Lawsuit filed to stop Regional Measure 3 over technicality

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ByCarolyn Tyler KGO logo
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
Lawsuit filed to stop Regional Measure 3
A lawsuit has been filed over Regional Measure 3, a recent Bay Area-wide ballot measure that raises tolls around the region to pay for road improvements.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Regional measure three, known as RM3 would raise about $5 billion to tackle Bay Area congestion.

The money would come from hiking bridge tolls three bucks phased in over the next few years.

RELATED: Ballot measure would raise Bay Area bridge tolls $3

The mayors of the three largest cities backed the measure, and 55 percent of the voters did too. Now, a lawsuit filed in state court by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association claims the toll hike is actually a tax, not a fee, and needed a two-thirds majority to pass.

The plaintiffs, three bay area commuters also point out that the bulk of the money generated would go to public transportation projects like ferries, and new BART cars.

Tim Bittle is a lawyer with the association. "None of the money is being spent on the bridges. Some is being spent on road improvements but they aren't even indirectly related to the bridges."

But backers say the mass transit improvements will take the load off the bridges. Nearly three dozen projects could now be stalled.

RELATED: Fare hikes, Golden Gate bridge toll increase now in effect in Bay Area

Randy Rentschler is with the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which worked with the state legislature to put RM3 on the ballot. Rentschler says, "This obstructionism is not going to be helpful to Bay area commuters or the Bay area economy."

The Bay Area Council which is comprised of 325 of the regions largest employers also hopes the lawsuit fails.

The head of the council Jim Wunderman says, "I think its unfortunate the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers chose to use against improving traffic congestion, instead they are suing to make it worse."

The first one dollar toll hike is slated for January.

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