Public Engineers’ Union Misinformation Campaign Against Presidio Parkway Project is a Disservice to San Francisco Citizens

ACEC California today condemned the shoddy “public disservice” campaign of misinformation launched this week by the Professional Engineers in California Government (PECG) union, which aims at stopping an important and badly needed project to improve traffic mobility and public safety in the San Francisco approach to the Golden Gate Bridge. The project is called the Presidio Parkway.

Many transportation experts believe that the existing San Francisco approach to the Golden Gate Bridge is not nearly adequate for meeting today’s traffic needs and safety standards. The Presidio Parkway Project is sponsored by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, which has worked hard for many years to build community support for the project and identify multiple funding sources.

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) is scheduled to consider the project at its May 19-20 meeting in Sacramento.

The project can be completed and delivered to the public much more quickly than traditional methods by using a new delivery technique authorized by SBXX 4, which was signed into law on February 20, 2009. SBXX 4 authorizes state and local transportation agencies to use public-private partnerships (P3s) in order to reduce project costs, expedite project completion or achieve improved design features.

After much study both the San Francisco County Transportation Authority and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) have determined that a P3 is the best structure to design and build the project on time, on budget while achieving high design, construction and ongoing maintenance standards.

Commented Paul Meyer, Executive Director of ACEC California, “It would be a real tragedy for San Francisco residents and visitors, if after all of this work, PECG’s misinformation campaign succeeds in slowing down or increasing the cost of such an important, urgently needed project.”

A recent, thorough analysis of the value of using a P3 to deliver the Presidio Parkway Project is now posted on the CTC website. To see the analysis go to http://www.catc.ca.gov .

Meyer also said that, “In recent years P3s have become a valued and accepted project delivery system throughout the world.” He cited the example of the Australian state of New South Wales. Just this week the former premier of that state, Bob Carr of the Australian Labor party, met with California legislators to discuss how New South Wales successfully used P3s to quickly deliver transportation projects in the run up to the Sydney Olympic games in 2000.

Carr was a P3 skeptic upon taking office in 1995 but soon realized their value and became a supporter of the technique. Since 1995 New South Wales opened six major freeway projects with a total capital value of A$5.4 billion (US$4.85 billion) around its capital, Sydney, at a net cost of only A$ 800 million (US$717 million) to the state government.

“SBXX 4 doesn’t require every project to be built as a P3,” said Meyer. “What it does offer is a valuable tool to public agencies for speeding up the delivery of needed projects. Unfortunately, PECG with its misinformation campaign does not have the public’s interests at heart, apparently only its own.”

ACEC California

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