Variable Toll May Replace Flat Golden Gate Bridge Toll

<p>The Bay Area's $158 million Urban Partnership Grant is in trouble. It appears politically unlikely that a roadway toll will pass the legislature, so officials hope to change the flat Golden Gate Bridge toll to a variable toll to receive the grant.</p>

February 26, 2008, 10:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

"The move to adopt so-called congestion-based tolls (on the Golden Gate Bridge) is an effort to save $158 million in federal transportation funding. That money is needed in part to help rebuild Doyle Drive, the structurally unstable approach (in San Francisco) to the landmark bridge."

"North Bay officials oppose a Doyle Drive toll, which they call a "Marin commuter tax," and the opposition has threatened the project. To implement the Doyle Drive toll, San Francisco officials need legislation passed in Sacramento by March 31, but legislators have shied away because of the controversy."

"In lieu of the Doyle Drive charge, some Golden Gate officials have suggested adding congestion-based pricing to their toll structure, with the proceeds used to help fund the district's bus and ferry operations. The bridge district is already considering a $1 toll increase to $6.

If the bridge arrangement is accepted - and the Federal Transportation Administration has said it might be - it would save the $158 million grant...

Mary Currie, district spokeswoman, said the board's finance committee will consider "a plan to add a congestion toll" at its March 13 meeting."

However, the problem of financing the shortfall for the $1.1 billion rebuilding of the structurally unstable Doyle Drive would not be solved with this strategy.

Thanks to Bay Area Transportation News

Friday, February 22, 2008 in The San Francisco Chronicle

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