When it comes to transportation funding, even a few cents can make a big difference.
Consider Regional Measure 1 — approved by Bay Area voters in 1988. RM1 established a uniform $1 base toll on the Bay Area’s seven state-owned toll bridges.
This boosted the regular toll by 25 cents to 60 cents at six Bay Area toll bridges. Tolls at the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, already $1, were unchanged by RM1.
The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) used the extra quarters and dimes to support bond issues to finance:
- Richmond Parkway construction — 2001
- New westbound Carquinez Bridge — 2003
- San Mateo-Hayward Bridge widening — 2003
- State Route 84-Bayfront Expressway widening — 2004
- Richmond-San Rafael Bridge rehab — 2006
- New northbound Benicia-Martinez Bridge — 2007
- Southbound Benicia-Martinez Bridge rehab — 2008
- Interstate 880/State Route 92 interchange replacement — 2011
While all RM1 projects are now complete, BATA continues to tap the RM1 revenue stream to service the debt used to finance the program.
The California Department of Transportation completed two RM1 projects before the state Legislature established the Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) in 1998:
- Widening of the original 1962 Benicia-Martinez Bridge
- West Grand Avenue connector to Bay Bridge
Tolls at the Bay Area’s state-owned toll bridges varied widely before the RM1 increase took effect on Jan. 1, 1989:
- Antioch — 50 cents
- Benicia-Martinez — 40 cents
- Carquinez — 40 cents
- Dumbarton — 75 cents
- Richmond-San Rafael — $1
- San Francisco-Oakland Bay — 75 cents
- San Mateo-Hayward — 75 cents