Phil Matier: BART Oakland Airport Connector Project May Be Too Big To Fail

OAKLAND (KCBS) – Bay Area Rapid Transit’s new interim general manager says stopping the Oakland Airport Connector project could cost the transit agency tens of millions of dollars. BART board member Robert Raburn, whose district includes the area around the airport, had recently pushed to stop the connector, a planned 3.5 mile line from the Coliseum Station to the airport.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

Raburn recently asked interim General Manager Sherwood Wakeman to estimate how much it would cost to kill the proposed $484 million connector. Wakeman said BART has already spent $95 million on the project and it’s unclear how much it would cost to pay off the contractors who’ve already been hired.

”Stopping the project at this point could cost anywhere between $150 million and $200 million dollars,” said KCBS and Chronicle insider Phil Matier. “Even BART insiders had mixed emotions about this project. One guy even called up and said he didn’t like it, and asked how much it would cost to pull the plug. But when he got the bill he saw that it was basically half of what the total is. So I don’t know if it’s too big to fail, but at this point it’s too big to stop.”

Supporters of the project say it will create construction jobs and raise the airport’s profile.

Some transit activists say the money should be spent on increasing bus service, or fixing up BART itself.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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