Ballot Measure would raise Bay Area bridge tolls $3

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- No matter how you get to work, you've no doubt seen the impacts of the bay area's thriving economy. Packed trains, congested highways, late ferries and aging transit systems are the norm, but voters are being asked to pass regional measure three to fix them.

Jim Wunderman is with the Bay Area Council. He helped put Regional Measure 3 on the Ballot.

"It's a 4.5 billion dollar measure that will provide for about 35 projects," said Wunderman.

He says a "Yes" vote will raise money by increasing tolls on all bay area bridges - except the Golden Gate.

RELATED: Would you pay $9 to cross the Bay Bridge?

The first increase would be by one-dollar in January. It would go up another dollar in 2022. And by 2025, it will cost you 8-dollars to cross most bridges and up to $9 on the Bay Bridge.

"We want to smooth out the system - make it more efficient, we're not planning to build new freeways here, but we're going to smooth out the express lane system at the same time try to move more people onto mass transportation," said Wunderman.

If passed, there would be some road improvements, but, most of the money would be spent on improving the Bay Area's existing mass transit infrastructure.

It will provide for increased service on the bay providing more frequent ferry service on existing routes and expanding others.

It promises to replace BART's aging fleet of trains - and help pay for the San Jose extension and funding rail projects in the North and East Bay, and make improvements and extend Amtrak's Capitol Corridor to Palo Alto.

The measure would also improve bus service, extending routes and improving fleets around the bay.

From the looks of it, the measure has something for every county.

RELATED: Police man finds sophistocated trick used to avoid paying toll

"This is the first transportation tax I've opposed in oh - the 28 years I've held elected office," said Walnut Creek Congressman Mark DeSaulnier. He says he's voting "no" on Regional Measure 3. Mostly because those who foot the bill will see the least from its passage.

"The busiest corridor in the Bay Area is the 80 corridor going across the Bay Bridge - both Eastbound and Westbound and it is going to do very little for those people in that traffic," added DeSaulnier.

He worries that the Metropolitan Transportation Commission will be responsible for planning and paying for many of the proposed projects.

DeSaulnier was once on the M-T-C board and he says its record of spending money well isn't good. Starting with the decision to move its headquarters from Oakland to San Francisco.

Congressman DeSaulnier added, "They spent $250 million for a building they didn't need - and they were $5 billion over budget on the Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge."

To Pass, Regional Measure 3 requires a majority of Voters from all 9 Bay Area counties combined say yes.

"We have an incredible quality of life here - we have an incredible economy here - but we have challenges as a result of our success and we need to invest in solving those things and this is one way the region can come together," said Wunderman.

For more on recent ballot measures to increase tolls in the Bay Area, click here.

Written and Produced by Ken Miguel
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