SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A group of state and regional transportation officials recently traveled to China where they participated in a $200,000 celebration of the final fabrication of the new $6.3 billion eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

Workers for a Shanghai company this week put some final touches on sections of the span.

Over the weekend, bridge contractors hosted a barbecue for hundreds of Chinese workers in China. Contractors paid $150,000 for this and other parties.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier said that the Bay Area Toll Authority paid $50,000 for the celebrations, along with more than $20,000 for flights and hotels for seven of its commission and staff members, as well as two representatives from the California Transportation Commission.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier Comments:

”Let’s be realistic about the $150,000. The contractors are going to throw the party, and eventually, where is the bill going to end up? It will probably end up as part of the cost of building the bridge,” said Matier. “So who is going to wind up paying for a lot of this? The people on the bridge are – the people paying tolls. It is the way of the world.”

Caltrans has had as many as 65 workers in China for the past five years.

Its officials insist no one made a special trip from Sacramento just for the celebration.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (6)
  1. lawless says:

    And people wonder why we are having a financial crisis? Lets stop wasting tax dollars and bridge toll money on parties. Fire caltrans and the contractor, let the factory in china throw a party at their expense if they desire. But flgith for Cal Trans workers and hotels in China,. whoever approved this needs to be fired!

    1. javier says:

      Phil, why don’t you run for mayor? At least we would have someone who’s actually checking the books. BTW, why do we need commissions of people who are basically doing absolutely nothing, but showing up at meetings where they get free food and drink at tax payer expense… We’re now three years into a recession in which the feds. have no answer to, and will not do anything to fix it.

  2. fred thompson says:

    China paid for THIS but.. in reality we paid for it.In lost jobs ( using Chinese materials and labor). We paid for it in taking 21 years to build a bridge??!! Imagine if it had taken that long to build the GGB.? We’d be celebrating the 50th anniversary instead of the 75th. This whole thing has been yet another boondoggle. Sad sad sad and disappointing.

  3. myles says:

    I would be OK with the concept of a party to celebrate a milestone event if it was taking place in Milpitas, Fremont or even Nebraska! But China? Is there any question why our unemployment rate in CA is well over 10% when we outsource large jobs like this overseas? We really won’t need a new bridge when our unemployment rate hits 100%. Unless the bridge is to China.

  4. blktro says:

    With all the partying plus expenses, i can now say that the toll is going up again (F%#&2rs)

  5. all for one one for all says:

    Thank you, Phil. Now – who do we hold accountable and how?

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