Transportation Construction Bonanza Hits Bay Area

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images/Mario Tama
    NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17: An "Immediate Occupancy" sign is seen as construction continues on the waterfront Northside Piers luxury condominiums by U.S. homebuilder Toll Brothers Inc. February 17, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Toll Brothers has slashed prices on the condos by as much as 37 percent following a housing downturn in the New York metropolitan area. Brooklyn apartment prices fell 7.4. percent in the fourth quarter while Manhattan apartment sales tumbled 9.4. percent over the same period. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

    Apparently, somebody failed to read the memo about us being in a recession. Bay Area construction is bucking the trend when it comes to transportation projects.

    A frenzy of construction projects around the region are bringing much-needed work. There's the Doyle reconstruction in the Presidio. And Caltrans is tunneling its way through the East Bay with a new Caldecott Tunnel. Meanwhile, the massive new Transbay Terminal just broke ground in the City. Across the bay, the interchange between 280 and 880 is getting a multi-million dollar facelift.

    "We have never had this many projects going at any one time," Andrew Chesley, executive director of the San Joaquin Council of Governments, told the Contra Costa Times. Chesley's organization is spending over a billion dollars on highways.

    This bubble is thanks to a variety of sources including stimulus funds, good timing, and aggressive bidding.

    Challenges still remain such as budget issues that threaten highway work in Mendocino County, and funding woes continue to plague the state's bullet train project.

    Green transportation is getting a boost as well. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has moved to install $5 million in electric charging stations. That amounts to 3,000 home chargers and 2,000 public plug-ins. Berkeley in particular is poised to become an electric car mecca, with consumers snapping up Priuses, Insights, and Tesla Roadsters.