San Francisco

Voters Appear to Support Toll Hike on Bay Area Bridges

A regional measure that will raise tolls on most Bay Area bridges over the next several years appears to be on its way to passing in Tuesday's election with a comfortable margin.

With a substantial portion of the regional votes counted, election returns indicated about 54 percent of voters supported Regional Measure 3.

The measure was on the ballot in all nine counties and earned a majority support in all but two counties: Contra Costa and Solano.

If passed, it will raise tolls by $1 in 2019, 2022 and 2025 on all Bay Area bridges except for the Golden Gate Bridge. By 2025, it would cost $9 to cross those bridges during peak hours and $8 to cross at any other time.

The Bay Area Toll Authority voted unanimously in January to place the measure on the ballot, saying that it would raise an estimated $4.45 billion in funding for transportation improvements throughout the region.

The Golden Gate Bridge is operated by an independent district that sets its own tolls.

The new revenue would go toward many transportation projects, including not just roads but a BART extension to San Jose, a Caltrain extension to the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco and new ferry boats and San Francisco Municipal Railway train cars.

The mayors of the three largest cities in the region campaigned for the measure in the final weeks leading up to Tuesday's election. Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo and interim San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell appeared at the Ferry Building in May to announce their support for the higher tolls.

While many votes were still being counted early Wednesday morning, election returns showed broad support in urban areas. In San Francisco, about 64 percent of voters were in favor, while in Santa Clara County, 61 percent had approved it.

Support in Contra Costa County was dismal, however, with about 43 percent support. Support appeared to be even worse in Solano County, with only about 30 percent in favor of it.

In Alameda County, voters in Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda appeared to be voting in favor of the measure, while voters in San Leandro, Hayward and Fremont rejected it.

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