by Sheila Golrang and Maria Larsson

Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan is the executive director of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority. Having received a federal loan of $171 million just days before the event, Ayerdi-Kaplan was thrilled to present the Transbay Transit Center Project to the wide variety of professionals attending the event.
The project is a current topic in San Francisco. The 4.2 billion dollar project is the largest approved public transportation project in the country and is set to transform transportation in California and stimulate the economy by building the Grand Central Station of the West. In three phases, the project will replace the current Transbay Terminal with a modern regional transit hub, connecting eight Bay Area counties and the state of California through ten transit systems, including High Speed Rail from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The project will also create a new neighborhood with homes, offices, parks and shops. It is scheduled for completion around 2018.
Named as one of the Most Influential Women in the Public Sector by the San Francisco Business Times, Ayerdi-Kaplan presented a short history of public transportation in the Bay Area and what the future holds with the Transbay Transit Center. The project will be built based on LEED standards providing commuters with a faster, eco friendly way to travel.
The attendees were interested in hearing about the plans and even more eager to ask questions. So eager, in fact, that the Q&A portion of the event took longer than anticipated and had to be cut short. On hand to answer questions dealing with the more technical aspects of the project was Robert Beck, Senior Program Manager.
Sandra Ohlson of APM Resource asked about the maintenance of the Transit Center once it is completed while Nils Welin, CEO of Cypress Security, enquired about potential obstacles for the project. Questions were also asked regarding security, environmental aspects and increase in traffic issues.
The successful and informative event ended on a sweet note with coffee and cookies. Ayerdi-Kaplan and Beck’s collective knowledge and passion for this project left the 30 attendees with a heightened excitement about the future of our beloved city of San Francisco.