Bridge Authority Sends $3 Toll Increase to Voters

Bay Area voters in June will weigh funding transportation projects by increasing bridge tolls up to $9.

(Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Crossing bridges in the Bay Area could rise another $3 — if voters in nine counties allow it on June 5.

Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) voted unanimously on Wednesday to send a plan to voters that would raise the Bay Bridge toll to a maximum $9 and to $8 on six other crossings, to fund transportation projects. A $1 increase to the current $6 maximum toll would go into effect in 2019, then add another $1 in 2022 and a final $1 increase in 2025. 

San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim and BART Director Nick Josefowitz — who are running for mayor and District 2 supervisor, respectively — represent the city as BATA commissioners.  

Drivers on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Antioch Bridge, the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, the Carquinez Bridge, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge and the Dumbarton Bridge can expect increases should the measure pass.

The $6.75 Golden Gate Bridge toll falls under a different authority and would remain untouched while FasTrak holders can receive half off of a second bridge crossing in a single workday.

BATA expects this will raise another $4.45 billion to spend on public transportation projects. This includes $500 million for BART expansion cars, $375 million for phase two of the San Jose BART extension, $140 million on a Muni fleet expansion and facilities, $325 million for a Caltrain downtown extension, $50 million for a “next generation” Clipper system.

Other projects like the San Rafael Transit Center, a SMART extension to Cloverdale, AC Transit improvements, a Transbay rail crossing, Interstate 80 improvements, and various highway interchange improvements are also included.

After the BATA Oversight Committee voted to recommend the plan to the full board, a Care2 petition launched against the measure, gathering more than 27,000 signatures. Petition author Rebecca Gerber said the increase would “allow it to become completely unaffordable for anyone but the wealthy to live and work.”

But a phone and web poll conducted in 2017 by EMC Research reports that 54 percent of likely June voters approve of the measure. When told about projects it would fund, support grew to 60 percent.

All nine Bay Area counties — San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma — will vote on Regional Measure 3 to determine if it’s worth it.

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