High speed's high risk

Sharon McHugh
Monday 06 Jul 2009

San Francisco’s transit terminal plans revamped to attract stimulus money

Hoping to get a financial boost from federal stimulus money, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) voted this week to modify plans for a new $1.2 billion transit Center in San Francisco. The new plan, which will delay the project’s opening by more than a year until late 2015, will expedite the construction of an underground high-speed train station. Under the old plan the train station would have been built after the terminal opened. But by building it now, the project could save $100 million in construction costs and possibly attract a $400 million grant from the Federal Railroad Administration. The redesign will cost the Authority $15 million and comes with some risk.

If the stimulus money is not forthcoming the Authority stands to lose the $15 million investment. Chris Daly a TJPA Director says the risk is worth taking: “I’m a gambling man and I’m willing to role the dice. High-speed rail is coming to California. It’s coming to downtown San Francisco. Everyone’s excited, but if the construction of the train station doesn’t happen we’re in the hole $15 million." Daly said.

The new transit terminal is designed by Pelli Clarke Pelli. Touted as the “Grand Central Station of the West” it includes a new regional transit center; a revamped rail line with accommodations for a future high-speed line, and a mixed- use tower that will be the tallest building in the Western United States.

Sharon McHugh
US Correspondent

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Architecture
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