Letter to the Editor
San Francisco Chronicle
Regarding much-delayed Chinese steel for the Bay Bridge, this is no happy New Year celebration for California taxpayers.
Caltrans chose to circumvent Buy America rules back in 2004 and instead use a Chinese steel fabricator for this project. The consequences were clear in your story Dec. 30 ("Key steel piece set to leave China"): costly delays of over a year, troubles with welds on the prefabricated steel deck pieces, the possibility now that the bridge opening will be pushed back into 2014, "and that the $6.3 billion budget, including an emergency reserve, could be exhausted."
Why should the citizens of California have to pay the price for the decision by Caltrans to buy inferior foreign materials instead of readily available, high-quality American steel bridge materials from American steelmakers and bridge fabricators? The consequences are continued delays, frustrated commuters, wasted taxpayer dollars and - at a time of double-digit unemployment - lost American jobs.
Not to mention a lingering lack of confidence in a bridge built with suspect materials that is intended to replace the very one that suffered a catastrophic failure in the 1989 earthquake. The Chinese may be celebrating, but U.S. taxpayers should not stand for this.
THOMAS J. GIBSON
President and CEO
American Iron and Steel Institute, Washington, D.C.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/01/08/ED0G1BF0MO.DTL#ixzz0c1zNK3Mk