SF Native Skeptical of Transbay Terminal Project

Construction for the new Transbay Terminal has begun; well, actually, just demolition of the old one. The new Transbay Terminal will serve as terminal/stop for AC Transit, BART, Caltrain, Golden Gate Transit, WestCAT Lynx, Amtrak, Greyhound, Muni, SamTrans, Paratransit and the future high-speed rail to Los Angeles. A temporary terminal serves commuters up until 2017 when the four-billion dollar project is scheduled to be completed.

After reading these estimates, I heard the little voice in my head say: “2017? Uh, no.” “Four billion dollars? No.” If I’ve learned anything about public projects from being a San Francisco native, it’s that they always cost more than expected and are never completed on time. The problem seems to get worse as the years go by. Take our “future” Bay Bridge for example. It’s four billion dollars over budget and will possibly be open by late 2014, seven years behind schedule. A project as complex as the new terminal is probably going to go way over budget and probably won’t be completed until the 2020’s; I hope I’m wrong. Furthermore, should we really be focusing on a multibillion dollar publicly funded project during a recession? Shouldn’t we instead be spending the money allotted for this project to repay California’s debt and attract investors to the state?

Looking at the positive side of things, the construction project is providing many jobs (such as those lost because steel pieces for the new Bay Bridge were manufactured abroad) and will be a state of the art design that will bring California’s transportation system up to par with some of the most technologically advanced and efficient transit systems on earth. The new terminal will feature a 5.4 acre park on the roof and 100,000 people are expected to use the terminal on each weekday. A new neighborhood with housing, shops, and offices will also be created around the new terminal.. USF students who travel between home in the Los Angeles area and school in San Francisco will benefit from this terminal. Students travelling from parts of the Bay Area such as the East Bay and South Bay should also find the new to be beneficial and convenient.

The new Transbay Terminal is a great idea and will probably prove itself to be very functional and appealing. The start of this project seems to be timed right; with expectations for the human population to grow in size, rush hour traffic is just going to get worse and worse, and the modes of transportation to be offered by the new Transbay Terminal should definitely help diffuse some of that traffic flow.

The time and money allotted to complete the project look good on paper, but in reality, the project will probably cost more and take longer to complete than expected. The terminal is an extraordinary project, but I’m definitely looking at the numbers given for time and money with lots of skepticism.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Opinion Editor: Vicente Patino

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