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Hancock Introduces Bill to Allow Toll Funds for Bay Bridge Bike Path

West_Span_bike_path_rendering.jpgRendering of West Span bike path: Caltrans

State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would allow the Bay Area Toll Authority to use toll revenue to help fund a bike path on the West Span of the Bay Bridge.

Advocates on both sides of the Bay worked with Hancock on the legislation, according to Marc Caswell, the program manager for the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.

"For years, advocates have been pushing to bridge the gap, and now with the East Span under construction, it is important to line up the funding for the West Span pathway. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) derives its authority to use toll money from the
state Legislature, and they currently aren't allowed to use toll money
for anything other than earthquake retrofits," he said.

Last month, bike advocates turned out at a BATA meeting to urge MTC commissioners to use new toll money to help fund the path, but the agency's staff said it had no authority to do so. Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates, who supports the path, has also asked for an opinion from the state Legislative Counsel. Bates could not be reached for comment.

Hans Hermann, Hancock's chief of staff, said he believes the bill
has an excellent chance of passing. It has not
yet been assigned a committee date.

Caswell pointed out that nearly one-third of all San Franciscans get shut out from using the Bay Bridge simply because they don't own a car. 

"We know the MTC wants to complete the pathway so all road users have access, and the advocates are working with staff and Senator Hancock on Senate Bill 1061 to give MTC the legislative authority to designate these funds for this good project."

The MTC is currently conducting a Project Study Report (PSR) on the path, which has already been studied by Caltrans. It's hoped the report, along with an EIR, will be completed late next year. 

The PSR, which Streetsblog noted last year, will help build on the massive Caltrans feasibility study nine years ago that analyzed all the options for constructing the path, which was originally projected to cost between $160-390 million in 2001.

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