Bay Area bridge tolls could be $3 more

Price hike could fol­low an an­nual fuel tax and ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tion in­crease

The Mercury News - - Local News - By Christo­pher Cade­lago Sacra­mento Bee

Your bridge tolls may be go­ing up soon.

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill re­quir­ing San Fran­cisco and eight Bay Area coun­ties to hold a spe­cial elec­tion where vot­ers would de­cide whether to in­crease the toll on state-owned bridges in the re­gion. That would be in ad­di­tion to the $5.2 bil­lion an­nual fuel tax and ve­hi­cle regis­tra­tion in­crease to pay for roads and tran­sit.

Sen­ate Bill 595, by Jim Beall, a Demo­crat from San Jose, would al­low the Bay Area Toll Author­ity to de­ter­mine how much to raise the toll — up to $3.

Cur­rently, Bay Area mo­torists trav­el­ing over the seven Bay Area bridges typ­i­cally pay $5, though the Bay Bridge’s toll struc­ture varies based on so­called “con­ges­tion pric­ing,” with tolls vary­ing from $4 to $6, depend­ing on peak and non-peak travel times.

Oth­ers are the An­ti­och Bridge, Beni­cia-Martinez Bridge, Car­quinez Bridge, Rich­mond-San Rafael Bridge, Dum­bar­ton Bridge and San Ma­teo-Hayward Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge is not state-owned and not cov­ered by the bill Brown signed.

Beall, in a pre­pared state­ment, said his bill in­cludes over 30 projects that were sup­ported by busi­nesses and var­i­ous coun­ties. “With more new jobs on the hori­zon, the Bay Area must in­vest in ways to get com­muters off the road,” he said.

Beall added that it calls for an in­de­pen­dent over­sight com­mit­tee, in ad­di­tion to an In­de­pen­dent Of­fice of the BART In­spec­tor Gen­eral, to make sure bridge toll fares are used ef­fi­ciently.

Th­ese projects would be funded if vot­ers ap­prove the toll in­crease:

• BART Ex­pan­sion Cars ($500 mil­lion)

• BART to San Jose Phase Two ($375 mil­lion)

• Cal­train Down­town Ex­ten­sion ($325 mil­lion)

• Bay Area Cor­ri­dor Ex­press Lanes ($300 mil­lion)

• Ferry En­hance­ment Pro­gram ($300 mil­lion)

• Goods Move­ment and Mit­i­ga­tion ($160 mil­lion)

• San Fran­cisco Bay Trail/ Safe Routes to Tran­sit ($150 mil­lion)

• MUNI Fleet Ex­pan­sion and Fa­cil­i­ties ($140 mil­lion)

• Capi­tol Cor­ri­dor ($90

mil­lion)

• Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Tran­sit District ($40 mil­lion).

STAFF FILE PHOTO

xxx Gover­nor Jerry Brown has signed a bill re­quir­ing San Fran­cisco and eight Bay area coun­ties to hold a spe­cial elec­tion in which vot­ers would de­cide whether or not to in­crease the toll on state-owned bridges in the re­gion, pos­si­bly as much as $3 per toll cross­ing.

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