervisor Aaron Peskin lays out the problems in detail and asks Peskin, who is also chair of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, to help resolve the hundreds if not thousands of outstanding issues between it and the SFMTA. In view of the many months of the Federal Transportation Administration’s Project Oversight Reports repeatedly warning of unfilled SFMTA positions and other staffing problems, and of accumulating contractor claims and accruing project delays, this came as no great surprise.

Yet, as recently as three months ago, the leadership of the SFMTA was still contending that, although the actions of the contractor had delayed things by nine months, the project was still within budget. That was before the 1,300 claims came to light; it is now clear the project is both way behind schedule and way over budget. From what has been revealed to date, it appears that because of a “head-in-the-sand” response to serious Central Subway design and construction problems, the ultimate cost of the project has increased substantially, thereby placing the SFMTA and San Francisco taxpayers in financial jeopardy… (more)

Gerald Cauthen represents SaveMuni, an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization created to help find ways of improving Muni and the other transit services leading into and serving San Francisco.

Lack of jobs is hardly a problem. A lack of talented workers is. This is exacerbated by an agency that can’t say no to every hair-brained scheme special interest groups come up with. If the SFMTA were only allowed to work on one large construction project at a time and finish it before starting another one, we might have a system and city that functioned.

We understand SFMTA is giving project managers multiple projects to manage. We were told that is what happened on Potrero. Their excuse is that if they don’t start a project they lose funding for it. The SFMTA and the director have bitten off too much to chew and they have buried their heads in the sand in hopes we won’t notice their incompetence. They will continue the blame game while biting the hands that feed them until they are put out to pasture. The voters have a say if the Supervisors give them a chance to restructure the department.


CHRONICLE:  “Rats scatter from Central Subway construction”


Central Subway construction will continue through the holidays at two NorthBeach sites, the Pagoda dig and the newly announced Bank of America dig.

Most here figured there would be a holiday construction moratorium, but this applies only to work on City streets and property.  Work on private property is exempt from the moratorium, including the Pagoda and BofA sites.

By signing this petition, you can tell the decision makers below that holiday construction here is unacceptable.  Messages will be emailed automatically to each of them when you sign the online petition.  Call your Supervisor, the Mayor, and Muni (SFMTA) and let them know residents and businesses here have been through enough this summer and fall, and deserve a peaceful holiday season.

Mayor Ed Lee, City Hall, Room 200,1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, S.F. CA 94102  (415) 554-6141 , mayoredwinlee@sfgov.org
Supervisor David Chiu, City Hall, Room 244, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place, S.F. CA 94102    (415) 554-7450 , David.Chiu@sfgov.org
Mr. Ed Reiskin, SFMTA Director of Transportation, One South Van Ness, S.F. CA 94103  (415) 701-4720 ,   ed.reiskin@sfmta.com

Please alert your fellow merchants and neighbors. 

Save NorthBeachVillage