‘A fiasco from the beginning’ — Caltrans’ costs soar on $1.1 billion San Francisco tunnels

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger celebrated when the California Transportation Commission voted, despite a host of warnings, to pay a contractor more than $1 billion to build two tunnels and a stretch of road outside San Francisco nine years ago.

Schwarzenegger said the project’s new approach, which aimed to cap public expenses and shift responsibility to the private sector, would serve as a “shining example” of an innovative way to improve the state’s highways while saving taxpayer dollars.

Now the project, known as the Presidio Parkway, is more than two years late and $208 million over budget. When the commission approved another $34 million in delay-related spending last month, two commissioners who originally opposed the project lamented their predictions had come true.

“This has been a fiasco from the beginning,” Commissioner Bob Alvarado said at the March 14 meeting.