Thursday, November 14, 2013
According to projections, within five years, a drive across the Golden Gate Bridge could cost as much as $8. Officials say it's a necessary trade-off, as tolls help subsidize the area's ferry and bus service.
Thursday, February 07, 2013
(San Francisco -- KALW) Last week, the Golden Gate Bridge began testing a new all-electronic toll collection system. In the past, there’s always been the option to hand cash to a human being.
But in sixty days, if all goes according to plan, human toll collectors will be completely phased out. Mary Currie, the spokesperson for Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, said it’s mostly about the budget.
“We have a $66 million, five-year shortfall, and with the movement from manual collection to electronic collection we can save approximately $16 million over an eight-year period,” Currie said.
Currie expects the change will be fairly easy, because more than two-thirds of the people who cross the Golden Gate Bridge today already have a FasTrak--an opt-in program that lets drivers pay their tolls electronically. But Currie says drivers can also pay using credit cards or cash, use smart phones or kiosks to pre-pay.
People who blow through the toll plaza without pre-paying will get a bill for six dollars mailed to their house.
The all-electronic toll system is scheduled to go into effect at the end of March.
But if this Q&A in the San Jose Mercury is any indication of how Bay Area residents feel about the switch, the Golden Gate Bridge transit district has their P.R. work cut out for them. People are asking about everything from what to do when driving a rental cars to how to this will work for those who only take rare trips across the bridge. While the transit district has answers for most of the questions, drivers will need to know them before the big shift.
Of the 28 toll Golden Gate Bridge toll workers, 14 have either retired or have found other jobs within the transit district. In the event the district can’t place the remaining workers, they will get a severance package, the details of which are still being negotiated with the toll takers’ union. The union has not made any toll workers available for comment.
Though many highways use all electronic tolling, by Currie's count, the Golden Gate is the largest bridge to attempt such a system in the United States. Two smaller bridges that have eschewed cash tolls are the SR 520 "floating bridge" in Seattle and the Leeville Bridge in Louisiana. Currie said that while Golden Gate Bridge is among the first bridges to try this new tolling system, it certainly won’t be the last.
“We will see all-electronic tolling across the United States in the next 10 years,” she said.
Monday, April 16, 2012
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer is the first likely 2013 New York mayoral candidate out of the box with a detailed plan for financing the city's transit system. It's a a mix of solutions -- but the gist is this, there should be more financing for transit, and not just from transit riders.
Instead, Stringer wants to bring back the commuter tax, killed by Albany over a decade ago, as well as take a fresh look at congestion charging, bridge tolls, and other sources of funds for transit.
All of the taxes and fees would require approval by state lawmakers and Governor Cuomo. In the past, leaders of both parties and Governor Cuomo have not supported congestion charging, and Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver brokered the deal that killed the commuter tax.
Stringer's proposals, to be delivered at a speech to the Association for Better New York Tuesday morning, now set a bar for the other candidates -- City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Public Advocate Bill DeBlasio, and former City Comptroller William Thompson.
Other than Mayor Bloomberg's congestion pricing proposal, transit funding has not been a big part of mayoral campaigns in the past. Stringer's speech is a sign that that there will be more discussion to come in the next 19 months.
Among his proposed solutions:
- Dedicate the NY Mortgage Recording Tax, which currently funds transit operating expenses, to transit capital expenses. Stringer says the tax fluctuates too much to be a reliable source of year-to-year funds.
- Instead, he wants to use the tax as the basis for a transit infrastructure fund, to draw in in union and other pension investments.
- To replace the loss of the recording tax to the operating funds, he suggests a number of possible funding sources.
- Bridge tolls, a la the 2010 Ravitch Plan.
- A congestion charge, a la the Sam Schwartz "Fair Plan"
- Letting the MTA borrow against increased property tax revenue that comes when new subway stations are built.
- A restoration of the commuter tax, which was repealed by the state legislature in 1999.
Stringer says he'd spend the money on more bus rapid transit, light rail on 42nd street, and connecting Red Hook Brooklyn to the Navy Yard, an AirTrain to LaGuardia, and an "X" subway line connecting Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
By Casey Miner
(San Francisco, Casey Miner, KALW) It wasn't so long ago that carpooling on the Bay Area's bridges was free. Alas, those days are no more. As of July 1, tolls rose on all Bay Area bridges. Carpooling now costs $2.50; the regular toll is $6 (up from $4). It's an experiment with congestion pricing: Local transit officials are betting they can reduce traffic by making it more expensive to drive during the most crowded times of day.
The data is still coming in, but so far the plan seems to be working. On the Bay Bridge, rush hour delays have fallen by nearly half. There have been some other interesting results as well—for example, 12,000 fewer cars drove through the carpool lanes last month.
So where did all those commuters go? More this evening, on KALW News' Crosscurrents.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
With all the news of the newNYC MTA fare hike proposals, it's hard to remember last year's effort to bail out the MTA. Richard Ravitch (now the Lt. Governor) had been commissioned by New York Governor David Paterson to develop a plan to bail out the MTA. That proposal included two main sections -- a 0.34 percent tax on employers in the suburban counties surrounding New York, or about $200 per employee making $60,000 a year, and bridge tolls on some East River bridges. For reasons understood fully only by Robert Moses, some New York City bridges across that river are free, others, owned by the MTA, are tolled.
The bridge toll proposal went nowhere. But the tax was passed, and New Yorkers who make even the tiniest amount of freelance income get an unpleasant quarterly reminder from the New York tax department that their MTA mobility tax is due. Not that most New Yorker' love the MTA as it is.
Now a Westchester County newspaper, The Times Herald-Record has asked two of the candidates for governor what they think of that tax (Hat tip: Tri-State Transportation Campaign's Mobilizing the Region blog). Republican Rick Lazio, a former Congressman says, flatly, he's against the tax. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, the Democrat says:
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation). Like moth to a flame, I'm drawn to read every page when a candidate releases a 252-page briefing book. So when Andrew Cuomo sent out his "The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action" on Sunday night, I was excited. Really.
I wouldn't be spending the campaign waiting for my interview, or listening closely to q-and-a's, or shouting out questions at press conferences. It would be all there, in black and white, the answers to all my questions. Too bad I was wrong.