News

Bay Bridge closure cost $1.9-million in toll revenue

Traffic increases on other bridges kept losses from going higher

The closure of the Bay Bridge for six days has resulted in a net loss of about $1.9 million in revenues on state-owned toll bridges in the Bay Area, Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said today.

Goodwin said the region has lost about $2.4 million in revenue from the Bay Bridge. But he said part of that amount has been made up by a 36 percent increase in traffic on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, a 25 percent increase on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and a 10 percent increase on the Dumbarton Bridge.

Goodwin said the lost revenue represents about 1.7 percent of the $113 million in toll revenues that are collected on the seven state-owned bridges in the Bay Area annually.

He said the lost revenue "is an obstacle but isn't a calamity."

Bridge toll revenues pay for the operation and maintenance of bridges as well as for seismic retrofit work and transit and highway improvements in the region, Goodwin said.

On Wednesday, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the MTC's sister agency, will hold the first of three public hearings on a proposal to raise tolls on the seven state-owned bridges by $1, from $4 to $5, beginning on July 1, 2010.

Goodwin said the toll increase was first proposed nearly a year ago and doesn't have anything to do with trying to make up for lost revenues from the closure of the Bay Bridge the past six days.

The proposed toll increase would help finance seismic retrofit work on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges, offset higher borrowing costs and address a five-year decline in toll-paying traffic on the bridges, Goodwin said.

The public hearing on Wednesday will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter at 101 Eighth St. in Oakland.

There also will be public hearings at San Mateo City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 and at the Concord Senior Center in Concord at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Goodwin said Bay Area Toll Authority commissioners probably will vote on the proposed toll increase in January.

Jeff Shuttleworth, Bay City News

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Nov 3, 2009 at 8:15 am

Ah yes, a golden opportunity to once again cry out for more money! Now the spokesperson can estimate the loss in dollars but not the dollar offset from increased tolls atother bridges. How about the increase in fares enjoyed by BART as we all stood in the cars. Once again, our government at work!---and they want to run healthcare? Please!!!


Like this comment
Posted by Sue
a resident of Val Vista
on Nov 3, 2009 at 8:35 am

Nicely said Bob. If I ran our household budget like the government we wouldnt have our house....


Like this comment
Posted by Stay Cool
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 8:56 am

Stay Cool is a registered user.

That's so weird, because nowhere in the article does it say they are asking to increase tolls to offset lost revenue from the BB closure. The toll increase is for seismic retrofit - we talked about that a while back.
"Goodwin said the toll increase was first proposed nearly a year ago and doesn't have anything to do with trying to make up for lost revenues from the closure of the Bay Bridge the past six days.
The proposed toll increase would help finance seismic retrofit work on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges, offset higher borrowing costs and address a five-year decline in toll-paying traffic on the bridges, Goodwin said."
Any opportunity to bash government, budgets, and most importantly, healthcare reform, though!


Like this comment
Posted by Raised prices=decline in users, so
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:04 am

They raised the price, so more people drive around the bay, or work from home, and so revenue goes down.
So they think the answer is to raise the price more?

Is it really fair to finance all bay area road seismic by charging for the bridge that was originally paid for by taxpayers, and was supposed to be free once paid off, while the politicians use the gas taxes and road taxes for other things?


Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 3, 2009 at 9:28 am

OK, let's not raise the tolls and forget about the seismic retrofit for the Dumbarton (it's ugly anyways) and Antioch bridges. I rarely use those bridges so I could adapt when they fall into the bay after the next big shaker. Sounds like a great plan to me.


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Curious - why does it always have to be a case of increasing revenue to pay for something that is required? Why can't the budget be scrubbed to see what other things can be cost reduced or de-prioritized to allow for such improvements.

It seems like California is quick to put out its hand for more without first looking at how to use what it already has. I think a mentality shift is required, look at A before going straight to B.


Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 3, 2009 at 1:49 pm

@ PP - OK, so where should the cuts be made? Maybe we can take from our schools, or police, or fire, or maybe healthcare for kids. No wait, I got it, let's pull money from all the public services YOU use and channel it into the seismic retrofit.

I'm always amazed that the masses think there is this big pot o' money sitting in Sac just being handed out for all kinds of frivolous purposes. Don't you think the first thing any Controller or budget analyst would do is to look for where to cut?


Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Nov 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Let's start with state employees OT (especially in the prison system and Fire Departments). Doubling your six figure (or close to it) salary is getting out of hand. It used to be such that a state job paid less than the private sector but offered greater job security and better benefits / retirement. Today that doesn't seem to be the case.

Again, I'm not completely against raising the tolls (after all a toll raise is a usage based increase that really only affects those that benefit from the use of the bridge on a usage basis). But to me it seems that bridge repairs and major upgrades should be a known component of the bridge operation and budgeted accordingly. i.e. every xx years a major expense will be incurred, so funds need to be allocated each year from revenues to account for these future expenses.

To me it just seems the path of least resistance is to ask for more money instead of fighting to stretch the dollars the state already has.


Like this comment
Posted by bob123
a resident of another community
on Nov 4, 2009 at 8:17 am

Pleasanton Parent has the right idea. A budget that is realistic, considers future necesary and anticpated expenditures, relooks at what is being spent annually, establishes a reserve for unanticipated expenses...wow sounds like what responsible people do everyday and what,for example,HOAs are required to do by law. Why the state or local governments can not do it is the question. And yes, Curious there are plenty of cuts that can be made without effecting those specific areas you raise. Perhaps we can put some of the folks who are on welfare to work, clean out public housing so those not eligible are out, reduce waste and fraud in "entitlement programs' that have become a way of life rather than a tempoary assistance program to name a few.I guess with Garamandi in all this will happen pronto!


Like this comment
Posted by Bobby
a resident of Del Prado
on Nov 4, 2009 at 8:46 am

I am surprised they did not talk about the increase in revenues for BART and the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions because no one drove. I guess that did not fit the "I need money mantra"


Like this comment
Posted by rev share
a resident of Country Fair
on Nov 4, 2009 at 10:19 am

Maybe the state should approach BART for a share of the increased revenue (windfall) they received while the Bay Bridge was out of commission.


Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 5, 2009 at 9:20 pm

this is ridiculous!!


I agree with Bobby, what about all the people who were forced to take public transportation???


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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