SF transit runs $90 million over budget

Project delays put San Francisco’s transportation projects in the red

Transportation Management News SF Examiner November 18, 2011
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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) is getting hit with $90 million in projected cost overruns because of long-term delays to major infrastructure and rehabilitation projects, according to the SF Examiner.


Not including the SFMTA’s biggest project — the Central Subway plan — capital ventures overseen by the agency typically run 592 days later than projected, delays that have resulted in millions of dollars in excess costs, according to a new audit.


The audit indicated that the SFMTA could reduce costs by conducting more-thorough risk analysis studies, closely monitoring the time charged by contractors for each project and improving the oversight and involvement of the agency’s board of directors. The audit, prepared by CGR Management Consultants, a private group, identified 19 different recommendations to improve the SFMTA’s capital plans.


The audit of the SFMTA’s capital projects — which entail long-term investments such as vehicle fleet rehabilitation and rail infrastructure replacement — came at the request of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, a separate planning body that is governed by The City’s Board of Supervisors.


Currently, the SFMTA is embarking on 29 major capital plans, not including the $1.6 billion Central Subway project, which is significantly larger then all other plans. The audit recommended counting that undertaking differently for that reason.


The 29 plans are set to be completed over several years and have a projected budget of $800 million. However, because they are so prone to delays, an additional $90 million will be added to their price tag. Of the projects reviewed, just one is projected to come in under budget, and 12 are on track to overrun baseline costs by a combined $78 million.

The audit found that the SFMTA could shave 5 to 10 percent off their capital projects by increasing its efficiencies. With an annual budget of $150 million, that could mean $7.5 million to $15 million in yearly savings.


Ed Reiskin, executive director of the SFMTA, told the Examiner that the agency would probably characterize some of the audit’s findings differently, but he added that the report would be helpful.


He said the SFMTA is working hard on increasing the accountability of its capital program by making the costs and scheduling projections of its projects more accurate.

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