Toll Increase Coming to Bridge Near You

Increase will costs drivers $100s a year

By Lori Preuitt
|  Friday, Jun 18, 2010  |  Updated 11:25 AM PDT
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Toll Increase Coming to Bridge Near You

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You'll want to use Fastrak if you cost any bridge.

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That 20-minute traffic delay at the toll plaza is sure to increase once the calender turns to July. That's when people are going to have to start paying more to cross and the change is likely to cause longer back-ups.

Starting July 1, tolls are going up on all Bay Area bridges, but the fees on the Bay Bridge come with the added frustration of confusion.

The Bay Bridge is going to something called congestion pricing -- also known as time-of-day pricing. During commute hours the toll will jump from $4 to $6; weekends will be $5. Off hours the toll would remain at $4. Got it? Drivers who use cash are sure to clog the toll plaza booths as they dig for ones.

Tolls will also increase by a buck no matter the time of day or day of the week on the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo bridges.

The freebie for vehicles carrying more than one person will also end. July 1 marks the introduction of a new $2.50 carpool toll. Carpool vehicles must use a designated carpool lane and they can't use cash. Drivers have to have FasTrak pass.  Got that?

If you drive something larger than a car, it gets even more expensive -- and even more confusing. Truckers will see a 300 percent fee increase. This fee also affects recreational boaters and RV users because the change will treat them the same as commercial truckers. The hike plan is based on the number of axles per vehicle and would double the price for boaters and RVers towing their rigs over bridges -- from the current $11.25 to $25.

All the changes are sure to trigger a few temper tantrums. Traffic guy Mike Inouye will track them and share the good ones during the morning shows on NBC Bay Area.

The Bay Bridge alone carriers 280,000 vehicles a day. Just look at those numbers and you will see just how fast the new money will be rolling in. The increase is projected to generate $1.3 million annually for the bridge district.

These are the kind of stories that helps Lori Preuitt really appreciate living in the South Bay.

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