Summary of Proposed Toll Increases at Golden Gate Bridge

Updated May 20, 2008


Proposed $1 Base Toll Increase
Proposed Variable Pricing Toll Options
Why a Variable Toll Now?
Doyle Drive Toll Status


Proposed $1 Base Toll Increase

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District (District) has four funding sources with which to operate the Bridge, Golden Gate Transit buses and Golden Gate Ferry: 1) tolls, 2) transit fares, 3) government grants, and 4) other which includes advertising, concessions, bus service contract with Marin, investment income, and property leases.

The District Board of Directors proposes an increase to the Golden Gate Bridge toll to close a $91 million budget shortfall projected over the next 5 years as a $1 toll increase would generate approximately $92 million over the five-year period. The current tolls are proposed to increase as follows:

  • Increase two-axle CASH toll from $5 to $6,
  • Increase two-axle FASTRAK toll from $4 to $5,
  • Per axle toll for more than two axles would increase from $2.50 per axle to $3.00 for CASH and from $2.00 per axle to $2.50 for FASTRAK,
  • Increase the toll for qualified persons with disabilities from $1.50 (set in 1991) to 50% of the cash toll or $3.00 for two-axle vehicle (GGB is only bridge with such a toll rate),
  • Any toll increase would not occur before September 2008 at the earliest, and as late as January 1, 2009.

Public meetings (click here to review the materials presented) were held in late February and March and a formal public hearing has been set on June 11, 2008.

The five-year shortfall has been reduced by 80% since 2002 – from $454 million to $91 million – through a range of actions: External actions: toll increase September 2002, annual 5% transit fare increase program, reducing bus service by 25%, streamlining ferry services to use fewer vessels. Internal actions: reduction in workforce of 21%, reduction in employee health benefits, two-year wage freeze, cut Board meeting expense by 50% by reducing the number of meetings, expanded revenue generating programs like more Bridge paid parking, more leases, more gift sales which are online now and a new annual Bridge holiday ornament program.

During this same time, critical capital improvements were implemented to safeguard and maintain the Bridge and transit system infrastructure: Bridge Phase II Seismic Retrofit completed, major under-deck repainting and repairs, expansion of security systems, along with many others.


Variable Pricing Toll (aka Congestion Pricing)

Click here to view the May 8, 2008, PowerPoint on the two Variable Toll Options proposed as follows:


Option A:   An additional $1 cash and 50-cent FasTrak toll increment
Option B:   An additional $1 cash and $1 FasTrak toll increment

This variable toll increment is to be charged during the peak traffic hours of 7 am to 9 am and 4 pm to 6 pm on weekdays, and 3 pm to 7 pm on weekends and holidays. Depending on the option, the estimated annual revenue from this variable toll is $3.8-$5.2 million with the net proceeds funding District-provided transit services.


Why a Variable Toll?

In August 2007, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded $158.7 million in discretionary funds for the San Francisco Bay Area pursuant to the Urban Partnership Program grant (UPP) to fund congestion relief projects including at least $36 million for Doyle Drive reconstruction as well as $12.8 million for Larkspur Ferry Terminal parking improvements. A portion of that money is designated for use in addressing the funding gap for Doyle Drive reconstruction. Other portions of that grant are designated for regional transit improvement projects and other congestion relief measures, including a little more than $12 million which would come to the District to fund parking improvements at the Larkspur Ferry Terminal.

The UPP grant had a significant deadline that had to be met before any funds could be expended: the legal authority to implement congestion pricing through tolls at either Doyle Drive or the Golden Gate Bridge had to be in place by March 31, 2008.

The actual collection of the congestion toll must begin no later than September 30, 2009. Originally, it was contemplated that the San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) would get legislative authority by March 30, 2008, and would be the agency implementing congestion pricing on Doyle Drive. As the grant deadline drew nearer, it became apparent that SFCTA would not be able to get the necessary authority in time to save the $158.7 million. Because the grant allows the congestion pricing scheme to be implemented on either Doyle Drive or the Golden Gate Bridge, and because the District already has the necessary authority to implement congestion pricing on the Golden Gate Bridge, on March 14, 2008, the Board of Directors voted to commit to implementing a congestion pricing scheme on the Golden Gate Bridge by September 30, 2009, with all additional funds going to the District. By taking this action, the District effectively saved the $158.7 million grant for the benefit of the entire region.


Doyle Drive Toll Status

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority (SFCTA) SFCTA is the lead agency planning a complete reconstruction of Doyle Drive. This is a $1+ billion project. Despite over $600 million in funding commitments from State and Federal sources, a significant funding gap remains. SFCTA has proposed a toll for travel on Doyle Drive as a possible way to raise the money needed to completely fund this project. To date, the SFCTA has not received the necessary legislative approval to collect tolls on Doyle Drive and such approval may prove difficult to obtain. The District, SFCTA and others are currently engaged in a concerted effort to locate other State and Federal funds for Doyle Drive reconstruction so that a toll would not be necessary.