San Francisco's Congestion Pricing Plan Receives Conditional Federal Funding

<p>The Bay Area received $158 million from a federal congestion pricing program for improvements to traffic, transit, and parking, but it is conditional upon San Francisco and California legislative approval for the controversial tolls on Doyle Drive.</p>
August 16, 2007, 8am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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On Tuesday, August 14, Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced the five winners of the $848.1 million Urban Partnership Program "which aims to reduce heavy traffic using approaches including tolling, public transit, tele-commuting and congestion pricing."

San Francisco was selected to receive the second highest grant of $158 million after New York City's grant of $354.5 million. Seattle, St. Paul-Minneapolis, and Miami will receive $138.7 million, $133.3 million, and $62.9 million respectively.

The Bay Area application centers on a variable tolling program for the Doyle Drive approach to the Golden Gate Bridge that lies at the north end of The Presidio. $47 million will be awarded toward tolling equipment and reconstruction of the roadway.

Like the New York award, the grant is contingent upon receiving local and state legislative approval for the tolling program.

"One of the conditions of the grant is we need to get implementation of a toll within the next nine months," Luis Moscovich, executive director of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority said, noting that the fee would be collected electronically through overhead sensors, not at a separate tollbooth. "We're not going to wait until Doyle Drive is reconstructed to put a toll on it."

As with New York City, the state legislature must pass legislation to approve tolls on a city street.

Unlike the New York program, which has been aggressively pushed by Mayor Bloomberg, the San Francisco's congestion pricing plan for Doyle Drive has not received strong mayoral backing.

"Mayor Gavin Newsom said he was not the "strongest advocate" for congestion pricing, but the realities of increased congestion required that the idea be studied. He said a toll on Doyle Drive was not yet a done deal.

"It's controversial, it needs to be studied and considered," Newsom said.

If the Doyle Drive congestion pricing plan is approved, the city and region will share in an additional $111 million to be applied toward improvements for traffic, parking and transit.

Thanks to MTC-ABAG Library

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Published on Wednesday, August 15, 2007 in San Francisco Examiner
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