San Jose

Bridge Toll Hike Proving to be a Contentious Measure

A contentious measure on the ballot Tuesday would affect thousands of commuters if it passes: Regional Measure 3 proposes hiking Bay Area bridge tolls by $3 over a six-year period.

One thing both sides of the issue can agree on is traffic on the Bay Bridge and all the other state bridges is terrible. The issue of contention is how to alleviate the traffic and make things better.

Those in favor of Measure 3 believe a toll increase will make it better. But they also point to several transit improvements that would be funded throughout the nine-county region. If it passes, the measure calls for more money towards a BART extension to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara; a Caltrain extension to the new Transbay Transit Center; new railcars; rebuilt freeway interchanges; and new connections.

Carl Guardino, president and CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, spent Monday evening passing out fliers, telling potential voters why they should vote yes on Measure 3.

"This is how we fund those 35 improvements that we’ve known we’ve needed for decades, and they don’t happen for free," he said. "I hate tolls; I hate traffic more."

The toll increase would happen over six years on all seven state-owned bridges. The Golden Gate Bridge is excluded.

The first $1 increase would kick in next year, with $1 hikes coming again in 2022 and 2025. Tolls would eventually rise to $9 during peak hours on the Bay Bridge.

Cupertino Vice Mayor Rod Sinks is against the toll increase.

"It’s hard to support a measure when our needs are so great here," he said. "Half our teachers say they are leaving. What’s our answer to those teachers? This measure does not address that."

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