By Wilson Walker

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — Contractors are struggling to find enough qualified workers to get San Francisco’s massive new Transbay Terminal completed on time.

Any electricians in the Bay Area should be aware the contractor is looking for laborers and would love to hear from interested parties.

Steve Heminger with the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Commission is still enthusiastic about the project, despite the challenges contractors are having.

“Oh, it’s gonna be a beautiful facility,” said Heminger. “There’s no question it took a long time. There’s no question it was expensive, but it’s gonna be a real stunner when it opens.”

When walking through the still under construction project, a couple first impressions immediately hit visitors.

The building enormous. As you walk around, it seems to go on forever. With palms, redwoods and sycamores already growing inside, it’s incredibly lush.

Transbay Terminal in San Francisco (CBS)

But for a building that’s supposed to open on June 1st, it sure seems like there is a lot of work yet to be done.

“The main impediment right now is getting the electrical work done. It’s a huge building,” said Heminger. “There’s a lot of electricians that were needed. And we’re in the middle of one of the hottest economies in years. Just as any homeowner can tell you it’s hard to get an electrician these days.”

So it’s a looming construction setback on a scale the size of this building. On Friday, transit planners wrestled with what a delay would mean for the project’s budget, in large part because — for the foreseeable future — the building is going to operate at a loss.

“The idea is to defray that operating cost with private tenants who will take up a big footprint of the building,” said Heminger. “But you can’t get the tenants in till you get the building done.”

And if the operating deficit does grow because of a delay, someone has to cover that cost. And it could be the very transit agencies that want to use this facility.

“To be fair, AC Transit and Muni were going to be paying something,” said Heminger. “But they weren’t expecting numbers like this.”

So the clock is ticking as some 400 workers try to get the project back on schedule to make the June 1st deadline.

The $6 billion project was designed to be a hub for buses and trains, even though it will be many years before any trains pull into the station. That fact has lead critics to describe it as a glorified bus station.

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