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Golden Gate Bridge tolls to reach $9.75 by 2023

The cost to go from the North Bay to San Francisco is about to get more expensive.

Starting in July, a trip across the Golden Gate Bridge will rise from $7 to $7.35 for most drivers, with jumps of the same increment for another four years thereafter. It’s part of a plan the bridge district’s board of directors approved Friday morning to increase tolls over the iconic Bay Area structure to $8.75 by summer 2023 for those with a FasTrak transponder and $9.75 for out-of-state visitors and more casual bridge users.

The toll hikes are the result of a looming $75 million budget deficit that without an increase, the bridge district warned, would require cuts to its daily ferry and bus transit services. The board’s decision Friday - opting for the largest hike among five proposed options, and what its finance committee voted 12-0 to pursue the day before - is now expected to raise an estimated $100 million over five years and allow the district to consider buying another ferry boat to meet growing demand and add service between Larkspur and San Francisco.

Only San Francisco Supervisor Vallie Brown voted against the plan in a 17-1 vote, noting concerns about how low-income residents might be affected by the increased fee over the bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge sees a daily average of between 112,000 and 119,000 each day, according to Caltrans. That’s projected to provide about $152 million - nearly 60 percent of the district’s annual operating budget - from tolls in the 2018-19 fiscal year, which ends June 30.

A decade ago, the price to cross over the 1.7-mile, signature fire engine red bridge was $5 with a transponder and $6 cash. That netted the district about $97 million for the 2008-09 budget year.

Since 2014, when tolls were $6 for commuters with FasTrak and $7 for those without, the price has gone up by $.25 each year, today reaching $7 and $8, respectively. Last year, the bridge district saw total revenues of $146.6 million as a result.

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