SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – There was more fallout for the closed Transbay Transit Center Tuesday after a city decision to withhold funding from the Transbay Joint Powers Authority.
It has been 28 days since the sudden closure of the brand new $2.2 billion transit center due to the discovery of the first of two cracked steel beams. At a meeting by the San Francisco Transportation Authority Board Tuesday afternoon, those cracked beams were still reverberating through City Hall.
There were some pointed comments and criticism leveled at the TJPA by the board, which voted to withhold funding from the organization, citing mismanagement and a lack of transparency.
“The only tool we have to fix this is money,” said SF Supervisor Aaron Peskin, who also serves as one of the chairs for the San Francisco Transportation Authority Board.
But the struggle here is really about power. The vote by the board is effectively an effort to block the TJPA from managing the next phase of the project: the $6 billion job of getting trains into the Transit Center.
“It means that the TJPA is going to have to get out of the way,” said Peskin. “Right now, rule by TJPA is not working. Everybody acknowledges that.”
But the authority warned that will only delay the downtown extension and drive up the cost.
“A six-month pause would be a $100 million to the budget of the project. So it’s critical that we keep on moving forward,” said TJPA Executive Director Mark Zabaneh
Peskin was quick to discount that idea.
“Not to put too fine a point on it, but the TJPA talking about delays is less than credible,” said Peskin.
As for the cracked beams that forced the closure of the Transit Center, officials may be inching closer to determining what might have caused the cracks.
A team of forensic metallurgists from the east coast is standing by to take samples from the first beam that was discovered to be cracked. That should take five days with an additional two weeks required for testing. Officials say they should know what went wrong with the beam by the middle of November.