Golden Gate Bridge toll could increase

January 22, 2008 9:07:08 PM PST
It wasn't too long ago that it cost just $3 dollars to cross the Golden Gate Bridge. Now it looks likely the price will go up to $6 dollars by the end of this year.

It could soon cost $6 dollars to cross the Golden Gate Bridge, $5 dollars for those with FasTrak. On Friday, the Bridge District Board will vote on beginning public hearings on the proposed increase.

"This is not something they like to do. It's the toughest decision for them to take. They've been pushing it out and pushing it out for the last two years, avoiding to get to this point," said Bridge District Spokeswoman Mary Curry.

The Bridge District was facing a $454 million dollar deficit over five years, but after layoffs, transit fare increases and other belt tightening that deficit is down to $91 million dollars. A $1 dollar toll increase will raise $92 million.

The bridge will likely hold a series of hearings in San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma Counties.

"Raising tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge is a likely outcome of the process. We've been talking about it for a couple of years, that you know another one would be coming, inflationary factors contributing to that and as I've said, our board is committed to hearing from the public before they take any action," said Curry.

The board's vote on a toll hike wouldn't come before May at the earliest. If approved, drivers will be handing that over that extra dollar no sooner than July, and no later than January of 2009.

"Raising tolls is the toughest thing we face. You think security is a tough thing, but tolls it's just as though. It hits people right in the pocket here at home," said Curry.

This comes as the deadline approaches for San Francisco to come up with a plan to collect a separate toll on Doyle Drive.

If that plan gets put into place, a roundtrip drive between the North Bay and San Francisco at rush hour, could soon cost as much as $10 dollars a day.