Pedestrians planning to cross the Bay Bridge for the opening celebration of the new eastern span during Labor Day weekend can breathe easy: They won’t have to pay any fees to take part in the festivities.
Some regional lawmakers, leery at the $5.6 million public contribution for the celebration, had suggested charging walkers a fee of at least $5 to help recoup the costs. On Wednesday, staffers from the Bay Area Toll Authority, which oversees the span, recommended against such a proposal, contending that processing expenses for administering the fee would make the net gains nominal at best.
The authority’s oversight committee consented to that recommendation, and, as a result, the proposal to charge a fee was dropped.
The Labor Day weekend celebration, slated to coincide with the opening of the rebuilt eastern span, will feature fireworks, bike races and competitive runs. More than 150,000 people are expected to attend.
Private contributions for the celebration are projected to reach $3.5 million, and any revenue raised beyond that amount will be split evenly between the Bay Bridge Alliance — a private foundation — and the authority. The $5.6 million in public funds for the plan will come from regional bridge toll revenue.