Truckers’ toll hike on Bay Area bridges delayed

San Francisco Bay Area bridges officials will vote Jan. 27 on a recommendation to increase tolls, but will implement it for truckers a year later than for four-wheelers.

The Bay Area Toll Authority Oversight Committee voted Jan. 13 to recommend to the full Bay Area Toll Authority toll hikes for the state-owned toll bridges it oversees. Except for truckers, drivers will face a $5 base toll increase on July 1 on six of the state-owned bridges: the Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges.

On July 1, 2011, trucker tolls will increase to $5 per axle for trucks and other vehicles with three or more axles. A five-axle truck that currently pays $11.25 will pay $25. A new multi-axle vehicle toll schedule will be fully effective by July 1, 2012. 

The California Trucking Association submitted a petition requesting the toll increase on commercial vehicles be phased in over several years. Many trucking firms have fixed contracts with shippers that won’t allow them to incorporate higher fees.

The plan is expected to raise an additional $160 million. The main need for the extra funds is to finance $750 million in seismic retrofit projects on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges. Also, toll-paying traffic has declined for five years and operational expenses and debt have jumped because of upheaval in the municipal bond markets.

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