Toll hike for area bridges up for key decision this week 

A $6 toll on the Bay Bridge could move one step closer to reality Wednesday.

The Oversight Committee for the Bay Area Toll Authority, which manages the seven state-owned bridges in the region (the Golden Gate Bridge is not one of them), will vote on a staff recommendation for toll increases that includes a $2 hike to the Bay Bridge during peak commuting times, and $1 increase to the six other spans.

The recommendation also includes a $2.50 charge for carpoolers (who formerly traveled for free on the span during commute times), and a series of toll increases for large trucks, (based on the number of axles per vehicle.) During non-peak weekday travel times, the Bay Bridge will remain at $4 for motorists, and during the weekend it will increase to $5.

If the BATA Oversight Committee approves the recommendation, there will be just one step remaining before the toll increase is finalized. On January 27, the full BATA board will vote on the proposal.

If approved, the toll increase would go into effect on July 1 (except for the increases for truckers, which would be delayed until July 2011).

The toll increases are projected to raise about $165 million annually, most of which will fund seismic rehabilitation projects on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges.

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Will Reisman

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