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Bridge toll hike leads in polls

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Every span except for the Golden Gate Bridge could see a price bump

The Bay Bridge, with a seagull on a rail in the foreground. Photo by Ben Bryant/Shutterstock

A June ballot measure that would raise tolls on almost a llBay Bridge bridges leads in the most recent poll. However, over a quarter of those asked are still undecided.

Regional Measure 3, originally written by State Senator Jim Beall of San Jose, qualified for the ballot in February and would raise billions for regional transit projects by increasing tolls on all regional bridges, except the Golden Gate Bridge, three dollars by 2022.

To pass, the measure needs a majority in all nine Bay Area counties. Predicting its fate seems tricky, because the programs that would benefit (including BART expansion to San Jose) are popular, but the prospect of $9 fees on the Bay Bridge and $8 charges on everything else is a tough pill.

Last week, KPIX conducted a survey of 584 Bay Area voters and found that 40 percent support Regional Measure 3, with 34 percent against it.

Critically, 26 percent say they still haven’t made up their minds about it.

Regional Measure 3 has done well at voter polls. In July of last year, 56 percent of those surveyed said they supported it. In December, it was 54 percent.

The diminished returns in the KPIX poll might mean that voters are getting cold feet as election time gets nearer. The San Francisco Chronicle notes that heaps of money is going into ad campaigns to sway sentiment on the measure.

Photo by Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock

But it could also mean one or more of the polls are fluky, because, alas, that’s the nature of polling. The fact that a “yes” for the measure have consistently lead for 10 months should hearten backers if nothing else.

An analysis by Solano County’s legal advisor Dennis Bunting of the potential windfall is the measure passes breaks down the numbers:

By law, the Bay Area Toll Authority (Authority) would have to use 16 percent of the funds from these toll increases to pay for up to $60 million in designated annual transportation operating programs. The Authority would have to use the remaining available funds, which the Authority estimates will total $4.45 billion, for designated transportation capital projects throughout the Bay Area.

Bunting goes on to notes that “after 2025, tolls could be increased for inflation.”