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Scramble to fund new Golden Gate Bridge approach as city needs $60M match for $1.1 billion project

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POSTED February 6, 2012 8:20 p.m.

 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The $1.1 billion project to replace San Francisco's dangerous approach to the Golden Gate Bridge could face another delay, as leaders scramble to line up funding.

The first phase is nearing completion on Doyle Drive, the approach originally built in 1937 that sits on unstable soil and lacks a median or shoulders. Crews have been working since 2009 to build a new highway interchange, viaduct and tunnel for the 1.6-mile road that's been newly dubbed Presidio Parkway.

The second phase was scheduled to start within weeks, but the San Francisco County Transportation Authority must come up with $60 million that hasn't come through from federal and state sources, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The state had pledged $34 million to the project but that money won't arrive quickly enough. The California Transportation Commission is now considering whether to allow the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the Bay Area's transportation planning and financing agency, to advance the amount, which the city would pay back over several years.

Officials also must find another $26 million, following an unsuccessful bid to redirect federal money that had been earmarked for two other regional transportation projects.

Jose Luis Moscovich, executive director of the city's Transportation Authority, told the Chronicle he's optimistic all the funding will come through.

"What you have is a regional project with undisputed regional importance that is half-built," he said. "I think it is a bit far-fetched to think that it would be stopped because we can't find what amounts to about 2.5 percent of the cost."

A delay could further drive up costs on a project that already has faced a series of problems, including design changes and heavy rains last winter. The price is already $25.5 million more than projected, and the scheduled reopening has been pushed back from late 2014 to early 2015.

Officials are aiming for a March deadline to find the additional funding. It likely won't come from the state Transportation Department, said Kome Ajise, the department's manager of the private-public partnership with Golden Link Partners, a private consortium that is helping build Presidio Parkway.

 

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