Treasure Island toll vote put on hold

A planned vote on charging a toll to enter and leave Treasure Island has been put on hold so that San Francisco leaders can look at how it would impact the people living on the island.

That vote put on hold. But, not off the table. The city says that the tolls will very likely be coming. The reason why is a building boom on Treasure Island, and the population is set to explode from about 2,000 residents to more than 20,000 by 2030.

Right now, driving over the Bay Bridge is the only practical way to and from Treasure Island and now the city is considering a toll for every vehicle coming to and going off the island. A look around the island and the reason why is clear to see there's a construction boom on the island with two major housing projects already underway.

"With that growth in population and jobs we are obviously going to see in the number of trips per day," said Eric Young from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority.

San Francisco is looking at setting a toll with a price of as much as $3.50 each way to come and go at peak commute hours. Residents on the island say no other San Franciscans have to pay a toll to come and go, they shouldn't have to either.

"If the city of San Francisco is opting to impose a toll on Treasure Island and Yerba Buena Island, what neighborhood is gong to be next. Are we going to put a fence around the Presidio," asked Treasure Island resident Christoph Oppermann.

Entrepreneurs on the island say a toll would strangle their business; discouraging customers from visiting, vendors from dropping off and would force workers to pay an extra 7 dollars a day just to come to their job.

"They're not going to pay, so I'm going to have to pay as a small business owner. And that's about $70,000 out of my pocket that I'm going to have to pay just to maintain status quo," said restaurateur Mee Sun Boice.

Residents and businesses spoke out against the toll Tuesday.

"We can't afford anything else. And for that to be taken away from us for people who can afford to live anywhere they want, it's wrong," said one resident.

Supervisor Jane Kim said while they are deferring a vote for now a toll is very likely coming.

"I just want to make sure that residents are thinking along the lines of not just opposing it for the sake of opposing it," said Kim. "But, really coming up with some ways to make it work for all of us."

Kim agreed tolling just one neighborhood isn't fair and that San Francisco needs to look at adding a toll to drive into other parts of the city.

"As we move forward toward implementation,  I strongly support a parallel study of congestion management and pricing in the entire downtown San Francisco neighborhood," said Kim.

At this point no word on when the vote for Treasure Island tolls will be rescheduled.