Officials at the Golden Gate Bridge are pondering a $7 toll. In early April, we brought you a story outlining why the bridge district was facing a $91 million long-term deficit. Part of the reason is that it operates a transit system that's incredibly expensive. We all love public transit, of course, but the Golden Gate Bridge's bus and ferry system, we discovered, isn't all that efficient. (By the way, it took us a damn long time to understand how the feds crunch transit efficiency figures, but once we figured it out, it made a lot of sense.)
We also showed that the district's overloaded board of directors contained members who received health insurance coverage through the district, but they also obtained it in the towns where they lived and worked as local public officials. One guy even got three layers of health coverage. Inducements to get out of the car, like high gas prices and bridge tolls, in the long run seem like a good idea. But it doesn't look like higher tolls are going to save the bridge district from its long-term debt and organizational problems.
A commenter at SFGate provided another perspective:
"Tolls are a ridiculously inefficient way of collecting government revenue -- why not have the federal government spend a certain amount of money each year on infrastructure such as roads and bridges, and use federal taxes to pay for it like every other civilized country in the world? Toll bridges are something that should left in the middle ages, where they belong."
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