Bay Area bridge tolls rise $1 as of New Year's Day

First of three increases approved when voters passed RM3 in June

Tolls on the seven, state-owned Bay Area bridges went up on Jan. 1, the first in a series of voter-approved increases to fund regional transportation infrastructure projects.

Regular tolls for motorcycles, and two-axle cars and trucks rose to $6 from $5 on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges, according to the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Regular tolls on the Bay Bridge went up to $7 from $6 on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Weekday tolls on off-commute hours and weekend tolls also rose by $1.

The Golden Gate Bridge, which is overseen by a separate district, is not subject to the toll increases.

The increases are the result of Senate Bill 595, which was confirmed in June when Bay Area voters passed Regional Measure 3. Officials with the toll authority said the hikes are the first on the bridges since 2010. Tolls will increase again by $1 on Jan. 1, 2022 and Jan. 1, 2025.

SB 595 also established a 50-cent toll discount for two-axle vehicles crossing more than one of the state-owned toll bridges during weekday commute hours of 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Motorists must pay their tolls electronically with FasTrak to receive the commuter discount.

Tolls for vehicles with three or more axles also increased by $1 on Jan. 1, at all seven of the state-owned toll bridges: to $16 for three axles, $21 for four-axles, $26 for five axles, $31 for six axles, and $36 for combinations with seven or more axles.

Since two pending lawsuits are challenging the validity of SB 595 and RM3 in San Francisco Superior Court, the authority approved of setting up an escrow account to hold the funds generated by RM3 toll increases until the cases are resolved.

If BATA prevails in the litigation, the funds will be applied to BATA-approved programs. If BATA should lose the litigation, the funds will be reimbursed to toll-payers.

Story by Bay City News Service, with Weekly staff contributing.

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