(Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)

Golden Gate Bridge tolls set to go up

The Golden Gate Bridge district board is weighing proposed toll increases that could raise the price of crossing the bridge to as high as $9.80 by 2023.

A Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors committee on Thursday discussed a proposed five-year toll increase plan on the span that would be effective July 1, 2019.

The board’s Finance and Auditing Committee voted to send the proposed toll hike plan to the full Board of Directors for discussion at a meeting at 10 a.m. Friday at the Toll Plaza, district spokeswoman Priya Clemens said.

The plan includes public outreach and public hearings in Sonoma and Marin counties and in San Francisco in January and February. The full board would then consider adopting the toll hike in March.

District staff have created five toll options for consideration, any of which can be altered or eliminated by the Board of Directors. The current bridge toll for FasTrak users with a two-axle vehicle is $7.

The proposed FasTrak toll hikes would range from 25 to 35 cents a year for two-axle vehicles and 20 to 35 cents a year for Pay As You Go and invoice toll hikes for two-axle vehicles between July 2019 and July 2023. The toll hikes would raise between $75 million and $100 million over five years.

FasTrak tolls for two-axle vehicles would reach $8.75 in 2023 under one of the five plans, Pay As You Go for two-axle vehicles would be $9.75 in 2023 under one plan and invoice tolls for two axle vehicles would be $9.80 in 2023 under one plan.

District officials said bridge tolls have risen 25 cents a year for the past four years, most recently in July, and are necessary to increase revenue to meet expenses for goods and services.

The average annual costs for operations and capital projects has increased 4.1 percent over the past five years, according to the district.

The toll increase is among other initiatives in the current five-year 2014 strategic financial plan, now in its final year.

-James Lanaras, Bay City News

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