Senator DeSaulnier to Lead Comprehensive Investigation of Bay Bridge Construction Project

October 30, 2013 14:01 pm · 37 comments

Senator Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) will lead an investigation to examine the issues that plagued the construction of the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The following is from the Office of Senator Mark DeSaulnier:

Staff will systematically review past decision making to build a report that details the issues faced throughout the construction of the new eastern span. Senator DeSaulnier will also chair a series of Senate Transportation and Housing Committee hearings to look at problems that impact all megaprojects, as well as improvements that can be made by Caltrans management.

“While I am glad that the toll payers are finally able to cross the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge, it is important that we examine the problems that caused the construction of the new span to be 10 years late and $5 billion over budget,” Senator DeSaulnier said. “The need for a new eastern span has been evident since the Loma Prieta Earthquake in 1989, and our committee will investigate the key decisions that shaped this project over the past 24 years. The committee will systematically review this project, and produce a report on our findings that I expect will inspire reform measures. Creating legislation that creates greater accountability at Caltrans, and improves the management of future projects, will be a top priority of mine during the 2014 legislative session.”

“The problems encountered with this project raise a lot of questions, and California taxpayers and commuters deserve answers,” said Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg. “I’m confident Caltrans will cooperate fully with this inquiry.”

The following is a tentative schedule of hearings to be held by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on the Bay Bridge, Caltrans, and megaprojects. Additional media advisories will be sent as dates, times, locations, and panelists are confirmed.

Improving Megaproject Outcomes

November 13, 2013

Invited Panelists:

  • Bent Flyvbjerg – Professor of Major Programme Management, Saïd Business School, Oxford University.
  • Professor Virginia A. “Ginny” Greiman – Professor of Megaprojects and Planning, Boston University.
  • Dr. William Ibbs – Professor of Civil Engineering; Group Leader, Construction Management Program, University of California, Berkeley.
  • Louis Thompson – Chairman, California High Speed Rail Peer Review Group

Bay Bridge Lessons Learned

Date to be announced.

Caltrans Management Improvements

Date to be announced.

Senator DeSaulnier has already spearheaded efforts to begin reforming Caltrans. This year Governor Brown signed Senator DeSaulnier’s SB 425. The bill sets standards for assembling peer review panels used in public works projects in a clear and transparent manner. SB 425 defines peer review and requires administering agencies utilizing a peer review group on a public works project to develop a transparent process for selecting members of the review group.

Additionally, Senator DeSaulnier has worked with Transportation Agency Secretary Brain Kelly to begin making reforms administratively. Inspired by Senator DeSaulnier’s SB 486, the agency has directed Caltrans to begin publishing reports with quantified performance data on Caltrans’ construction projects. The goal is to make this data easily and publicly available, in order to promote transparency and provide clearer metrics to judge department performance.

Further reforms aimed at making Caltrans more accountable will be a top priority in Senator DeSaulnier’s 2014 legislative package.

Connie Dobbs October 30, 2013 at 2:07 PM

Really? Not enough people got paid?

Sacto Rob October 30, 2013 at 2:10 PM

Yes. By all means, now that the horse has been stolen let’s be sure to double-lock the doors. So this will never happen again. Except it’s happening RIGHT NOW with High Speed Rail. The difference of course is that the Bay Bridge serves a useful purpose.

why? October 30, 2013 at 2:20 PM

The guy’s a imbecile!

unknown October 30, 2013 at 2:21 PM

I agree, more money it going to be spend for nothing. Might as well get Japan, or China to bid on our projects. we will save lots of money and many years in time.

Killjoy October 30, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Way to declare yourself important Mark. Something else to add to your resume.
Just another political waste of time and money.

Amy October 30, 2013 at 2:51 PM

“At this point what difference does it make?” Oh, sorry.

Fred October 30, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Watch the movie

MDUSD Grad October 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Oh good. The fox is guarding the henhouse.

MikeT October 30, 2013 at 3:10 PM

And way not Mark! After all, you were so helpful durning the Bart strike.

anon October 30, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Looks like none of the panelists have any real-world experience….. Academia? The high-speed rail project?

Any engineering firm worth its assets KNOWS how to conduct design reviews and peer reviews. Those are basic requirements of any QA/QC program. Any engineering firm that isn’t aware of that needs to be disbanded and rebuilt.

Gimmee a break!

Noj October 30, 2013 at 3:21 PM

DeSaulnier took PAC money from the CalTrans PAC (Professional Engineers In California Government or PECG):

PECG board members are:
John Roberts, Chair

Shabbir Ahmed, Member

Craig Copelan, Member

Roy Flores, Member

Tim Sharp, Member

John Vassiliades, Member

Mike Whiteside, Member

Some investigation huh?

Anonymous October 30, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Why dont you do something useful (for once). Sponsor legislation to ban BART strikes and skip the anti-democratice binding arbitration. Of course the unions wont like that …

Oh yes and dont forget to think of a new tax on something.

mike mac October 30, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Why was this not done at the beginning and throughout the process? Could it have something to do with his Union buddies? Just wondering.

The WHO October 30, 2013 at 4:04 PM

In 1971 we sang to You Blokes “We Won’t Get Fooled Again!”…….We have been proven Wrong!

Julio October 30, 2013 at 4:16 PM

You guys elected him not me.

Random Task October 30, 2013 at 4:28 PM

@11 yeah you are right a smoke screen they are actually gathering on public dime to figure out how to hide it better next time …….and yes you demwits made this state a dem only state and you still will vote dem even though the state is bankrupt and floundering around taking all our money as they see fit

Just another Concord Resident October 30, 2013 at 4:49 PM

Senator Mark couldn’t find an elephant in 10 ft. of snow.. he only wants to bolster his political career and make it look like he is doing something.. can anybody spell re election time again? At least I didn’t vote for him or any other Democrat. It is time to throw the whole batch out.

Pardon ME October 30, 2013 at 4:54 PM

I’m not at all impressed. Should have been contracted out to a private contractor. They can be held accountable and if need be sued to recover money due to mismanagement. This is just throwing more money down yet another rat hole.

Tell us “senator” will ANYONE be held accountable?
If so what are the possible penalties?
Or is this just a feel good PR release?

Anon October 30, 2013 at 5:56 PM

Simply LOL!

Jojo Potato October 30, 2013 at 6:23 PM

He’s just layering on more commisions, reports and other useless bureauracy. Does “invited” mean they will really contribute? Looks like Mark just went through LInkedin and picked out names. Let’s please remember that the main source of waste and delay was the politicians. People such as the two Browns, Willie and Jerry, and the current MTC “leadership”. Or more correctly highly paid ripoff professionals.

Cigi October 30, 2013 at 6:33 PM

“Accountable”? as in the Obama administration? Laughable!

What will become of all this? NOTHING!

Screw the government and the low-lifes that think they actually pit in a hard day’s work.

kax October 30, 2013 at 6:44 PM

another useless politician investigating what went wrong…..

Dorothy October 30, 2013 at 7:01 PM

Kind of a day late isn’t it? What is he running for now so I can vote No?

Anonymous October 30, 2013 at 7:28 PM

He is going to take over Millers seat or so it has been ordained by the Dem big shots. Couldnt be worse then that grinning idiot Miller. At least DeSaulnier has had a real job, unlike Miller.

concord October 30, 2013 at 7:54 PM

spare us; like we don’t know why all that happened; because of YOU politicans and your red tape and then we only get half a bridge for billions plagued with bolt problems. yeah, really good job; it will be interesting to see if the thing holds together. The old part of the bridge does nothing but cause traffic jams so they should have replaced the entire thing.

Realist October 30, 2013 at 8:14 PM

One sure way to make sure you don’t get blamed for your share of the problem is to lead the witch hunt. I see what your doing there, DeSaulnier

BagsFlyFree October 30, 2013 at 8:35 PM

Oh sure, after the fact we’ll get to the bottom of things.. right! Mark, how about we just trim your salary to cover the expenses added to the already overpriced bridge? Where do you sign that one?

Its time for George, Diane, Barbara, and Mark to be sent pink slips to volunteer their overpriced ideas to charity, because the public can’t afford them anymore and demands new impactful ideas with results. All this finger pointing is nonsense. Chinese steel bridge psssh!!

BFF Out!

Safety Second October 30, 2013 at 11:40 PM

Voters….do you honestly believe this career pig politician is a sincere public servant?!?!? If not, then why the hell do you keep re-electing these self serving slobs.

Random Task October 31, 2013 at 12:21 AM

well the comments are clear …the dems blew it with this one and left their hands in the jar too long and got caught ……I mean really you let em do this by letting the dems run everything with no checks or balances …one tell the other to do and who cares if you mess up ….they are not going to put themselves in jail or pony up the blame and money ……just waste it on their new chairs and office supplies ( cars ..expense accounts…lifetime benefits …wow who said yes to that obviously a lot of you made this happen and now try and say oh ..point and point … did this …and will keep doing it ……so move along your boring us real workers

anon October 31, 2013 at 7:32 AM


Nah – this retired fast-food operator will continue to be re-elected because the idiots who vote for him have an attention span that’s measured in seconds. They only thing they can remember is the last press release he sent out, touting his “vast accomplishments” – according to him, anyway.

All that’ll happen is another “blue-ribbon fact-finding commission” will be appointed in which grand pronouncements will be made…..and the results will be swept quitely under the rug. Nothing else will happen.

As someone else above had pointed out – look who has contributed to his campaign. In going to, you can see that half of the top donations came from various unions – you think he’s gonna bite that hand that’s feeding this political whore? Yea, I know I’m repeating myself.

Just more pretense that he’s doing something. More feel-good laws, more commissions, more press releases, blah, blah, blah.

As Ronald Reagan had said – “The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away.”

Akita_Luv October 31, 2013 at 7:33 AM

What’s the point. Your pet projects get passed and you blow hot air towards your constituent’s to “what” make us feel good that you are our Senator and are very concerned about the Bay Bridge. If that was so, you would never have allowed the new span to open until the investigation (yah right) was completed and the defective bolts replaced. The politicians better be correct that this span will be standing after a serious earthquake. By the way my dog dumped on your lawn — he is a republican.

Anonymous October 31, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Mark will be proposing a small tax increase to fund his study.

anonymous October 31, 2013 at 10:09 AM

This from the guy that did nothing but encourage the unions in the BART strike? He will do absolutely nothing for the common person and everything for his henchmen in the unions.

Random Task October 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM

makes no difference ………ignorance is what made this state dem and has dems make sure that dems are not being corrupt …lol…….since when does policing yourself work. prisons are full of people who policed themselves …well until feb anyways when the dems will put thousands on the streets to plague us again …..and yes they will ask for a small tax to fund more police and panels to deal with the increased crime and will ultimately lead to re-election …….wow these guys are smart ….threaten you and then offer protection ……..wait isn’t that the MOB

anon October 31, 2013 at 10:14 AM

@Akita #31….

I hope your dog didn’t get an anal impaction/infection from crapping on his lawn….

Even if the politicians WEREN’T correct and the bridge failed after an earthquake, you can bet they’re gonna do a little sidestep to blame anyone else for the failure. I don’t think there’s a politician in recent history that has HONESTLY taken responsibility and DONE something about a failure.

Unless he gets caught in some big-time criminal endeavor, he’ll probably get re-elected – due to the voters’ lack of interest in getting the best representation.

Foreverplayful October 31, 2013 at 2:15 PM

DeSaulnier, there is only one thing you can do to establish a shred of credibility; get on board with the initiative to ban future BRAT union strikes

Anon October 31, 2013 at 6:41 PM


But then he needs to follow it all the way through with no equivocation. That means being consistent.

Given the donations to his campaign, it is just not possible for that to happen. He’s bought and paid for by the unions. He knows who he really represents.

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