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Bike, Pedestrian Toll on Golden Gate Bridge Survives First Vote

The concept of tolling sidewalk access to the Golden Gate Bridge squeaked by on a 10-9 vote on Oct. 24. The GGB Transportation and Highway District wants to consider the toll as a potential contributor to reducing the $33 million, five-year deficit.
October 26, 2014, 11am PDT | Irvin Dawid
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The district's Board of the Directors split their vote "almost entirely along San Francisco versus North Bay lines," writes John Coté of the San Francisco Chronicle, with most of the San Francisco directors opposed to studying the fee. In addition to the operating deficit, the district must "deal with $209 million unfunded capital needs." 

As noted here Wednesday, "(f)rom May 1937 to December 1970, a pedestrian toll was charged and collected via a coin turnstile."

According to Mark Prado of the Marin Independent Journal, "(p)ersonnel costs, the seismic retrofit of the span, a $75 million bill to help pay for the ongoing Doyle Drive upgrade, south tower painting and the partial loss of revenue from a downsized local bus contract with Marin County have fueled the district's deficit, bridge officials have said."

Yet opposition to charging the sidewalk toll has centered on the issue of road maintenance, not even mentioned above.

“I think it’s just not a good idea at all,” said Supervisor Scott Wiener. “Cars and trucks are what put the wear and tear on (the bridge). Walkers don’t put wear and tear on it. ... We want people to walk and bike. Charging people to do that doesn’t make sense to me.”

Taking an opposing view was Director John Moylan, also of San Francisco, though not an elected official.

“We’re all in this together,” Moylan said. “It’s not fair, in my opinion, that the people who drive into San Francisco pay for everything.”

"A $1 toll increase went into effect April 1 and drivers will see a 25 cent increase to the toll each year through 2018, bringing the FasTrak toll to $7 and the pay-by-plate toll to $8 by July of that year," wrote Prado [see toll rates]. "Transit fares on district buses and ferries could also continue to rise 5 percent a year."

"Bridge district staff now has until 2017 to research charging pedestrian and cyclists to cross, including how much the fee would be and how much revenue it might raise, and present their findings to the board, which could then vote on whether to start charging bikers and walkers to cross," writes Coté.

Full Story:
Published on Saturday, October 25, 2014 in San Francisco Chronicle
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