State Assembly passes bill to ban sidewalk tolls on Golden Gate and State Toll Bridges
Bill authored by Assemblymembers Phil Ting and Marc Levine
The California State Assembly passed a bill (AB 40) that blocks sidewalk tolls on the Golden Gate Bridge along with seven state-owned bridges. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) introduced the legislation, along with Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael).
“Sidewalk tolls would unravel decades of work to promote active lifestyles, create public recreation opportunities, and encourage environmentally sustainable transportation methods,” Ting said in a press release. “Our bridges connect the network of parks, paths, and trails we’ve built around the Bay Area. By passing this bill, we sent a powerful message that this legacy must be protected for all to enjoy.”
Assemblymember Ting was moved to write this legislation after the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District Board of Directors voted last October to study the imposition of a toll on cyclists and pedestrians crossing the bridge. The bridge board proposed the toll to reduce its budget deficit. Reset San Francisco released a petition to oppose to these tolls. 1,107 of you signed it – thank you for your support in getting this bill through the Assembly!
This discussion is not new. The bridge board considered charging tolls to cyclists and pedestrians about ten years ago as well. If the tolls were initiated, the Golden Gate Bridge would be the only contiguous bridge in America with a sidewalk toll. (There are four bridges at the border of the U.S. that charge 50-cent pedestrian tolls.)
Cycling and pedestrian groups come out against sidewalk tolls
AB 40 garnered strong support from bicycling advocates around the Bay Area. Tyler Frisbee, the Policy Director at the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said, “charging a toll for people biking and walking is antithetical to San Francisco and Marin County’s goals of improving our air quality, encouraging physical activity and improving public access to our most treasured places.”
Nicole Ferrara, the Executive Director of Walk San Francisco also cautioned against tolls. “A bridge toll would drastically reduce the number of people using the path for commute purposes, encouraging more people to use private vehicles for transportation, and would limit the number of people able to use the [Golden Gate] bridge and surrounding trails for healthy recreation.”
The Golden Gate, the Antioch, the Benicia-Martinez, the Carquinez and the Dumbarton bridges allow cyclists and pedestrians to cross free of charge. Additionally, the new eastern span on the Bay Bridge has a bicycle and pedestrian path that will eventually extend from Oakland to Yerba Buena Island. AB 40 ensures that these pathways will stay toll-free.
AB 40 passed the Assembly on June 2, 2015. It now goes to the California State Senate for further review.
To read the text of AB 40 visit California Legislative Information.