Bay Area bridge tolls to increase one dollar in January, except Golden Gate

- In just a matter of weeks commuters will have to cough up an extra dollar to cross Bay Area bridges.

If you want to cross the Bay Area's seven state owned bridges you've got to pay and starting in January commuters will have to pay an extra dollar.

The Bay Area Toll Authority held a public hearing on the matter Wednesday and no one came to speak.

In fact the month-long public comment period drew to a close this afternoon with just two emails weighing in on the toll increase, both opposed.

Bay Area voters had their say in June when they approved regional Measure 3 raising tolls on all Bay Area bridges except the Golden Gate by one dollar.

The Toll Authority says even though voters had their say it had to hold public hearings and will officially vote on the toll increase in December as a matter of formality. "Voters approved regional Measure 3 in June, but there are just steps that have to be taken to comply with state law in other to put the will of the voters into effect in January," said John Goodwin, spokesman for the Bay Area Toll Authority.

Some commuters who use the bridges say they'd almost forgotten about the coming toll increases. "It's not something I'm looking forward to. It doesn't feel fair that it's on the part of the commuter that we have to pay," said commuter Brooke Caldwell.

The Measure 3 toll increases are earmarked for transit improvement projects--including extending BART to San Jose, improving public transit and easing congestion on some of the Bay Area's worst bottlenecks.

Some drivers say paying an extra dollar per trip is all right with them if it means a better commute.

"If it improves the traffic flow and we have better roads, I'm okay with a dollar," said commuter Praveen Prasad.

The toll increase set for Jan. 1 is just the first of the increases,  the toll will go up by another dollar in  2022 and another dollar again in 2025.
 

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