Officials approve $75M in Doyle Drive funding

November 21, 2008 3:40:09 PM PST
Golden Gate Bridge officials today approved $75 million to help pay for the $1 billion reconstruction of Doyle Drive, the seismically and structurally deficient southern approach to the bridge.

The funding is part of an agreement among regional transportation agencies to contribute to state and federal money for the estimated $1.045 billion construction project.

Under the plan, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission offered $80 million and the transportation authorities of Marin and Sonoma counties chipped in $5 million.

The Golden Gate Bridge District agreed to provide $75 million, even though it hasn't identified a source for the money.

With an additional $420 million in state funding, $202 million in federal funding, and $173 million from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, construction is on track to begin in 2010, according to Tilly Chang, the county transportation authority's deputy director of planning.

Officials have estimated the Doyle Drive project could be completed by 2014.

Chang called today's vote by the board "a huge achievement in regional cooperation."

Votes on the agreement by the MTC and the county transportation authority are scheduled to take place next week, according to Chang.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom later issued a statement praising the cooperative effort.

"This is a critical infrastructure project that will greatly benefit San Francisco and the region," he said.

The highly trafficked Doyle Drive is a major thoroughfare considered by transportation officials to contain three of the Bay Area's most structurally deficient bridges, including one with a federal rating of 2 out of 100.

A collapse of the roadway during a major earthquake could severely impact the entire region, officials have said.

While the Golden Gate Bridge District board widely approved the funding today, some board members expressed serious concerns about how the bridge district will come up with the $75 million.

"We are going to be digging a hole that we have to get back out of," district General Manager Celia Kupersmith acknowledged.

Kupersmith said the district might have to consider "nontraditional sources of funding."

Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie said the district might further explore a corporate partnership program that would allow corporate branding names to appear on the district's Web site.

The Doyle Drive agreement mandates that the district cannot use tolling to fund the project, unless done as part of a "cordon tolling" program at all entrances to San Francisco.

Chang said the SFCTA is exploring such tolling proposals for both the entirety of San Francisco or simply for the downtown area.


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