San Francisco’s new fireboat is the latest victim of the pitfalls of bureaucracy. As the Chron’s Matier & Ross report, a smattering of delays caused SFFD to lose essentially all funding for the vessel, as they were unable to spend a $7.8 million federal grant in its allotted time.
FEMA first tentatively awarded SFFD the money in 2009 with a stipulation that SFFD must secure matching funds. It took well over a year for those funds to be acquired, primarily through a grant from Chevron.
Once that money was signed off on by the feds, SFFD had 2 1/2 years to get cracking and build a fireboat. Sounds easy enough, right?
But, no. First there were design issues, then there was the issue of finding a new contract, and finally, there were the construction bids. In all, it took two rounds of bidding before a proposal was decided on, leaving the city with just over a month and a half to craft a 90′ boat.
Despite lobbying from multiple senators as well as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the Firefighters Union, the deadline is still stuck at the end of June.
Had everything gone according to plan, SFFD would’ve had their first new fireboat in half a century. Now it looks like we might be waiting for a little (or a lot) longer.