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Community Meeting on Proposed Bridge Toll Increases

The San Francisco edition of a series of community meetings hosted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission happens Monday, December 8th at San Francisco State University’s downtown campus at 835 Market Street (entrance is just east of main Westfield San Francisco Shopping Centre entrance), Room 609 at 6:30pm with the presentation starting at 7:00pm.

From the MTC ….

Bridge Toll Hike Proposed for Earthquake Safety – Comment Online or Attend Upcoming Public Hearings in Concord (Dec. 3) and San Francisco (Dec. 7)

The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) is seeking public comment on a toll increase on the seven state-owned Bay Area toll bridges: the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Francisco-Oakland Bay and San Mateo-Hayward bridges. (The toll proposal does not affect the Golden Gate Bridge, which is owned and operated by an independent authority.)

Bay Area residents who are unable to attend one of the public hearings can make their views known via an online survey at: www.mtc.ca.gov/get_involved. The survey will be available through December 21, 2009.

Toll ideas being considered include raising the $4 toll for cars to $5; charging carpools a discounted toll instead of allowing them to cross for free; increasing truck tolls; and charging commuters extra for crossing the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge during peak traffic hours.

These ideas were presented at the October BATA Oversight Committee meeting in Oakland(http://www.mtc.ca.gov/news/info/toll_increase.htm) and at public hearings on November 4 in Oakland and November 17 in San Mateo. BATA will take public comment at this San Francisco hearing:

Monday, December 7, 2009, at 6:30 p.m.
San Francisco State University Downtown Campus
835 Market Street, Room 609, San Francisco, California

Each hearing will feature a short open house (from 6:30 to 7 p.m.) and a staff presentation (beginning at 7 p.m.) prior to taking public testimony.

The proposed toll hike comes in response to the need to raise an additional $160 million annually, primarily to finance the estimated $750 million cost of necessary seismic retrofit projects on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Other factors include a slow but steady decline in toll-paying traffic on the state-owned bridges during each of the past five years, increasing operational expenses and rising debt due in part to the upheaval in the municipal bond markets over the past two years.

Written comments, which will be accepted until 4 p.m., December 21, 2009, should be submitted to the BATA Public Information Office at 101 Eighth Street, Oakland, California, 94607-4700; faxed to BATA at 510.817.5848; or sent via e-mail to tolls@mtc.ca.gov.

BATA commissioners will weigh all public comment in their decision on the toll increase, with any toll hike taking effect July 1, 2010. For more information on the hearings or the proposal, visit the MTC Web site at www.mtc.ca.gov or phone the BATA Public Information Office at 510.817.5757.

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