Commuters speak out against toll hike

June 12, 2008 9:31:48 AM PDT
The Golden Gate Bridge District's Board of Directors got an earful on Wednesday night over not one, but two proposed toll hikes. If they pass, tolls could go up by a couple of dollars. With gas prices already through the roof, Golden Gate commuters are not happy.

It could be as much as a $2 toll hike, which for some people, could lead to some pretty tough decisions.

"I'm looking at, do I give up my ten-year-job that I absolutely adore, or do I move from San Francisco where I have home security because I cannot afford to live in Marin," said Alexandra Siliezar, a San Francisco resident.

The Golden Gate Bridge District's Board of Directors got feedback from the public regarding their proposed toll increase.

There are two parts of the plan. The first would raise the general toll by $1, which would bring the current $5 rate for cash payers, to $6. And for Fastrak users, $4 to $5.

The second part of the proposal would impose an additional toll based on congestion, which would tack on as much as another dollar during rush hour.

If both proposals go through, that would make the toll for cash payers as high as $7 and for Fastrak users, $6.

The idea is to encourage people to drive less and to use the district's bus and ferry system instead. Still, some members of the public say public transit just doesn't work for them.

"It would take me over two hours to get to work in the morning," said Tyrone Cannon, a San Rafael resident.

The Bridge District, however, says something needs to be done to help erase a $91 million budget deficit. Part of the toll hike would also go to improving the bus and ferry system. Some also want part of the money to be used to make Doyle Drive more earthquake safe. So far, though, the proposals are proving to be a tough sell.

"I just want grandmas to go to the peninsula and visit their grandchildren without having to give up their Zocor," said Patricia Stoliar, a Corte Madera resident.

There is still time for members of the public to chime in on the proposed toll hike. The deadline for written comments is Thursday afternoon. The Bridge District's Board of Directors is expected to make a decision as early as next month.


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