tv [untitled] October 27, 2011 12:00pm-12:30pm PDT
debated, draft circulated, and there were issues about the chinatown community wanting the freeway rebuilt. there was a very serious discussion the city family had that started at that opportunity, and i was in attendance when the kernel of an idea of a subway was essentially born. the idea was to provide chinatown with a life blood of great access, but not necessarily car access. at the time, there were no details, but at that time, there was the concept that this was something the city should invest in. everything else, was -- everything else, was, like all of these projects, very complex. we have had the debate. we have been the environmental analysis, and we made the decisions with the full scrutiny of the public.
it is way too late to open the discussion now. in my view, the project needs to move forward with all due haste. the last thing we want to do is provide the federal government with any sense that our commitment to the project has wavered. i do not think it has, and i look forward to continuing to work with the mta to make sure we complete it in the timeline and for the money that is at this point agreed upon. i should say about the budget -- i am very glad the issue of the increase from $1.3 billion was in greece -- was clarified. we are partially responsible for that. my own team was at those meetings insisting we should have a decent contingency. that is because i think it is much worse to come to a set of elected officials with a
surprise after the project has already reached its budget because we did on approved inappropriate contingency. it also means it is just a contingency. we are not obligated to approve it. there are precedents for projects in san francisco not using their contingency. i am hoping we can do something similar in this project. it is a complex project, but the point is it is just a contingency. i think it is the right thing and the responsible thing for the project team to put that on the books so we know we will be able to deliver the project without coming back to give explanations for why the money was not enough. again, look forward to continuing to work with mta on the project, and i am happy to answer any questions you may have. supervisor campos: thank you. is anyone from the mayor's
office want to add anything? >> good morning. thank you for the opportunity. i serve as the transportation and admit -- environmental policy advisor for mayor lee. we're here to speak in strong support of the central subway project. the mayor's office responded point by point to all of the recommendations and findings that we were asked to respond to, and i know you have seen those, so i will not go through them point by point, but i did want to give a brief overview of the flavor of our responses. and also expressed that the mayor is very appreciative of the full and strong and unanimous support from the board of supervisors from the central subway project here the project, when completed, will use clean, renewable energy to carry an estimated 44,000 passengers daily and will serve as a vital transit link to an underserved area of the city.
it continues to experience significant growth, and were almost 70% of households are without access to a car. it will also reduce travel time from chinatown to the caltrain station. this is all while creating tens of thousands of local jobs, as has been discussed. we need to remember the big picture. when we talk about the central subway project. we appreciate the comments that have been made to this effect. phase one of the project was the third street light rail project, which established retail and cultural centers with diverse communities along the light rail line and encourage economic revitalization along the entire corridor. the third street light rail open four full revenue service back in april 2007. the second phase, the central subway project operates as an extension of the third street light rail.
1.7-mile extension will have surface stops at fourth street near brandon and subway service with stations at the mosconi center, union square, and chinatown neighborhood. many people forget that these projects are the product of extensive community feedback and planning. the tea has identified the third street corridor with an extension to chinatown as a priority. the need to better serve the chinatown neighborhood was for the necessitated by the 1989 s quick, and since then, the city and mta have explored numerous options for the central subway and conducted comprehensive multilingual public outreach on planning and have coordinated with land use, plant in coordination with the city plan, the downtown plan, the east soma area plan. there has been extended coordination with all of these plans. the project has been fiscally
reviewed four years, as has been discussed under the new program. it has a fully committed plan. once opened, the line is projected to be the highest ridership line in the city. the first two construction projects -- excuse me, contracts, are nearly complete. we feel now is the time to support the city opposing goals of enhancing our transit infrastructure system, encouraging people to get out of their cars, and building the needed capacity for this in the future. the mta submitted its final full funding grant request to the government in september and will be working diligently to finalize the details throughout the last months of 2011. while we appreciate the civil grand jury [applause] interest in the project for the reasons that -- the civil grand jury's interest in the project
for the reasons that were outlined, we did not believe it should alter or halt the construction of this vital transit line. supervisor campos: thank you very much. anything else from the department or the mayor's office? ok, colleagues, unless you have questions, why don't we turn to public comment? i know many of you have been waiting to speak on this item. i have a number of speaker cards. let me read them. go ahead, please. >> supervisors, a lot has been said. let me focus on phase one, the
third street light rail. $700 million was spent on the third street light rail. when it first opened, i waited for over an hour. now, the weight is about 20 minutes. you have heard a lot from some of the authorities, and what i want to say is phase one is a political process, and the people were kept out, and now, there are people -- when we used to speak up at the san francisco county transportation authority, they would laugh at us, but now in phase two, it is going to be the people's process. what we are saying here is too much money is being spent. the benefits are a little. right now in the year 2011, we have to wait sometimes for half
an hour for the light rail on third street. you have some people here who are hard working us -- hoodwinking us, trying to think for us. the people are here to say what they have to say because they are astute. the central subway is a debacle. they are making a lot of promises, but very few of those promises will be kept. why would we accept some project that is going to increase to $1.6 billion -- why should we accept it without having a dialogue? and shame on the supervisors for approving the subway project.
thank you very much. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker please. >> good afternoon. jim lazarus, chamber of commerce. the chamber has supported this project since it started years ago from the county line downtown into chinatown, and we hope that the next resolution from the board of supervisors will be urging the cta and the mta to design the next phase. if this subject was going to go as far as portsmouth square, it would be good enough, but i do not think that in our children's lifetime we will see a subject in to fisherman's wharf. that we will see this line extended into lombard and van ness. that should be the 30-year vision, not fighting over whether we will complete phase two of a previously approved --
and as you heard the testimony of years and years of public meetings here at commissions and a citizens group supporting this project. this is serving the fastest- growing part of san francisco -- districts 6 and 10. in the last census, that part of san francisco added -- pardon me, all of san but cisco added about 30,000 residents. virtually all of that population growth was in this corridor. make no mistake -- this does serve downtown. thousands of people from that corridor worked at union square in hotels, restaurants, retail, walk three blocks down to montgomery street. finally, even the eastern -- or northern ends of the financial district. it is a seven-block walk from the transamerica pyramid to muni metro. when the line is extended, it
will be a three-block wall. we support your resolution. we support the department's responses to the grand jury. supervisor campos: thank you. i had a few more names. [reading names] and then anyone who has not turned in a speaker card who would like to speak, just come on up. >> thank you. i was the chair of the committee that prepared the transportation plan and the sales tax measure, which the voters approved in november 1989, and then, i served on the committee 13 years later that reprogrammed that. i want to give you a little perspective, which the civil grand jury report has nine. the original report calls for corridor studies.
$200 million not to build the line but to start the process. those with third street, north beach, not chinatown, geary street, and the reason there has been little work is that the merchants have opposed any development of transportation on the street for the last 30 years. resources that could have been made available have been spent on third street and on the subway to the north beach, which is one we are talking about. in the initial prtiof -- period, we naively thought we could build a subway ride at the surface of the street and spent years looking into that. it would not effectively go over the bar too, and we also spent several years looking at routes. there were too many curves. it became too long and unfeasible.
the minutes of the transportation authority, the mtc, there was a sober citizens of buys and the committee. there was no reference to that. it was met for 12 years. -- there was a subway citizens' advisory committee. the civil grand jury is i think an anachronism in the 21st century. it is amateurism run amok, and it has caused a great deal of damage to san francisco. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker. >> i want to give thanks to the civil grand jury. they have come -- on a lot of hard work and come up with some very interesting conclusions. the mta and the mayor and the
mayor had not answered any of them. the mta pose the only answers are twofold -- one, we are not going to do it, and two, with respect to the central subway, we are incompetent, but the federal government is looking over our shoulders and will save everything for us -- the m.t.a.'s only answers. the project was started and supported on false premises. the mayor is to invested in the project to make objective decisions. and investors in the mayor would not let him, even if he could. it is on budget -- silly. they said it would cost $250 million. it is not up to $1.6 billion. you just heard the mayor say it
would be 44,000 riders. the empty in its own report says 35,000. which is it? operating and maintenance costs -- they do not talk about the deficits. they first said there would be savings. nonsense. the deficit -- look at the reports of the mta. one of the things they have not told to -- 36,000 hours of surface transportation will be cut to fund the deficits. that means wherever you are in san francisco, you will receive less service. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker. >> good evening. i am going to be talking about
the grand jury findings 118, 20, and 25 -- one, 18, 20, and 25. the response made much of the oversight that the central subway would receive from the federal transportation agency and in response 25, they claim that it -- as communications professionals, the accuracy of all his pronouncements. let's examine the accuracy of these claims. and he repeated that the central subway is highly regarded in washington. on october 18, the transportation authority staff told a citizens advisory committee that "the central subway project remains the highest-rated pre-full-funding grant agreement project in the country." there are 39 new starts projects, and -- new starts and
small starch products. 14 of those projects have a medium-high rating. if you want to see a high rating, go across the bay to the olson drt. it got a high rating. what does a medium high rating mean today? 20 years ago, cost effectiveness was counted. it was very difficult to get a high rating, but no more. as summarized in the "wall street journal account, things have changed -- in the "wall street journal" accounts, things have changed. as a result, all it takes these days to slip a transportation project through the federal process is an ability to track real estate development and engender a local political support. cost effectiveness as a transportation facility no longer counts. supervisor campos: thank you.
next speaker? if there's any other member of the public who would like to speak, please come forward. >> [inaudible] supervisor campos: the names were read already, sir. we read the names of the people that were supposed to come up, and it is up to you to make sure that you come up as the order is called upon. next speaker. >> i think in essence, the grand jury report and many organizations are saying to our elected officials that city- wide, muni is important to them. not just 1.7 miles of system. despite the cost cuts and design changes in the central subway, looking at the plant, as the -- looking at the plan, as the grand jury did, the direct connections to market street and the bart and metro station has
been eliminated. the entire central subway t line does not connect directly into the metro and bart stations, as they do now. thus, there is a loss in standards of service. we strongly support the grand jury goes recommendations for certain specific artists of the project, but moreover, above that, we feel that as part of your duties and due diligence, given the controversy and misinformation that we have seen over many years, that there should be an independent audit of the project as a whole, its finances, and its transportation benefits and flaws. as you know, the fda thefta -- fta has warned us this is the company -- the most complex project that san francisco has overtaken.
it also warned us that cost overruns must be borne by the city. the construction contingency is shown as 3.4%, far below the 20% in the grand jury report. the contingency may well be hidden in other line items. i do not know. but it is unclear. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker. >> thank you. i am michael barrett. i am addressing the grand jury report, which i applaud the grand jury on giving the report, on item 29. the mta said they had no plan to implement the recommendations of the grand jury, which was they
are going to reject the high priority we have placed on improved surface and bus operations. the mta refers to a transit- effective plan study of 2008. they completely ignored that plan. they also referred -- the m.t.a. refers to a chinatown area transportation study of 1996. once again, the mta completely ignores these reports. mta did not report the day the mti reported in 2002, which was brought up by many of their experts, the fact that they included stockton street traffic signals, transit stop for spacing and relocation be completed in three years. it would have cost $9.1 million. they ignored that.
instead, we are looking at $1.62 billion expense. i think the mta has not played with a full deck all along. when it comes to the subway, the subway itself will take longer travel time than the surface by an average of seven minutes, no matter which plan you look at. given this controversy and contradiction, i ask the board of supervisors should apply its due diligence and apply for the independent audit. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker please. >> good afternoon. i am a south of market resident, and a long-time, over 12 years, member of the central subway community advisory group. i just want to say about the community advisory group in all the years i have been meeting
with them, the mta and central subway staff has been very responsive to all the concerns of the representatives of various communities along the entire line from the hunters point bayview through chinatown and over the years. i think that they have not been able to garner the support of those communities. i just want to say, as a longtime member, that i was unaware that the civil grand jury was conducting this report. they certainly did not contact me and solicit any input that i had from my experience, and i did not know that they did from anyone else, either. from a user standpoint, and connectivity issues, you have to look at the connections that are existing right now. the central subway is a huge improvement to the connections with the existing muni metro and
barked --bart. the t line ends and there is a line that i have written many times, and it can take over 30 minutes. this is a project that will serve the increasing development in the eastern part of the city. we hear arguments all the time that we are building projects, not providing transit infrastructure. here's the connectivity and capacity to build san francisco into the 21st century. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker please. >> good afternoon, supervisors. i am year on behalf of the business community and i also served as a member of the
community advisory group. the union square business community has supported the project since 1996, first through union square association and subsequently through the business improvement district. this is a good project. we stand behind it. we should let it roll forward. supervisor campos: next speaker. >> mr. moscovitz over the tells us he doesn't like surprises, but i have one for you. we do not know the cost of the central subway, and there is no way of knowing until the boring starts. the reason for that is this project is below the water table, next to the day. there will be ground water, and the watering plan is to use pumps. those pumps have a capacity, and
if they get overwhelmed, that bore will have to be sealed from two aunts and pressurized with thousands of pounds per square inch in order to keep the water out. what that means is that workers will sit for three hours a shift in compression chambers in order to enter the excavation. the cost of that is enormous. it can be done, but it is enormous. it is something that could happen. proponents say that it will not happen. i am advocating you get someone from the east coast who has nothing to do with this project and ask them the question -- will pressurization have to occur? if it does, we will be stuck with the bill. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker please. >> i am the chairman of the central subway task force for san francisco planning and urban research association.
i am also a resident of russian hill. spur has been a consistent supporter of the project for several years, and i want to address two of the findings that you are called upon to address, which is that muni has done a poor job of meeting or even nearing requirements of proposition e, and muni is not providing adequate service to customers. i maintain that those are both true and that muni cannot do very much about it. muni cannot be fixed, particularly in higher-density areas where you cannot get the buses through. if you watch the buses coming up for street, the 30 and 456 because they cannot fight the traffic. same thing on stockton street pier in the central subway addresses that issue because it provides quick separated exclusive right of way transit for this very heavily used corridor, which is an extremely
slow corridor in a transit system, which is among the slowest in the nation. i note that the report does not oppose the central subway. in fact, it supports it, but argues that essential changes should be made. i have been involved in the process since the late 1980's and in the central subway planning process for about 10 years. i can tell you -- most of these concerns have been address. the one concern that would make the most difference is we need to extend the subway into the northeast part of the city, making it a much more effective and efficient transportation resource for the city. thank you. supervisor campos: thank you very much. next speaker please. >> my name is zack stewart. and number of my friends were passionate about supporting the chinatown