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Phil Matier: Gov. Brown Overly Confident New Bay Bridge’s Problems Solved

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Bay Bridge Officially Re-Opens After Years Of Repairs
Phil-Matier_BIO-HEAD Phil Matier
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Governor Brown seems fairly confident about the safety of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, some might say too confident.

“You can be sure, since I cross the bridge on a regular basis, that I will take whatever steps are necessary to keep it in place,” he said Wednesday, talking to reporters after talking trade and climate change with the president of Portugal and the ambassador of Peru.

He’s being very cavalier about the safety of the new eastern span, when in fact the real question is whether taxpayers got the bridge we paid for. We paid the highest price in the world for a single tower suspension span off the East Bay shore.

Yet we have problems with leaks and bolts that could wind up costing anywhere from $30 million to $100 million to fix, with some in Sacramento looking at the toll money that commuters fork over as an unlimited supply of cash to pay for these problems.

So are we getting to the root of these expensive problems, and who is to blame?

We can all agree that a lot went wrong. Brown himself famously said, in reference to the Bay Bridge, s- happens.

What I find fascinating about hearings this week on the Bay Bridge bolts is what goes unanswered as state officials ask who bought the bolts, were they manufactured correctly, were they stored correctly, were they installed correctly?

If there were problems with manufacture, storage or installation, the real question is who is to blame?

We’ve already paid the bridge builder about $49 million in bonuses for getting the span built on time. But why wasn’t there a warranty that says taxpayers get a break on the fix-it price?

That is where, I think, the governor is on the cavalier side.

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