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Bridge-toll hike cruises to victory

Regional Measure 3 prevails with strong support in Santa Clara County and San Francisco

Regional Measure 3, a proposal to raise bridge tolls to fund these nine projects and 26 others, was on the verge of passing on June 5, 2018. Source: Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Map by Kristin Brown.

Bay Area voters approved on Tuesday night a regional measure that would raise tolls at seven state bridges by $3 to fund $4.5 billion in transportation improvements.

The proposal, known as Regional Measure 3, received 54 percent support as of 8 a.m. Wednesday in the nine-county area, with most precincts reporting. The measure needs the approval of a combined majority of voters in the nine counties.

Crafted by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, the measure received particularly strong support in San Francisco and Santa Clara County. This was enough to overcome opposition from Contra Costa and Solano counties.

Overall, the majority of voters in seven of the nine counties favored Regional Measure 3 would raise tolls at seven bridges: Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo-Hayward and the Bay Bridge (the Golden Gate is operated by its own district).

The three $1 increases ares slated to occur on Jan. 1, 2019, on Jan. 1, 2022 and on Jan. 1, 2025, and to ultimately raise the tolls from $5 to $8.

Voters in San Francisco and Santa Clara County were particularly enthusiastic, with about 61 percent of the voters supported the measure, respectively.

The margin was somewhat slimmer in San Mateo County, where about 54 percent of the voters supported the measure.

The list of projects that will be funded include the extension of BART to San Jose and Santa Clara; the extension of Caltrain to San Francisco's Transbay Terminal and an array of bus, bike and transit projects.

The list also includes $130 million improvements on the Dumbarton Corridor, including added bus service and bus-only lanes on Bayfront Expressway, an Amtrak extension to Redwood City; and $50 million for ramp improvements at the U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 92 interchange.

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, which strongly supported the measure, said he was happy to see the early results showing Regional Measure 3 picking up majority approval in Santa Clara, Sonoma and Napa counties (in all three cases, about 60 percent of the early votes cast were in favor of RM3 as of late Tuesday night).

He expected these results to overcome greater opposition to the measure in Contra Costa and Solano counties, where the measure is far less popular.

Only 44 percent of the voters in Contra Costa County supported RM3, while 56 percent opposed it, with 87 percent of the precincts counted. And in Solano, only 30 percent voted to support the measure while 70 percent voted against it.

Though Guardino said he expected opposition from those two counties, where voters tend to be more conservative, he was heartened by strong support in Alameda County and other parts of the Bay Area.

But while he is still waiting for all the votes to come in, he noted that early voters tend to be more conservative, which suggests that the measure will garner more support as the evening progresses.

"I feel like we are going to deliver $4.5 billion in traffic improvements for the 8 million people in the Bay Area," Guardino told the Weekly shortly after the initial results were released.

Election results will be updated as they become available.

Read more news from the June 5 primary election:

Voters recall Judge Aaron Persky

Smith and Hirokawa to face-off in sheriff's race in November

Palo Alto residents head to polls in California primary

Related content:

Webcast: Regional Measure 3


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22 people like this
Posted by Leonard Muise
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:20 am

Too bad we gave up on funding useful things through progressive taxes. Now if we want to get something done, all we have is regressive crap like this.

8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:20 am

Maybe Californians will be so fed up by this parasitic behavior of our government officials... maybe, just maybe, we will put John Cox in power and shatter California's "progressive" malaise. California is in the grip of a societal disease that is rapidly infecting everything in the state and driving people OUT... is John Cox the cure? Can he actually win??? What will it take to convince you people?

One can fantasize...

22 people like this
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:55 am

> California is in the grip of a societal disease

The "societal disease" across this country is the fake news, brain-washing right-wing nonsense hyped by online trolls that no sane Americans believe it and yet somehow seems to keep growing for no good reason - based on lies and opaqueness.

It would be hard to figure out relatively how California could do any better, or even in an absolute sense. We have just gone from the 6th largest economy in the world to the 5th, and all I hear from these thousands of online sock-puppet trolls is how terrible everything is.

What is it with Republicans that they seem to have to bitch and moan about everything and when they get a little control, make it much worse?

John Cox is a cranky old lunatic, like Trump. Why do we need that?

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jun 6, 2018 at 8:47 am

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2018 at 9:11 am

Perhaps we could get some up to date method of paying these tolls particularly for those of us who rarely cross a bridge. Having crossed bridges and toll roads in other parts of the world and been able to do so online or on a phone app, or even in gas stations nearby, it is another count of ridiculous old fashioned infrastructure in the heart of Silicon Valley. We should not need to slow down and hand over cash if we happen to need to pay a toll when we don't need a transponder since we don't regularly cross bridges.

5 people like this
Posted by Juan
a resident of Mountain View
on Jun 6, 2018 at 9:19 am

If you look at a map of the Bay Area, there is absolutely no NEED to take a bridge to get anywhere, unless you are headed to a real island like Alameda or Treasure Island. Bridges are already at capacity and on-ramps are overflowing (look at what bridge traffic does to EPA every afternoon), so it makes sense to increase cost to encourage folks to find other routes.

I do agree that the fee is regressive in some ways because it taxes people driving INTO San Francisco or the Peninsula. The message seems to be "you have to PAY to come, but leaving is free". That doesn't seem fair, the toll should be halved and collected in both directions.

4 people like this
Posted by JP
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:10 am

So, how many different taxes are now supporting the BART to San Jose extension? At least 2 that I can think of right away. Sadly, I predict that again, BART will receive the vast majority of the fees collected, those funds will disappear into the morass of BART management, and in just another year or two, there will be yet another tax or fee on a ballot whining about how BART to San Jose needs more funds.

1 person likes this
Posted by 39.54 million Californians
a resident of Greendell/Walnut Grove
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:45 am

"California is in the grip of a societal disease that is rapidly infecting everything in the state and driving people OUT... (...)

One can fantasize..."

Whoah Nelly. So it's not costs and income inequality that are driving folks out, it's a "societal disease", and Cox/Trump are the cure.

Got it.

18 people like this
Posted by VTA is a mess. Time to reorg.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:48 am

VTA is a mess. Time to reorg. is a registered user.

The voters just approved giving VTA another fist full of money that they will squander. They are the lowest performing transit agency in the nation. We need a complete reorganization--completely destroy and replace them. We need a truly regional transit agency that isn't politically controlled by SF and San Jose--and that has no conflicts with making convenient connections across county lines and between modes of transport for their customers (buses to trains, to airports, for example). VTA is a Byzantine bureaucracy that does a terrible job for us, their customers. It is time to replace them and reorg transit planning across the whole region.

11 people like this
Posted by marj
a resident of another community
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:19 pm

I bet the majority of the folks who voted to approve this measure do not take the bridge to work. Spending up or over $100 a month. There is no way that I can take 237 from my home without having to commute for 3 hours. The bridge is necessary so I can go to work in 1 hour. So don't say the bridges aren't necessary if you want to get around the Bay/East Bay Area. You probably are retired and have tons of time on your hands.

4 people like this
Posted by native to the bay
a resident of Mayfield
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm

If this passes - and it looks very likely - I believe it's another kicking the can across the Bay type of measure. Will these "improvements" get started immediately like? Along with our housing crisis we are suffering from a parallel transportation crisis as well. Is this a pay as you go operation? Will the nine Bay Area Counties FINALLY be able to work together on what has historically been divisive, ill conceived, unplanned, disjointed zig/zag to connect all the moving and yes, static parts? I hope I am proved wrong. But I believe the proceeds from the bridge tolls will produce very little, projects will never get done or completed. BART is a multi-billion dollar bottomless pit and what was done is done. The majority of these the two counties who approved this measure: Santa Clara County and San Francisco don't commute over a bridge twice a day to get to work. The article states that Contra Costa and Solano Counties are more conservative that . No. These two counties residents are more low-income and are commuting into said SF and SC Counties daily for the service jobs that are keeping the High stakes extreme high wage Tech workers fed their gourmet foods, clothed in Patagonia attire, housed in their McMansions. This was a regressive tax funded by none other than the top heavy Metropolitan Transportation Commission. Now that they have their posh offices in San Francisco to look down on those that lie in the streets from lack of shelter they can laugh all the way to the bank. Yes toll increases and nothing will get done and when and if projects are started it will take into the next Century with lost of additional money, bonds and grossly mismanaged construction costs (case in point today's news that SF's Central Subway may have to be totally re-wired!). Remember when the Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937. We were only going to pay a toll until the bridge was paid for... The rest is history as they say. I am all for traffic relief but paying for soon to be SOV's lanes so that the ultra rich can pay their way out of the congestion while riding computer operated automobiles so they can tap, talk, and text away at their screens. Will HWY 24 at Orinda get a diamond lane? When it was determined years ago this was not possible. This Measure 3 was another shuck and a jive. The Bay Area voters and progressive ideas, dreams of a better future of our children's, children have just been sold to the highest bidder. Don't forget the North Bay's SMART Train took 28 years and hundreds and hundred of hours of volunteer time by a small but driven cross county coalition to finally realize. And that was only 50 miles of strait North and South track and putting a heavy diesel train cars. Can someone please explain why Chevron, the Benecia refineries, Sales Force, Apple, Google, Facebook, and Youtube,etc - Meaning the major corps in stationed around the rim of the Bay are not being held accountable? They should be subsidizing this massive infrastructure upgrade? Instead the lowly work-a-day person is being penalized one dollar at a time and the future is being billed for it. Shame. MTC better have formed multi tiered community oversight committee's like, yesterday!

14 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:38 pm

"I bet the majority of the folks who voted to approve this measure do not take the bridge to work. Spending up or over $100 a month."

I agree, and that's why I emphatically voted NO!!! The burden of funding this project most heavily impacts those least able to bear it.

4 people like this
Posted by To @ Juan
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2018 at 1:38 pm

Actually, many of us live one one side of the bridge and commute directly over. High bridge tolls are ridiculous.

Additional: They want you to get the transponder so it is “painless” when you pay these high government fees. People notice when they hand overbtheir cash.

Like this comment
Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:43 pm

Pretty whacky that Santa Clara County gets to vote on this since none of these bridges are in Santa Clara County. I'm really glad that San Mateo County voted in favor.

7 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm

"Pretty whacky that Santa Clara County gets to vote on this since none of these bridges are in Santa Clara County."

Hmmm, I wonder if it could be challenged in court on that basis...

Like this comment
Posted by Really
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 13, 2018 at 12:15 am

Curmudgeon, you just cherry picked a piece to complain about, look at the big picture, SC County probably will get more dollars out of this than any of the nine counties so why wine, drink more wine and maybe you'll see the light?

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