Price jump would funnel billions to transit projects
Regional Measure 3, the potential new bridge toll law with a blasé name but a heated history, will finish its long march to the ballot box today as the San Francisco Board of Supervisors are expected to approve putting it before voters on the June election.
If it passes with a majority vote across all the Bay Area, Regional Measure 3 will increase tolls on all regional bridges, except for the Golden Gate Bridge, by a total of $3 by 2022. That’ll be the biggest single hike in Bay Area history and result in $8 crossings on most bridges and $9 tolls on the Bay Bridge.
In return, backers like RM3’s original author, State Senator Jim Beall of San Jose, promise that the resulting billions in fare money will go toward transit projects to help dispel traffic and expand public transit.
The pro-hike group Yes On RM3 has compiled a list of potential benefits, ranging from such grand ambitions as “preliminary engineering and design of second BART Transbay rail crossing” to more ordinary aims like “new express lanes on highways such as 101 and 280.”
In a December poll of 4,151 Bay Area residents (68 percent of them drivers or carpoolers), 85 percent said that traffic in the Bay Area has gotten worse, rivaling housing as a top regional concern.
Some 54 percent of those polled said they would pass RM3 if the vote was held today, including majorities in all counties except for Contra Costa County and the “Napa/Solano subregion.” We should note that polling six months out is scarcely set in stone.
According to the resolution that goes before City Hall today, the actual ballot language of the measure will read:
Shall voters authorize a plan to reduce auto and truck traffic, relieve crowding on BART, unclog freeway bottlenecks, and improve bus, ferry, BART and commuter rail service as specified in the plan in this voter pamphlet, with a $1 toll increase effective in 2019, a $1 increase in 2022, and a $1 increase in 2025, on all Bay Area toll bridges except the Golden Gate Bridge, with independent oversight of all funds?
Note: A vote for RM3 does not necessarily amount to an endorsement of the measure, although one board member, Supervisor Jane Kim, already voted in favor of the toll raise at a different city board months ago.