The Incoming Lombard Street Toll

Tolls in San Francisco are high and unavoidable. From most places in the bay area, the only way to get to San Francisco is to cross a bridge, and every bridge has a toll associated with it. Another thing worth noting is that according to rent reports, San Francisco is the most expensive city to live in. On Monday, a bill proposing a toll to drive down the infamous Lombard Street in San Francisco passed the Assembly and Transportation Committee in an 11-3 vote. This is monumental as the street has always been free. While Lombard Street is typically a tourist destination, attracting more than 2 million visitors each year, this toll only further exemplifies the intense and almost unlivable costs of San Francisco. The purpose of this toll is to reduce traffic and congestion on and around Lombard Street, to make the experience more pleasant for both visitors and the surrounding residents. This is important, especially for residents, but that is assuming they will be exempt from the tolls implemented, which, knowing San Francisco, is not necessarily a safe assumption. Along with the toll comes the follow up question: what is the city planning on doing with the money collected from the toll? The exact amount of the toll has yet to be decided but it seems as though it will be a minimum of $5 per car, with the possibility of hour and holiday upcharges. With the 2 million visitors the street receives per year, this would provide a large amount of added revenue to the city. That said, I have been unsuccessful in finding a source that addresses the cities plan regarding how to spend this added revenue. This is an issue due to the many problems San Francisco as a city is facing with the extreme homelessness that some have gone so far as to call “a cruelty that is unsurpassed.” Not to mention the extremely high housing prices and general cost of living in the city, there are many issues the city could attempt to address, or address more intensely, with the presence of this added revenue. While I do not have a huge issue with the toll itself, in order for me to be in full support of it, I would like to see a proposed plan of how the city is planning to spend this money.

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