News

Voters to decide on raising bridge tolls to fund $4.45 billion in transportation funding

State lawmakers approved a bill that will ask voters to OK a $3 toll hike on all Bay Area bridges except on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Last week the state Legislature passed SB 595, which will now ask voters in all nine Bay Area counties to decide on whether to phase in the rate increase. For some local commuters, that could add up to as much as $9 to cross the Bay, money which will then go toward beefing up the region's existing infrastructure and transit agencies.

Voters will now get the chance in either November or June of next year to pass the bill with a simple majority.

The bill has already faced pushback from local commuter advocates and Bay Area lawmakers, with California State Assembly members Catharine Baker (R-San Ramon), Tim Grayson (D-Concord) and Jim Frazier (D-Brentwood) voting no on the measure.

$4.4 Billion Bay Area Transportation Plan — to Be Paid for by Higher Bridge Tolls — Sent to Governor

If you live in the Bay Area, you’ll be hearing a lot about Senate Bill 595 over the next year or so. If you’re a regular user of any of the region’s seven state-owned toll bridges — that’s all of them, except the Golden Gate Bridge — you’ll want to pay close attention.

Several Contra Costa County legislators — Assemblymember Tim Grayson and Congressman Mark DeSaulnier among them — opposed SB 595, saying that it’s 1) a regressive tax and 2) a ripoff for the residents of the East Bay.

The Mercury News: Jerry Brown, a global climate leader, fights to reach deal at home

As Gov. Jerry Brown pushes an international climate-change agenda, he faces a crucial test at home: ensuring that California’s signature program to tackle global warming survives into the next decade. Brown is fighting for a deal this month to extend the state’s cap-and trade program, which forces power plants, factories and refineries to pay to pollute and is set to expire in 2020. It has not come easily.

East Bay Times: Editorial: Legislature should reverse BART’s deceit of voters

Three East Bay representatives deserve great credit for trying to restore some fiscal sanity and honesty to BART.

The Bay Area’s critical transit district is being run under a cloud of deceit. District officials last year convinced voters to pass a $3.5 billion bond measure for capital projects. They promised that the district would continue to kick in its fair share, but less than three months after the election they are moving to renege on that.