Ting Urges Golden Gate Bridge Agency to "Stop the fee, Keep it free"

For immediate release:

San Francisco, CA – In a letter released today, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D - San Francisco) urged the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors to reject a proposal to consider charging people to walk or bike across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Ting, whose Assembly District encompasses the Golden Gate, said it was a bad idea that should be defeated.  A copy of Ting's letter is below.


October 22, 2014

Mr. James C. Eddie
President, Board of Directors
Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District
Administration Building, Golden Gate Bridge Toll Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94129-0601

RE:     Golden Gate Bridge Sidewalk Tolls for Bicyclists and Pedestrians

Dear President Eddie:

I strongly urge the Golden Gate Bridge District Board of Directors to reject any proposal to charge bicyclists and pedestrians a sidewalk toll on the Golden Gate Bridge.  As the Assemblymember whose district encompasses the Golden Gate Bridge, I object to the adverse impact the imposition of a fee to access the bridge would have not only on my constituents, but on people who travel from around the world to experience this iconic landmark.

As a treasured San Francisco destination, the Golden Gate Bridge provides thousands of bicyclists and pedestrians a healthy and congestion-reducing alternative to driving.  Public access for people to walk and bike across our spectacular bridge improves air quality and encourages physical activity.  It also exemplifies San Francisco’s commitment to cutting carbon emissions while fostering healthy, sustainable transportation strategies. A sidewalk toll directly contradicts this commitment.

While I understand the District has an obligation to maintain a responsible fiscal position, this should not come at the cost of public access to the bridge.  In fact, according to the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, past efforts to impose sidewalk fees indicate that a toll would generate little revenue and unfairly burden people biking and walking. We should be working to expand access to our world-class landmark, not limit it to only those who can afford to pay.

As the Board of Directors considers the 2014 Strategic Financial Plan, I respectfully urge you to reject a sidewalk toll for pedestrians and bicyclists crossing the Golden Gate Bridge.  A sidewalk toll is wrong and should not even be considered as an option by the District.

Sincerely,

PHIL TING
Assemblymember, 19th District