Toll hike measure placed on June ballot | February 2, 2018 | Pleasanton Weekly | PleasantonWeekly.com |

Pleasanton Weekly

News - February 2, 2018

Toll hike measure placed on June ballot

Voters to decide on bridge toll increases to pay for transportation projects across Bay Area

by Erika Alvero

Pleasanton voters will have their say on proposed Bay Area bridge toll hikes after the Bay Area Toll Authority last week approved of putting a resolution on the June 5 ballot in all nine Bay Area counties that would increase tolls to fund traffic congestion relief projects throughout the region, including in the Tri-Valley.

Regional Measure 3 would fund projects being considered or currently underway by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the overarching entity of BATA, for a total cost of $4.45 billion. If approved by a combined majority of voters, the projects would be financed by toll increases on the Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges in coming years.

"Nobody likes higher tolls," MTC Chair Jake Mackenzie said after the vote Jan. 24. "But nobody likes traffic jams or crush-loaded train cars either."

The Regional Measure 3 plan was developed last year by the State Legislature in conjunction with MTC, as a way to deal with congestion issues and pay for highway and transit improvements. In October 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 595, authorizing the measure to be placed on the June ballot. The BATA vote Wednesday confirmed the measure for the ballot.

If Measure 3 is approved, the proposed toll increases would begin with a $1 increase on the seven state-owned toll bridges beginning Jan. 1, 2019, followed by a $1 increase in January 2022 and another $1 increase in January 2025.

The Golden Gate Bridge is owned and operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which sets its own tolls.

A handful of Tri-Valley highway and transportation improvements are among the projects that would benefit from the measure:

* Interstate 680/Highway 84 Interchange Reconstruction — $85 million.

* Interstate 680/Interstate 880/Route 262 Freeway Connector — $15 million.

* Bay Area Corridor Express Lanes (regional program) — $300 million.

* Tri-Valley Transit Access Improvements — $100 million.

"The Bay Area has been blessed by several consecutive years of strong economic growth," Mackenzie said. "If our region is going to maintain its economic leadership, we have to invest in projects that will keep businesses and their workers moving."

Editor's note: Information from the Bay City News Service was used in this story.

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