Toll Booths on the Golden Gate Bridge (1937-2012)

adpostal's picture

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/28/BANV1HFE3N.DTL

The Golden Gate Bridge is about to shut down it's toll booths with toll collectors by 2012 in favor of an all electronic system.  This change is expected to save $19 million in the first 8 years.  Is this change worth the money saved, or is the bridge losing something special that has been with it since its construction? Thoughts?

Kate Maeder's picture

Toll Booth Worker Layoffs

Great question - you would think that because unemployment is so high that they'd avoid laying off San Franciscans, but saving $19 million is appealing. Tough decision, but is it the right one?
CJC's picture

Unemployment

I agree it is a tough call. Automization is destroying millions of American jobs; gas station clerks, grocery store workers and now obviously toll takers. This is a trend which will only increase with time. It is tragic for the swathes of low paid jobs that are being made redundant. Combine this with the movement of thousands of factory and production jobs overseas and we have major unemployment problems. However, companies (and local governments) will always chase the most efficient and profit maximizing setups. Short of massively inhibiting government regulation, this will continue to be the result of globalization and technological innovation. It is too strong a current to swim against.

So, we must ask ourselves then how new low-skilled jobs will be created. There is no doubt we need these kind of jobs otherwise people will fall into abject poverty and the benefits bill will rise to unsustainable levels. Obama addressed this in part in his state of the union address. America must invest in education and technology in order to stay competitive with the Asian tigers. However, this alone does not solve the problem of disappearing low skilled jobs.

These have in the past been the safety valve of America's low welfare, free-capitalist structure. From where will the next generation of low skilled jobs come?

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137