A week after a state senator announced plans for a bill to block further work on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s planned move from Oakland to San Francisco, the agency is calling a special meeting for Wednesday to hire an architectural firm to remodel the new headquarters building in San Francisco. The $1 million architectural contract is the latest source of conflict over the move. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'tolls' Category
It seems everywhere with bridge tolls has toll cheats. No wonder then that a trucker made headlines with his ruse to hook up a cable to flip over his license plate over to avoid an electronically collected $65 toll on the George Washington Bridge entering New York. Read the rest of this entry »
You can’t put a price on the aggravation of being stuck in traffic. That comment from a Bay Area transportation official become the theme of my story today about the toll on the region from a six-day closure of the Bay Bridge for emergency repairs.
And much as that statement is true, we at the newspaper tried to take an admittedly crude stab at the cost of that aggravation. Our estimate: $7.5 million. This was based on an assumption that motorists who cross the Bay Bridge were delayed an hour a day in their commuting. Read how we made the estimate.
Bay Area bridge operators have scheduled three public hearings on a proposed toll increase on seven state bridges. While bridge operators appear determined to raise tolls, they have many details to figure out.
Members of the Bay Area Toll Authority are wrestling with how to revamp tolls to do two new things: collecting tolls from car pools during rush hour periods on all seven bridges, and structuring Bay Bridge tolls so drivers pay more during peak periods, and less during in off-peak times.
People who take car pools across seven Bay Area bridges may be in for an unpleasant change next year: the end of free rides for car pools during rush-hour periods. And on the Bay Bridge, regular drivers not in car pools also may in for a shock: higher tolls during peak commute periods than at other times.
Proposed options to make those major changes in July were unveiled Monday by the Bay Area Toll Authority, which plans to hold hearings in November. I’m betting both changes are going to come under fire from some angry drivers. Read the rest of this entry »
Bay Area bridge operators disclosed a year ago they were considering raising tolls on seven state-owned bridges by $1 – up to $5 per car. On Wednesday morning, a toll authority committee will get down to the details of when and how to do it.
The Bay Area Toll Authority Overnight Committee meets at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at the MetroCenter, 101 Eighth Street, Oakland to consider a report on options for a toll increase.
One sticky issue is whether to start making car pools pay tolls to cross the Bay Bridge during peak commute hours. The free ride may be over.
Toll Authority administrators say they need a toll increase to pay for a seismic retrofit on the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges, to cover reduced revenues from fewer drivers crossing the bridges, and to absorb the higher cost of credit to pay for bridge operations and retrofits.
Antioch and Dumbarton bridges – the newest of the seven state bridges – initially got a clean bill of health after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But now Caltrans has concluded the two bridges need to be made stronger.
The toll increase would apply to the Bay Bridge, Dumbarton, Antioch, Richmond-San Rafael, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez and San Mateo.
State legislation adding the Dumbarton and Antioch bridges to the State Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program was signed into law Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend. The bill, authored by Assemblyman Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, makes it easier for the Toll Authority to upgrade the two bridges to withstand earthquakes, toll authority staffers said.
A bill allowing the creation of an 800-mile network of carpool/toll lanes in the Bay Area has cleared its first stop in the California Senate.
Assembly Bill 744 by Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico (D-Newark), passed today on a 6-1 vote of the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, and will next go to the Senate Appropiations Committee. Last month, the bill cleared the Assembly on a 58-18 vote.
The bill is controversial, but it keeps moving along. Some motorists detest the idea of being required to pay a toll to get access to any lane on any public freeway. But the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, sponsor of the bill, says traffic congestion can be reduced if single-occupant vehicles are allowed to pay during rush hour for the right to use a lane otherwise limited to carpools. Read the rest of this entry »
Would you pay to save time driving the freeways? Would paying a toll to use an express lane seem less painful if you knew it was helping ease freeway traffic congestion for the masses?.
Bay Area residents are getting closer to finding out. A plan to create an 800-mile network of express lanes open to carpools for free and others for a toll easily passed two big hurdles in the last week. Read the rest of this entry »
A lawsuit challenging funding for BART’s planned rail extension to the Warm Springs district in Fremont is the latest friction in a long-running dispute about how to expand public transit in the Bay Area.
On one side, some transit rebels say expanding BART is the wrong way to go, and wrong thing to do with sales taxes and toll money.
“Too many people have drunk the BART Kool-Aid and become enamored with its technology,” said David Schonbrunn, president of the Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, a non-profit group. Read the rest of this entry »
Car pooling has worked so well on Bay Area bridges that bridge operators are considering ending the free rides for car pool users during weekday rush hours.
I can hear the rumble of protest brewing among car pool users: “Hey government, we took car pools like you asked, so why penalize us by ending the free ride?” Isn’t that like water districts raising water rates in a drought to offset the loss of revenue from customers using less water? some people might ask.
The issue is likely to reverberate through the halls of the Bay Area Toll Authority - a regional toll collection agency – in the next year as the authority’s board and managers discuss how to pay for $950 million in proposed seismic retrofits for the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Read the rest of this entry »