Authorities looking for private sector help to close $132-million budget shortfall

Interactive visitors' center eyed as revenue-producing source

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is looking for a private sector partner to design, run and operate educational, interactive visitor programs and activities and raise revenue to help close a $132 million, five-year budget shortfall.

The district envisions a company that could, for example, conduct a public tour along the catwalk under the famed span, bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie said Tuesday.

"It would be a safe and exhilarating behind-the-scenes experience on areas of the Bridge not currently open to the public," Currie said.

There would be no company logos or signage.

Curry cited the "Bridge Climb" at the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia as the district's inspiration, although climbing the Golden Gate Bridge is out of the question, she said.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb is a 3.5-hour guided tour along the outer arch of the bridge on catwalks and ladders to its summit. Climbers receive a Climber Certificate and a photo of their group.

Currie said the district wants a partner with at least 10 years of "tried and true" experience in such revenue-generating educational, interactive and recreational activities.

A visitor center linked to the endeavor also would raise revenue, district officials said.

The endeavor also must be sensitive to the bridge's status as a historic public facility and to its function as a major Bay Area transportation and economic link, district officials said.

Ideal revenue-raising activities will be educational, multi-cultural and interactive learning experiences that provide enhanced physical access to the public of the Golden Gate Bridge structures in a safe and secure manner.

District officials Tuesday issued Requests for Statements of Qualifications from qualified firms. The response deadline is Jan. 26. Interviews with company representatives would be in February.

There is no established date when the endeavor would be ready for public use.

The proposed so-called "concession opportunities" are among 33 distinct proposals to raise revenue or reduce expenses the district board reviewed Oct. 30 to reduce its deficit and the need for increased transit fares and Bridge tolls, the district said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Like this comment
Posted by Tom
a resident of Old Towne
on Nov 26, 2009 at 10:41 am

Can you say, "Bungee Jumping"?!?!

How cool would that be? You could charge $1000 to do it and you'd still have a waiting list of people wanting to do it.

Like this comment
Posted by little m
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 26, 2009 at 11:53 am

Did you say Bungee Jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge ... I'm so there ... oh BTW could I sign up my 3rd wife ... and I'll take care of tying her straps ... oh yeah ... I'll pay $2000 for the priviledge.

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

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