Stephen Ellison

Proposed Commute Toll For Treasure Island Tabled

People who live on Treasure Island have spoken, and for a day at least, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors listened.

A proposed toll that would have tacked about $3 onto every trip on and off the island during commute hours was tabled.

If a toll is implemented, businesses said they’ll go under and residents said they’ll have to leave the island because they won’t be able to afford to live there.

The objections bought them some time as the city tries to map a blueprint for the growing area.

Treasure Island has about 600 households, 100 businesses and infinite possibilities. But that won't be the case, stakeholders say, if you stick them with a toll.

"What are we doing next? Build a fence around North Beach? said Christoph Oppermann, a 19-year Treasure Island resident. "Ask people to get into North Beach to pay $3.50 in, $3.50 out?"

Paris Hayes, who has lived on Treasure Island for 14 years, added: "Let me ask you, would you pay for a service that you don’t get right away? Hayes said, shaking a finger at supervisors. "Would you go to a restaurant and eat your meal five years later?"

The toll, if approved would start in 2021. The money would largely pay for transportation down the road: AC Transit buses and a brand new ferry service for a population expected to boom in the coming decades.

"We have about 1,800 people who live there now, and the population is expected to grow beyond 20,000," said Eric Young, spokesman for the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. "So, very significant growth."

Supervisor Jane Kim, chair of the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency, started to hedge on approval.

"I think it’s inherently unfair that one specific neighborhood is being asked to pay a toll to improve their transportation services, when other neighborhoods aren’t," Kim said.

Other members were equally hesitant after hearing a number of heartbreaking tales, including that of Jeanette Adejobi.

"Treasure Island for us is not a luxury," she said. "It’s because we have to be here; we can’t afford anything else. And for that to be taken away from us, for people who can live anywhere they want? It's wrong."

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