$260M Bailout Approved for Transbay Transit Center

May 4, 2016

San Francisco has approved a $260 million bailout of the major Transbay transportation and development project Tuesday after multiple errors have sent costs soaring to nearly double the initial estimate.

But the bailout is only for Phase One of the project.

When construction began in 2008 on building a new Transbay terminal and a six-story Transbay Transit Center — long celebrated as the “Grand Central Station of the West” — the project was estimated to cost $1.189 billion. However, “due to numerous errors” that cost has since ballooned by 90 percent, or $1 billion, for a total project cost of $2.259 billion, according to a report by Budget Analyst Harvey Rose.

A recent Metropolitan Transportation Commission review of the project blamed the soaring costs on eight main factors, including inaccurate engineering estimates, a complex design resulting in only a handful of qualified bidders, and “optimistic escalation cost factors which did not reflect today’s actual market trends,” according to Rose’s report.

Other changes have occurred amid the cost escalation: the Department of Public Works has an agreement with the authority to assume management of the construction.

Read more about the Transbay Transit bailout in the San Francisco Examiner here: