MUNI 3RD STREET LIGHT RAIL (12/22/06)
MUNI 3rd Street Light rail is three years over its due completion date and $50 million over budget. Does this come as a surprise to anyone?
From its inception with the formation of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) which disbanded a few months after it was created this project has been in disarray. To date there has been NO meaningful community input as far as evaluation and regular meetings to gauge time lines and other essential evaluation through a qualified Project Manager linked to this important mode of transport in the community.
This nonchalant manner linked to MUNI 3rd Street Light rail and its utter fiasco at every level could only happen in the Bayview Hunters Point where local leadership under the District Supervisor Sophie Maxwell is non-existant. Loud mouth, sell out Blacks on the take have helped create this mess and brought disgrace to all San Franciscans.
The SF County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) has a representative from District 10 that encompasses Visitation Valley also that sits on the CAC linked to SFCTA. Fran Martin the representative has not lifted a finger to represent the constituents and less the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail project.
It makes no sense for MUNI 3rd Street Light rail abruptly ending in the middle of the Old Bayshore. One would have thought this light rail would go all the way to Geneva Avenue and then cross Mission Street and connect with a Hub that would contribute to San Francisco being a First Class Transit First City and foster healthy public transportation.
Fran Martin the sole representative on the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) linked to SFCTA has missed many meetings and has not once appeared before the Plans and Programs or any main SFCTA meetings to report about the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail. She rubber stamps anything and everything discussed and uses her position on the CAC to hood wink the community and take money from any source using Sophie Maxwell as the corrupt conduit. MUNI 3d Street Light rail is an over $700 million project that has not helped the Bayview Hunters Point community at all. Most of the jobs on MUNI 3rd Street Light rail went to sub contractors and over ninety per cent of these contracts went outside San Francisco. This is a fact. The Human Rights Commission (HRC) that is mandated to help San Franciscans and contract has helped outside contractors more and San Franciscans less. The HRC under Virginia Harmon has no standards.
The only job given to those that lived in the community and most of them attached to Young Community Developers were as Sign Holders. The job entailed leading pedestrians from point A to point B - mostly, just across the street and at the few crossing points along 3rd Street.
Now, three years past the due date MUNI 3rd Street Light rail is still being tweaked. At this time a serious problem exists with two bridges one at 3rd Street and Cargo and the other at 4th and King. Both these bridges were retrofitted and strengthened to try to meet the demands of the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail - stand the vibrations and the heavy traffic. The problem is unqualified contractors have been doing this job and it will come to haunt all of us sooner not later.
There are very serious issues about the foundation of the bridges that had wooden pilings as foundation before and still have serious problems after many change orders and inept contractors bidding for the job without qualified experience. A through investigation is called to find out the state of affairs linked to these two vital bridges.
Just like that no one factored the training of the Operators to run the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail. The dumb, inept, ignorant, and very arrogant District 10 Supervisor does not consider the project as an abject failure. She cares not that the project is $50 million over budget and that it is three years past the due date and even now experiencing some very serious problems.
As MUNI 3rd Street Light rail was being constructed all along 3rd Street - please follow the map - all along the route is land fill and there were serious issues linked to some toxic hot spots. Believe me very little of the toxic soil was removed. The contractors chose because of lack of planning and monitoring to save money - dug out toxic fill to lay the rails and filled in the toxic soil without following environmental mandates that demand removing the toxic dirt and shipping the toxic soil to certain designated areas at great expense.
In some areas where the contract was given to Pacific Cement very inferior concrete was poured to create an unsound foundation - this could have happened only because of lack of planning and very poor monitoring. Pacific Cement was taken to court for pouring inferior material linked to the Golden Gate Bridge and during the investigation it was found - the same occurred with the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail project and some other projects including Reservoirs connected with San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
One has just to inspect the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail project now and see cracks and very poor job performance. Mitchell Engineering in particular has proved that it has no standards and where ever they were involved - one witnesses very shoddy work.
The electrical work is very poor and electrical wires were left unattended and exposed to the elements for months at end. The hubs where the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail will make its stops have a platform. The platforms are bolted with large metal frames forming a large part of the design and the work done is of very poor quality.
The structure above the platform consists of large iron metal plates to form a design and have been fitted wrong. Recently, after spending months fitting the metal plates wrong to form an unaesthetic design - late into the game the metal plates were unbolted and fitted right.
Some one must have realized at last that all the hubs did not look right. Imagine all the time and money to do the work wrong - only to realize that it had to be done right.
Each hub has some art work also consisting of assembled huge plates of iron in circular and other forms - and they too were not fitted right. One wonders what is happening and why no one has bothered to bring these inconsistencies to the attention of SFCTA , the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), the Board of Supervisors that also sits as the SFCTA Commissioners. There is much diatribe spewed at the SFCTA Commission meeting but never, ever addressing the relevant fact when discussing any major project.
Mr. Nathaniel Ford the current MTA Director just assumed his role as Director. His predecessor Mr. Michael Burns was fully aware of the inconsistencies and corruption but jumped ship in time to leave Mr. Nathaniel Ford holding the bag.
How ever one has to inquire why there is no Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) that remained to monitored and evaluate MUNI 3rd Street Light rail? Why is no one questioning the ineptness shown by Sophie Maxwell? What is Fran Martin doing on the CAC linked to SFCTA and reappointed after missing many meetings still on the CAC? Why is no one talking about the $50 million over budget?
Looking at the current MTA organizational chart many key Managers that were hired to work on MUNI 3rd Street Light rail are no more. Some have left working for the City and County of San Francisco, others have transferred to other Departments, still others are there but not directly involved as before.
The SFCTA has failed to give the constituents of San Francisco a clear picture about this large project. It has chosen time and time again to bombard the constituents with diatribe and long winded statement to avoid the issue at hand. It is time the Federal Bureau of Investigation is called and the Department of Transportation informed about the waste of money in the millions.
Had MUNI 3rd Street Light rail been a Private Company many people would have lost their jobs for dereliction of duty. Over $50 million and no one has lost their jobs and those that created this failure are basking in the sun. Still others think they can get away with murder. I have talked with some of the Operators that are being trained on the MUNI 3rd Street Light rail and they are not happy with the state of affairs. Many of them are aware of the shoddy work and the two key bridges that may fail. They are aware about the lack of planning and inferior training on this MUNI 3rd Street Light rail that is going no where.
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