|The California State Assembly Thursday approved legislation that would reduce traffic congestion and auto pollution in the Bay Area.
Senate Bill 1731, authored by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, seeks to institute an additional $1 vehicle license fee for residents of the nine Bay Area counties for a Freeway Performance Initiative.
The fee would provide funding to expand the coverage of roving tow trucks that operate on area freeways, complete the detection system that monitors freeway conditions, expand ramp metering on the freeway system, and implement other strategies to improve existing freeways.
The bill has been sent to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who will have until Sept. 30 to sign or veto the measure.
Yee said in a prepared statement that the initiative is "the most cost-effective strategy to reduce traffic congestion, improve our air quality, and reduce the region's carbon footprint. For a very small cost, we can ensure that wrecks...are quickly cleared away, allowing for improved traffic flow and fewer cars sitting idle."
Bay Area automobile owners have paid a $1 fee since 1986, which established 2,000 solar-powered emergency roadside call boxes and an 83-vehicle fleet of Freeway Service Patrol tow trucks that patrol busy highways during peak travel times.
However, the value of the fee has lost more than 45 percent due to inflation and the costs associated with the service.
The Bay Area Freeway Service Patrol responded to more than 127,000 incidents in 2007.
--Bay City News Service
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