Golden Gate Bridge considers toll hike for carpoolers

February 10, 2010 5:49:48 AM PST
The free ride may soon be over for North Bay carpoolers who use the Golden Gate Bridge.

The seven state owned bridges will start charging a carpool toll this summer to help reduce their deficits. The Golden Gate was the last holdout.

There will be a lot of consideration and public hearings before a final vote on the toll, which the bridge district's board of directors won't decide until later in May.

The proposed new carpool toll is one of several changes on the table to generate more revenue for the Golden Gate Bridge.

If approved, a $3 toll could be collected as soon as July 1st for all carpool commuters who currently cross the Golden Gate for free during the rush hours of 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. This includes carpools of three or more, motorcyclists and airport shuttles. Clean-air vehicles with white DMV decals, which also cross toll-free during commute hours, would also have to pay $3.

In addition, the district is considering a toll hike for trucks and other multiple-axle vehicles. The new fees would help the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District deal with a projected $132 million budget deficit over the next five years.

These new tolls would generate about $2 million revenue a year:

  • Carpool tolls would bring in about 1.3 million
  • The truck and multi-axle vehicle toll rate change would initially generate $600,000, and even more in a next phase

    The Bridge District says carpoolers should consider it a half-price discount compared to the current cash toll of $6. If it goes through, the Golden Gate would join the region's seven state-owned toll bridges that just added a first-ever carpool toll.