The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors today voted to place on the June ballot a measure that would raise Bay Area bridge tolls up to three dollars to fund key regional transportation projects aimed at easing congestion.
If passed by voters, Regional Measure 3 (RM3) will increase tolls on all bridges except the Golden Gate Bridge in one dollar increments— one dollar in each of the years 2019, 2022 and 2025. San Mateo County projects included in the spending plan approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) include the Dumbarton Bridge highway and rail development, improvements to the Highway 101/State Route 92 interchange and express lanes on Highway 101. The measure also includes funding to extend Caltrain to the Transbay Terminal in downtown San Francisco.
Supervisor Warren Slocum, who represents the County of San Mateo at the MTC, said voters hold the possibility of regional transportation fixes is their hands. In addition to RM3 in June, county voters may also be asked in November to approve a 30-year local tax for transportation improvements and voters statewide may consider a repeal of SB1, the $54 billion investment in road repair and maintenance signed by the governor in 2017.
“This year is a once in a generation opportunity to define our transportation future for decades to come,” Slocum said. “Passage of the first two measures and rejection of the SB1 repeal would allow us to move forward with a significant local and regional plan to reduce congestion on Highway 101, dramatically increase ridership on Caltrain and develop a regional interconnection of the major rail networks that serve the Bay Area and Beyond.
While the focus of Peninsula traffic has long been the north/south commute, Supervisor Don Horsley who chairs the San Mateo County Transportation Authority, said the RM3 plan will also address the increasing east/west congestion.
“Addressing the 101/92 interchange and Dumbarton corridor is critical to provide relief in a number of our communities that currently face gridlock every day,” Horsley said. “In addition, the potential of a new rail bridge adjacent to the Dumbarton is the missing link to creating a true regional rail network that will increase mobility for all Bay Area commuters.”