As traffic increases, lawmakers call for possible new bridge to help Bay Area traffic

Bay Area voters will soon be asked to vote on a proposed toll increase.

Wednesday Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier sent a letter to the Metropolitan Transportation Commission saying if you're asking for more money commuters should see a new bridge and hopefully less traffic.

The commute across the Bay Bridge is congested, to say the least.

"It's rigorous. It's terrible. It's awful," said Berkeley resident Jason Denney when asked to describe his commute into San Francisco.

Feinstein and DeSaulnier say the solution could be an additional Bay Bridge south of the current one. It's an idea known as the Southern Crossing.

"I think it's a good idea. I like the idea honestly," said Denney, who thinks it would ease congestion at the entrance to the Bay Bridge.

Regional Measure III is a proposed toll increase. DeSaulnier says East Bay residents need to get something if they're paying more.

"They need to see a benefit specifically through those corridors for what they're being asked to spend more money on a toll," said DeSaulnier.

Crossing the bay at Interstate-238 to Interstate-380 is not a new idea.

"We've studied this numerous times starting in 1990, we did it again in 2000, we updated again in 2010," explained Randy Rentschler, Director of Legislation and Public Affairs with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission.

"I wonder what the cost would be. I think if they tell you that this is the cost and this is what you have to sacrifice than sure it'd be nice, but who's going to fund it?" said Ashley Lin, an Oakland resident who commutes to San Francisco.

"Keep in mind that a structure across the bay would easily cost ten billion dollars, easily. That's about a $5 toll increase on every bridge across the entire Bay Area," said Rentschler.

A new bridge wouldn't be enough Rentschler explained. He says voters expect BART tubes, bike lanes, and more when it comes to spanning the bay. "There are many reasons to build infrastructure in the Bay Area. It's just that it's always larger than just one thing," said Rentschler.

Traffic loads on Interstate-880 and 101 where the bridge would connect is another factor to consider.