Mayor makes pitch for Candlestick road bond funds

Mayor Gavin Newsom put his mayoral muscle into getting voter-approved transportation funds to improve the roadway leading to Candlestick, to the chagrin of the San Francisco supervisor who heads up the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

The passage of Proposition 1B — a transportation bond worth $4.5 billion — has municipal agencies scrambling to put together competitive proposals.

San Francisco Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who chairs the Transportation Authority, accused Newsom’s office of negligence by not advocating for the Harney Way project in time to allow for a public review of the proposal, and said Newsom’s last-minute request could jeopardize needed funding for the two other projects, including the replacement of Doyle Drive.

“They’ve known about this [the deadline],” McGoldrick said. “I don’t know what the level of ability is over there, but the attention to detail seems to need some sharpening.”

Jesse Blout, director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said his office was not informed until last week that the fast-paced process for proposals was not just for 2007, but also for 2008 funding.

On Dec. 1, Newsom sent a note directly to Steve Heminger, executive director of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the regional body responsible for allocating transit funds, asking that the Harney Way project be included on San Francisco’s list of proposed projects for Prop. 1B funding.

The roadway improvements are essential to proposed plans for a development project at Candlestick Point that would include housing and commercial development — whether or not the San Francisco 49ers decide to build a new stadium at the site, Newsom said on Tuesday.

Last month, 49ers co-owner John York called Newsom to say the site didn’t fit the football team’s needs and that the new stadium would be built in Santa Clara — news Newsom has also said caught his office off guard. On Tuesday, Newsom said The City has been pitching the former Hunters Point shipyard as a possible alternative site for the football stadium.

“We’re committed to building a mixed-use development at Candlestick Point, with or without the team,” Newsom said, who said his intention was not to push out other projects from receiving the first allocation of Proposition 1B funding, but to get in the queue for 2008.

Two weeks after November’s election, the Transportation Authority — which is made up of the 11 members of the Board of Supervisors — voted to submit two projects for the transportation bond funding: the replacement of Doyle Drive, the southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, to improve traffic safety and the roadway’s seismic strength; and to implement traffic monitoring and control measures on U.S. Highway 101 and Highway 1, to ease congestion and improve safety at Lombard, Van Ness and 19th avenues.

The Nov. 21 Transportation Authority vote was taken to meet a regional proposal deadline of Dec. 1, so the MTC could meet a Jan. 15 deadline, mandated within the bond legislation.

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