SAN FRANCISCO - Under a new proposal, driving to and from Treasure Island could cost a small treasure.
Drivers would still have to make that hair pin turn off the Bay Bridge to get onto Treasure Island. But under a new proposal they would also have to pay a toll to enter the island and another toll to leave.
"To charge to come into a neighborhood seems like money grubbing," said Andy Hess who has worked at The Winery San Francisco on T.I. for the past three years.
"It's not supposed to be a tourist attraction and I think that would make it more of a tourist attraction if you are charging people just to come on the island and look around," said Hess.
Under a proposal by the San Francisco County Transportation Authority, beginning in 2021,. drivers from San Francisco would pay a $3.50 toll to get onto Treasure Island during commute hours and the same amount to leave.
Drivers from the East Bay would pay half as much, $1.75 because they would have already had to pay a bridge toll. The toll decreases during off-peak hours and weekends. No tolls after 7 pm. Low income residents would get one free round trip a day.
Treasure island is undergoing a construction boom. And the toll money would go toward transit improvements including expanded Muni services and more.
"New AC Transit buses to connect to Oakland and a new ferry from the Embarcadero to T.I.," said Eric Young, spokesman for the county transportation authority.
Getting the islands 2,000 residents to go along with the idea may be a tough sell for city officials.
"I wouldn't go far. I'd stay home most of the time," said Derrick Drew, a veteran who lives on the island.
The proposal leaves numerous questions unanswered. Would little leaguers, whose home games and practices are on Treasure Island, be forced to pay the tolls? What about daily workers, and the many clients who receive social services there?
"Not every element has been flushed out yet. Some of the particulars you are talking about we still need to hear from te community about what elements might make sense in this plan," said Young.
The proposal is not a done deal yet. Two public town hall meetings are scheduled over the next two weeks on Treasure Island.