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Phil Matier: Bay Bridge Workers Party It Up In China

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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