Posts Tagged ‘pay machine only’

Central Subway Boondoggle UPDATE: “Rescue MUNI” Sells Out But “Save MUNI” Remains on the Case

Monday, December 5th, 2011

Here’s the latest from Save MUNI:

“Central Subway Boondoggle  =  Waste and Inefficiency

A Vibrant Citywide Muni System  =  Revival and Value”

But those sellouts at Rescue MUNI (who with regularity have the gall to complain about Save MUNI), or most of them, anyway, think that the politically-motivated Central Subway is A-OK as it is.

But You Make The Call.

Here’s Rescue MUNI’s “CS Fact Sheet,” which basically tears apart a straw dog, and here’s Save MUNI:

“SaveMuni.com Comments:

CENTRAL SUBWAY AUDIT

On November 15, 2011,  the Transportation Authority held a hearing on the new MTA Audit and ignored the Audit’s 46-page “Appendix VI: Central Subway Project”.  Several press articles reported that the Audit examined 29 construction projects, excluding the Central Subway Project.  But in fact, the “Limited Scope Performance Audit” evaluated the Subway’s financial risks—although it did not study transit effectiveness because of the contract’s limited scope.

MTA & CENTRAL SUBWAY AUDIT:  Central Subway, Pages 171-217.

http://www.sfcta.org/images/stories/Executive/Meetings/board/2011/11nov15/CGR%20Audit%20Report%20(Scanned).PDF

Auditors may be constrained in their criticism—especially when the scope of work is narrow and their client is a likely future customer.  But reading between the lines, the Audit forewarns of potential future fiscal troubles. SOME HIGHLIGHTS:

  • ·    “The potential for variation in the final cost of the project is large” (Page 172):  The Audit expands on the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) concerns about construction and financial risks.  In the context of the Audit’s study of 29 MTA construction projects and their delays/ cost escalations, past performance is an indicator of future risks.
  • ·    “The Central Subway Project is the highest risk project that the SFMTA has undertaken” (Page 184):  The Audit expands on the FTA’s concerns.
  • ·    “There is a 30% likelihood of the total project cost in year of expenditure dollars being equal to or less than $1,578 million” (Page 185).  The audit couches potential cost overruns in terms of financial probability theory.  Although construction contingency dollars and schedules have been increased, the history of large infrastructure projects, in the Bay Area and throughout the United States, shows astronomical cost overruns and unpredictability—within the same financial/ management models.  Moreover, in latest project budgets, contingency dollars appear to have decreased.
  • ·    “A study of the funds required for maintaining the state-of-good-repair expenditures revealed that SFMTA’s total assets on the FTA’s Condition Code were above the 2.5 out of 5 minimum required by the FTA” (Page 197).  With the current $1.9 billion in deferred maintenance and $1.6 billion in budget deficits over the next 20 years, MTA should have already devoted higher expenditures to maintain assets in a state of repair.  Instead, the Central Subway will only lead to more service cuts, life-safety threats and draconian revenue hikes—unless the project is halted.
  • ·    “However, full funding is not guaranteed and the availability of funds when needed may still be an issue” (Page 198).  Officials and the citizenry are increasingly scrutinizing the Central Subway’s data falsifications and misrepresentations—while the FTA reviews the final application and the State of California faces increasing budget deficits and bond indebtedness. 
  • ·    “The Audit Team is not aware of consequences for the [MTA] Board or the Board Members if performance is unsatisfactory, nor are there any criteria that define what constitutes unsatisfactory performance” (Page 210).  By the Central Subway’s estimated completion date in 2019, most elected officials will not be in office and many MTA staff will be retired.  History indicates that it’s too easy to spend other people’s money.  The political benefits and quid pro quo of large infrastructure projects outweigh actual transportation benefits.  Unless the MTA Board, staff, consultants, Supervisors and Mayor bear some personal liability, taxpayers will be singularly liable for future cost overruns and crippling deficits. 
  • ·    “Now, at the half-way point in the project, the cost estimates at completion are approximately double that at initiation” (Page 213).  Again, past performance is an indicator of future performance.
  • ·    “[SFMTA] will comply with Prop K policies to delay the expenditure of Prop K funds to the extent possible without putting the project at risk” (Page 271).  However, the Subway’s budgets show $72 million of Prop K funds will be expended in the next two years.  The recent MTA contract for tunnel boring machines usurped $57 million of Prop K sales tax funds—in lieu of restoring service cuts or improving citywide Muni.

Central Subway Boondoggle  =  Waste and Inefficiency

A Vibrant Citywide Muni System  =  Revival and Value

 Regards,

www.SaveMuni.com”  

Choose or lose!

And Another One Bites the Dust: Electric Carmaker “Green Vehicles, Inc” Dies, Taking a Ton of Government Dollars

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

I don’t know what made the mayor of Salinas, CA think that he could See The Future, but he used to think that way, back when he sunk about $500,000 of municipal funds into now-defunctGreen Vehicles, Inc.

This was the three-wheeler that was going to sell for $25k:

From happier times:

“Green Vehicles was co-founded by Ehab Youssef and Mike Ryan in the wake of a failed ZAP! dealership originally in Los Gatos, California. Disappointment in the state of the battery electric vehicle industry at the time led the small company to take on the ambitious goal of making the world’s most sustainably made, energy efficient freeway commuter.

In 2008, the company changed course, abandoning its manufacturing base in China for an 80,000 sq ft (7,400 m2) facility in Salinas, California in order to make changes to manufacturing operations more consistent with the principles on which the company was founded. Green Vehicles recently applied to the state of California and received supplemental funds to implement Design for Manufacturability and Design for Environment changes before increasing commercial production volumes of the Triac 2.0

And here’s your timeline:

“On July 30, 2010, Green Vehicles was awarded a grant for over $2,050,000 by the California Energy Commission to assist the company’s efforts to scale up manufacturing operations in Salinas, California.

On July 18, 2011, Green Vehicles announced it had ceased operations, citing a lack of capital. Virtually all of its funding had come from state and local government grants”

Oh well…

The San Francisco Parking Lot Hustle Continues – Do Not Pay This Man!

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

It looks like the people at KPIX CBS-5 had it right last year when they repeatedly reported on the “parking hustle,” which involves people posing as lot attendants and pocketing some quick cash. Some parkers, such as Shane, get major bummed when they find out later on that they also need to pay the parking lot owner.

Why don’t people pay the actual real attendent? Because there isn’t one on duty in most cases. Why? Because that would cost money. But the folks over at Central Parking have found a way to warn drivers by posting a photo of one of the alleged imposters. How thoughtful.

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