February 12, 2007


UPDATE ON TIMING OF POTENTIAL GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE
TOLL INCREASE

 

In September 2006, the Board of Directors (Board) of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) initiated discussions on how to address its remaining $87 million projected 5-year shortfall. One of the strategies discussed included a potential toll increase as early as July 1, 2007. Another key strategy underway now is development of a Partnership Program, with an initial goal of raising $4 million over the next 5 years in new revenues.

The development of a Partnership Program has the potential to be a significant part of the District’s shortfall solution. However, it is not a fully developed or endorsed program. Therefore, further action regarding a potential toll increase is being deferred until more is known about the possibility of a Partnership Program and its potential role to help reduce the shortfall.

Phase 1 of the Partnership Program has been underway since November 2006 when consultants were hired. This phase includes an in-depth analysis of how similar programs work with the other entities such as the National Park Service as well as specific national monument structures such as the Statue of Liberty or the Washington Monument. These examples are being analyzed as they do not involve naming rights or other advertising strategies which are not being considered by the District. Phase I also includes identification of District assets appropriate for partnership opportunities, an estimate of the sponsorship value of these assets, and the development of specific criteria that would guide any future program implementation.

The consultants working on this project are expected to present their findings and recommendations to the Board in May 2007. The Board will then discuss whether to proceed with implementation of a Partnership Program and how to do so if approved for implementation.

The timing of discussions of a potential toll increase will be deferred until this time.

Additional Background

  • Discussion to date have centered on a toll increase of up to $1. Current tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge are $4 FasTrak and $5 cash.
  • The District has four funding sources available to fund its services and to address shortfalls: tolls, transit fares, government grants, and revenues from programs including concession, advertising, and leases.
  • The 5-year shortfall reflects inflationary factors for all services provided by the District (fuel, tires, parts, insurance, security, salaries, and benefits). It also includes the implementation of a program of annually adding to reserves to assist in funding much-need capital projects (e.g. Golden Gate Bridge Main Cable restoration estimated at approx. $30 million).
  • The District has reduced its 5-year shortfall significantly from $454 million projected in 2002. In the 4 ½ years since the last toll increase in September 2002, District staffing has been reduced by 21% and employee wages and benefits have been either frozen for a period of time or reduced. Bus and ferry services were restructured and reduced in November 2003 to focus on higher productivity for each dollar spent. The District also began a new era in its relationship with the Marin County Transit District who now owns all local Marin County service routes and pays the District for the cost of providing those services. District transit services are now exclusively focused on providing regional services that reduce congestion in the U.S. Highway 101/Golden Gate Bridge corridor. The District has also substantially increased revenues from grants from both federal and state sources. Recent labor negotiations with most of the District’s unions have focused on attaining further cost containment in the area of medical benefits.