SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In the June 5 election every voter in the Bay Area is being asked to decide whether the bridge tolls should be increased to pay for transportation projects. On Monday the mayors from the largest cities got together to urge those voters to say yes.
San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, San Francisco Mark Farrell, and Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf stood on the Embarcadero in San Francisco with the Bay Bridge as a backdrop. It was a fitting setting for the push by the Bay Area mayors for Regional Measure 3, known as RM3.
Motorists who cross that span and all other bridges except the independently owned Golden Gate, would see their tolls hiked by 3 dollars over the next seven years. The money raised.. nearly 4.5 billion dollars would tackle Bay Area traffic congestion. Mayor Schaaf said "RM3 is about saving the planet and saving our sanity. As commuters in the Bay area, we are tired of being jammed up and delayed and kept from our families while stuck on Bay Area roads."
The toll increases would pay for dozens of projects including increasing ferry service, improving bus systems, and replacing BART's aging fleet of trains. supporters say it's a coordinated regional approach to tackle the traffic crisis. San Francisco Mayor Farrell called RM3 a game changer..not only for the city of San Francisco but for the Bay Area."
But what can you expect in terms of upgrades to the bridges you'll be paying more to cross or the surrounding roadways? Most of Measure 3 doesn't go there, and is instead spent on mass transit. That's one reason Walnut Creek Congressman Mark DeSaulnier says he's casting his first No vote ever on a transportation project.
"If you're going to raise the tolls on the bridges, there should be a benefit to the toll payer and there isn't," DeSaulnier said.
For RM3 to pass a majority of voters in all nine Bay Area counties combined must approve. Voters approved two previous transportation measures, RM1 in 1988 and RM2 in 2004.