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As Construction Continues, New Doubts Arise For Salesforce Transit Center

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Work continued Sunday to shore up parts of the Salesforce Transit Center after engineers found two cracked steel beams running over Fremont Street last week. 

San Francisco City Supervisor Aaron Peskin said he's lost confidence in the engineers and design firms involved in the project.

"$2.2 billion, you think you'd get something that's perfect. Instead, it is under danger of collapsing," said Peskin in an interview with KPIX 5's Phil Matier.

"This thing has been a debacle. It is overbuilt. It is poorly constructed. On its roof, it's falling apart. It's collapsing at the bottom. The whole thing is a nightmare."

Peskin's comments came about after a KPIX 5 investigation found that Skanska, the engineering firm responsible for the steel work at the Transit Center, is also involved in the South Bay BART extension project. The project came under fire recently after a subcontractor installed used communications equipment.

ALSO READ: Work On South Bay BART Extension Remains In Limbo

"We need to call in international experts. We cannot leave this to the local yokels who have been screwing up the project from the start," said Peskin.

Right now, only buses run through the Transit Center. The next phase of the project involves bringing trains, such as BART, Caltrain and eventually high speed rail trains into the center as well.

The goal is create a transportation hub that's been called the Grand Central Station of the West.

But with the recent problems uncovered in the Transit Center, which has only been open since August, Peskin says the plan needs to be re-evaluated.

"I have grave concerns about the next phase bringing downtown extension Caltrain into the terminal. I don't think San Francisco has the ability to do it."

Gerald Cauthen, the former Deputy Director of the Transit Center Project, says without connecting the trains to the terminal, the project is nothing more than a $2 billion bus stop.

"It was built for trains. Buses came along, they needed that too, but it was built for trains," said Cauthen.

KPIX 5 spoke with Mark Zabaneh, the Executive Director of the Transit Joint Powers Authority. Zabaneh said he understands Peskin's comments and officials are working hard to discover the cause of the steel beams' cracking.

Zabaneh also said that in order to rebuild the public's trust, their main goal is to get Fremont Street and the Transit Center open by Friday, October 5th.

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