Monday, April 20, 2009
Coronado officials looking to raise money for a proposed tunnel and other projects aimed at easing traffic congestion are considering charging a toll that could take the cost of a round trip across the San Diego-Coronado Bridge to $10.
In February, Coronado officials started talking publicly about charging a toll to help finance projects to alleviate the city's growing traffic problems, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
A proposed one-mile tunnel from the bridge to North Island Naval Air Station is one option being examined, according to the newspaper.
The city released an analysis last week that found that tolls could raise an initial $140 million with a rate of $1.50 each way during the four- year construction of the tunnel from 2014 to 2018. The most expensive of two proposed tunnel designs is projected to cost $590 million, the Union-Tribune reported.
If new, higher rates are in place by 2019, tolls could generate up to an additional $460 million over a 40-year period, the study says. That figure is based on rates that could range from $1.50 per crossing during off-peak traffic hours to $5 per trip in peak traffic, according to the newspaper. That means drivers would pay $10 round trip to cross the bridge during peak traffic hours.
Tolls were collected in 1969 when the bridge opened. When the bonds to build the bridge were paid off in 1986, toll opponents lobbied to stop the fees and the San Diego Association of Governments eliminated the toll in 2002.