Commuters await price for congestion toll

In two weeks, Golden Gate Bridge officials are expected to reveal how much a new congestion-based toll increase will cost drivers coming into The City.

A proposed second toll on Doyle Drive is still in the works, but with less certainty on the timing.

The congestion toll could add as much as $2 during peak times to the current $5 price to cross the bridge, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who sits on the bridge’s board of directors, said last month.

The City is also still exploring funding scenarios for a needed seismic rebuild of Doyle Drive, the southern approach to the Golden Gate Bridge — including a toll, ranging from 50 cents to $1 — according to Joe Arellano, a spokesman for Mayor Gavin Newsom.

“This is definitely not a closed issue,” Arellano said.

The toll, which North Bay officials have called a “Marin commuter tax” could generate $160 million for the $1 billion retrofit project.

In March, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District board approved a congestion based toll plan by a March 31 deadline in order for the region to receive $158 million in federal funds contingent upon The City incorporating some form of variable pricing project based on traffic.

North Bay officials included an amendment to the plan, however, preventing any of the added toll revenue from being used for the seismic rebuild.

As a result, San Francisco transportation officials will have to seek state legislative support for a toll on Doyle Drive, but finding local politicians to back the proposal has been difficult.

Two Bay Area politicians — state Sen. Carole Migden and Assemblymember Mark Leno — have voiced opposition to tolls on Doyle Drive. Adam Keigwin, a spokesman for state Sen. Leland Yee, whose district includes San Mateo and San Francisco, said the senator had no plans to introduce toll legislation for Doyle Drive.

Marin County Supervisor Charles McGlashan, who sits on the Golden Gate Bridge District’s board of directors, said any legislative attempt to create tolls on Doyle Drive would be met with fierce resistance from North Bay residents.

Tilly Chang, deputy planning director for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, said she remained confident that an agreement could be reached on funding for the plan by this summer.

Postponing the Doyle Drive rebuild will come with new costs; construction prices are increasing 6 to 8 percent annually, according to Ken Simonson of the Associated General Contractors of America, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

wreisman@examiner.com

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