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Supes delay vote to fund BART canopies

San Francisco supervisors this week delayed a vote to fund new canopies designed to cover escalators and secure street-level entrances at BART and Muni-shared subway entrances along Market Street.

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, Budget and Finance Sub-Committee chair, delayed a vote Wednesday by one week that if approved would allocate $45 million for the canopy project from the voter-approved $500 million transportation bond passed in 2014.

Fewer wanted further information regarding the canopies’ life expectancy, maintenance costs, and cost savings analysis.

Fewer said:

“This is such a hefty amount of money that actually I would like get more information on this.”

The total project cost for 21 canopies is $91.3 million — two of which have been installed at Civic Center and Powell stations. The expense would be shared between The City and BART.

Ching Wong/SFBay A new canopy is completed at the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

It was estimated in 2017 the cost of the canopies would run $66.4 million.

Mark Dana, BART’s canopy project manager, said costs have soared because market conditions have made it difficult to find contractors for public works projects.

Dana said:

“We’re getting less proposals on our contracts.”

Dana also said the cost of material is rising as BART turns to upgraded material, such as “special fabricated fiber reinforced plastic ceiling.”

Dana added that a state code requires the transit agency to protect new escalators, such as from the weather elements, to prevent them from breaking down and to reduce maintenance costs.

Ching Wong/SFBay A BART rider exits an entrance with a new canopy completed at the Powell Street BART Station in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman, who sits on the budget committee, described the canopy as a “fancy tent” and questioned the financial commitment.

Mandelman said:

“As I was looking at this, I was just struck by the price tag.”

Mandelman added that he does understand the need to protect the escalators, but wanted more information about the project as well.

The committee will meet again next Wednesday.

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