The grand jury issued a damning report on the planned Central Subway this morning, calling on the SFMTA to redesign the project “to better serve the San Francisco population,” and hire an independent auditor to determine whether the $1.5 billion price tag is realistic, given the pattern of increasing estimates, and the fact that city will have to pick up any cost overruns.
The San Francisco Civil Grand Jury’s 38 findings and 26 recommendations follow a seven-month investigation and repeat many of the criticisms that have been leveled against the project by opponents. Among the main conclusions:
- The addition of a new subway line will add to an existing operating deficit and could stretch the existing maintenance environment to the breaking point.
- There are no plans to address existing problems on the Stockton corridor before project completion.
- There is no effective transfer to the Muni Metro and BART systems.
- It ignores service to the Financial District.
- It ignores current transportation trends.
You can read a full copy of the report here [pdf]. It also includes a number of not-so-surprising findings about the current state of Muni. What effect that grand jury’s report might have on the project wasn’t immediately clear.
The SFMTA issued a formal response this afternoon:
We appreciate the Civil Grand Jury’s interest in the Central Subway project. The report, while comprehensive, does not say anything new about the challenges we face with regards to serving nearly 700,000 riders each weekday, providing more than 1,200 trips through the subway each day, finding ways to maintain and improve the work we do, and balancing a budget in increasingly tough economic times.
The facts about this project remain:
More coverage from the San Francisco Chronicle.