Golden Gate Bridge Tolls Could Reach Nearly $10

December 20, 2018
Golden Gate Bridge

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) — Drivers may have to fork over an extra $1.75 to cross the Golden Gate Bridge under a proposal that officials are exploring. 

Directors of the Golden Gate Bridge District will vote on whether to begin the process of raising tolls from $8 and $7 for drivers with FasTrak to $9.75 and $8.75 by 2023.

The increase would take effect incrementally, starting in July and going up a little bit each year after that. By 2023, tolls would be more than 20 percent higher.

Officials say it would help cover a project $75 million shortfall. 

Related: Tolls To Go Up $1 On Bay Area Bridges On January 1, 2019

Buses and ferries carry 20 percent of riders from the North Bay into the city. District officials say they need more money to keep those mass-transit options up and running, and to add extra services to feed the growing demand.

"The majority of our revenue comes in through our bridge tolls," said Golden Gate Bridge District spokeswoman Priya Clemens. "But it's a virtuous cycle. We then use that money to pay for our ferry and bus services, which reduces congestion on the Highway 101 corridor, so drivers have a much more pleasant experience."

Morning ferry rides are crowded, especially the on the Larkspur route. Passengers are sometimes left behind on the dock. Without an infusion of funds, the district will struggle to keep up. 

"In order to keep service as it is right now, we need to bring in another $75 million in the next five years," Clemens said. "We would love to boost our ferry service.  Right now we're maxed out. We can't add extra trips or extra service unless we put another ferry into service. In order to do that, we need more money." 

Beyond financing transit options, revenue from tolls helps pay for upkeep on the 81-year-old span. 

The Golden Gate is independently operated, but the tolls on seven state-run bridges in the Bay Area will go up by $1 in 2019.