South City’s ship isn’t coming in soon

Funding shortfalls are threatening to sink the opening of South City’s ferry terminal.

The $46 million project, originally scheduled to be completed by December 2008 and later pushed back to early 2009, has been $5 million short since the terminal’s design was approved by the City Councilin January. Hailed as a future landmark of San Mateo County, the terminal will connect Oyster Point Marina to Jack London Square in Oakland and is set to receive $26 million from federal grants and bridge toll increases as well as $15 million from Measure A, the county’s sales tax resolution approved in 2006. The terminal, touted as a great alternative to workers commuting to the city’s biotech hub, is now slated to open at the end of 2009.

But recently, the San Mateo County Transportation Authority said it will postpone releasing the $15 million until the newly minted San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority — the agency overseeing the operations of all ferry terminals in the Bay Area, except for ferries operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District — secures the remaining $5 million.

“I realize that people are going to be disappointed, but it’s not like we don’t have public transportation that can get people across,” said South City Councilmember Karyl Matsumoto, who sits on the county’s Transportation Authority board. “We can afford to wait anddo it right.”

Further delays are on the horizon. If the WETA does not secure the funds and construction doesn’t begin this summer, the first stage of the project, which consists of driving piles that hold the terminal into the mud at Oyster Point, is in jeopardy. Initial construction must be finished by November before the beginning of fish spawning season, said Steve Castleberry, CEO of WETA. Otherwise, construction cannot begin until the end of the spawning season in the spring, putting off service another half a year, possibly until 2010.

Castleberry has assured council members that the agency will receive the $5 million from Prop 1B — a state infrastructure bond passed in 2006 that allocates money toward water transit emergency response systems — by this summer.

“With a significant growth of the biotech industry that’s bringing more employees here, time is of the essence,” said Robert Johnson, harbormaster at Oyster Point Marina. “Every month of delay, the cost of the project will also be going up because the cost of metals and construction materials has gone up significantly.”

svasilyuk@examiner.com  

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

(Examiner file photo)
Charter amendment effort would replace elected school board with appointed body

Critics of the San Francisco Unified School District board on Monday formally… Continue reading

Jill Bonny, owner of Studio Kazoku tattoo parlor in the Haight, tattoos client Lam Vo on Friday, March 5, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
No one was fighting for tattoo artists, so they started advocating for themselves

Jill Bonny has been tattooing in the Bay Area since 2000. Four… Continue reading

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes to The City's streets including Slow Streets closures to increase open space access and the Shared Spaces program, which allows businesses to use public right-of-ways for dining, retail and services. (Examiner illustration)
COVID is reshaping the streets of San Francisco

Walk down Page Street, which is closed to thru-traffic, and you might… Continue reading

(Go Nakamura/Getty Images/TNS)
Fully vaccinated? Here are the CDC guidelines for what you can do after receiving a COVID vaccine

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday issued its… Continue reading

Brandi Harrapence, right, has lunch with her daughter Kayla Harrapence inside Firestone Grill in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, open for inside dinning for the first time in nearly a year, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021 in San Luis Obispo, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
California is far from herd immunity, making a 4th COVID-19 wave possible. Here’s how

Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money Los Angeles Times California is optimistic… Continue reading

Most Read