Let bridge partygoers pay a celebration 'toll'

If the MTC wants to throw a party for a big piece of concrete and steel, they should charge a $5 or $6 "toll" to attend the party.

Call it a user fee, just like the ones they've been proposing for years for carpool lanes, commute-time driving, etc. Good enough for the Interstate 680 corridor, good enough for walking across a hunk of metal.

If they have $5.6 million lying around, why not lower tolls rather than throw a party? The answer probably lies in a use-it-or-lose-it scheme typical of taxpayer subsidized bureaucracies.

Good to see that the many "temporary" toll increases are being put to such good use: free party hats for everyone!

Al Moffatt

Brentwood

Forget spending spree; just open the bridge

Sometimes it seems the United States is celebration crazy.

It's possible our country will never learn we can't continue to spend money as though it grows on a forest of trees.

Several decades ago, the United States and the people of Illinois benefited from the wisdom of a savvy man, Republican Sen. Everett Dirksen. He occasionally reminded Americans, "A billion here and a billion there, and all of a sudden you're talking about real money."

When the bridge's construction is complete, it should be opened to traffic without the fanfare that some people consider obligatory and without the prodigal spending spree.


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Ronald Entwistle

San Pablo

MTC management needs replacing

I can't believe the MTC is planning a huge party, at a cost of $5.6 million, to celebrate the opening of the new Bay Bridge. What an unnecessary waste of money.

Do us all a favor: Get the job done on time and under budget. Don't waste my money on this extravagance. If you want to have a party, make it a potluck.

I am a certified career coach, and since 2008, I have coached more than 300 people who lost their jobs. The money MTC and the Bay Area Toll Authority is planning to spend would have paid all these people's salary all that time.

MTC has no conscience, and the management needs to be replaced.

Gene Nokes

Dublin

Have partygoers pay or don't throw a party

Please, no use of public money to fund the Bay Bridge party MTC is planning.

We feel there are two choices: Either have those of us who wish to attend pay (we will attend), or there should not be a party.

Throwing a party of this kind and paying for it with public money is irresponsible and should be completely avoided.

James and Josephine Lucas

Livermore

Party would be a waste of taxpayers' money

"State officials say it's important to give the public a chance to walk across the dazzling new eastern span of the Bay Bridge when it opens Labor Day weekend, even if it costs taxpayers $5.6 million. The money will be spent solely on security, logistics and transportation costs associated with allowing up to 125,000 people walk the full length. ..." This is insulting to the taxpayers of California!

Let's start the celebration walk with taking the toll for the walkers at $5 each or, since this is a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, $10 each might be more appropriate.

Why should taxpayers pay for the porta-potties, transportation and safety for the walkers? They can pay for it themselves. This is a ridiculous waste of tax money.

Chuck Graham

Concord

Instead of a party, give us a year free of tolls

Let's throw a party for the poor toll-paying citizens -- and, let's spend their toll money, to the tune of $6 million, so elected officials can have a photo op celebrating their good works and a job well done!

I remind everyone this bridge took 24 years to complete, had huge cost overruns caused by continual design changes by the mayors of San Francisco and Oakland and use of suspect materials manufactured in China.

Bay Area residents have blindly gone along with ever-increasing tolls to seismically reinforce the bridges, add bike lanes, or whatever else BATA wanted. However, we recently learned a toll lane on Dumbarton Bridge was closed to save money. If we need to save money, why are we spending $6 million?

Let's also remember MTC wants to use toll money, and may already have done so, to buy a piece of property in San Francisco to consolidate varying departments.

I don't want a party. I want a year's worth of free tolls on all the bridges -- clearly the money isn't needed to retrofit bridges.

Sally Morgan

Fremont

Toll funds should be used to maintain bridge

My tax dollars have helped pay for the new bridge, and my toll dollars should be used only to maintain it and the roads.

I am outraged that I should be expected to pay for buses and portable toilets so that others can walk across the span at no cost, while I am forced to pay heavily each time I drive across it.

Those who wish to participate in the opening celebration should pay for it, not those of us who already pay a great deal to use the Bay Bridge regularly.

It is absolutely irresponsible and inappropriate to use toll funds for this extravagant and unjustified expense. Please do not allow it.

Susan Fenn

Pinole

Celebration plan is ludicrously expensive

The MTC should not spend $5.6 million for the celebration of the Bay Bridge opening.

This is a ludicrously expensive and unnecessary proposition, given state and local debts and harsh economic times.

It seems MTC wants to pass off the expense by increasing bridge tolls, which would further negatively impact the economy and the Bay Area residents who do not use the Bay Bridge and/or may not want to participate in the celebrations.

A better plan may be for those who want to participate pay for the experience by purchasing tickets at a price that would offset the cost.

Carlee R. Durfor

Pleasant Hill

Bridge bash should not be held at our expense

With the high gasoline prices and the $5 to $6 tolls I have to pay every time I cross the Bay Bridge, it's hard to stomach that the authorities have the temerity to hold this kind of bash using our money.

Ted Ferrer

San Leandro

Party plans a reckless use of tax dollars

Total recklessness with taxpayers' money is the hallmark of the MTC.

In recent years, it has asked for $180 million for new headquarters in San Francisco. MTC should stay where it is, in Oakland.

Now, MTC wants $5.6 million in toll money to pay for a celebration of the opening of a new segment of the Bay Bridge.

Between 2004 and the present time, MTC, which sets tolls on most Bay Area bridges, the cost of a trip across the Bay Bridge has gone from $2 to $5 (or more). This is a huge increase.

MTC's directors are not elected. Yet, the MTC has the power to set fees.

If there's to be a celebration, let MTC use private donations.

Richard S. Colman

Orinda