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Commuters wary of another round of bridge toll hikes

  • Morning commuters drive through without stopping at the Golden Gate Bridge toll booths on Tuesday March 27, 2013 in San Francisco. The bridge no longer has toll takers with an electronic system that took place at 12 a.m. Wednesday. (Conner Jay/Press Democrat)

Rohnert Park resident Tom O'Doul knows exactly how much a series of proposed toll increases on the Golden Gate Bridge would cost him.

The retired mailman crosses the landmark span 81 times a year to attend San Francisco Giants home games.

If bridge officials increase his $5 FasTrak toll to $7 by 2018, he'll be shelling out an extra $162 to see his favorite team.

"I don't like seeing anything go up," said O'Doul. "It seems like everything does."

O'Doul was among a handful of people who voiced opinions Wednesday night in Petaluma about the increases that could begin as soon as April.

Bridge officials have suggested four slightly different, phased-in toll hikes to raise between $93 million and $138 million to pay for construction projects, maintenance and operations.

Also, the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, which runs regional buses and ferries, is facing a $142 million, five-year budget shortfall.

"Everybody realizes the looming deficit requires some increase," said bridge director and Petaluma resident Brian Sobel.

Under one option, non-FasTrak tolls would increase to $6.50 in April and $7 in 2015. Other options would raise tolls in April to $7.

Under all four proposals, tolls would climb to $8 for non-FasTrak users by 2018.

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