IMPORTANT UPDATE: McSweeney's San Francisco Panorama is being sold today! SOLD OUT. Find a location near you. Or look for newsies selling them on the street. There's a special deal to get the paper today only ($5).
When it started in 1997, with an estimated budget of $1.8 billion, the earthquake retrofit of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge was supposed to take six years.
Seemingly plagued from the start, the project remains far from completion. Every setback -- from an FBI investigation into weld safety to the rising cost of cement and steel -- has contributed to the project's ever-growing bottom line, which contractors now estimate at $6.3 billion.
The Public Press has to ask: Why is the construction so over budget? Where did the money go? Are these kinds of cost overruns normal for government construction projects, and if so, why? This project is investigative reporting at its best: "follow the money."
McSweeney's, a San Francisco-based publisher founded by Dave Eggers, has committed $5,000 towards this pitch.
McSweeney's, The Public Press and Spot.Us are coming together to inform the public about where the $6.3 billion went. Public record requests are already in. Investigative reporters are poring over documents.
Where would your donation go?
The Public Press Bay Bridge project is being conducted by Patricia Decker, an engineering graduate of the University of California Berkeley, and Bob Porterfield, a long time Bay Area journalist and journalism educator. They are being assisted by Richard Pestorich, Michael Winter, Andrew Bertonlina, and Michael Stoll.
The finished investigation will be published in a broadsheet-sized newspaper and distributed nationally. It will also be made available online. We need your help to get there!
Everyone who pays taxes in San Francisco deserves to understand how the Bay Bridge retrofit ran overbudget.
The bridge retrofit has already required 200 million pounds of structural steel, 5,000 miles of half-inch steel strands, and 450,000 cubic yards of concrete, making it California's largest infrastructure project. Our excellent reporting team will unravel these costs, with a little financial help.