12:56 PM: The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s board of directors unanimously approved a plan today to eliminate a five-year $132 million budget deficit that could grow to $400 million in 10 years.

The projected shortfall is due to lower toll and transit revenue, decreased state funding, and the district’s $75 million contribution over 10 years for the reconstruction of Doyle Drive.

The financial plan, divided into three phases, contains 33 separate expenditure reductions or revenue increases over 10 years.

It includes a $1 toll hike on the Golden Gate Bridge starting in 2013 that would raise $36 million over five years and $126 million over 10 years.

There also would be annual smaller toll increases of perhaps 5 percent starting in 2014 that would raise $140 million over 10 years.

The plan anticipates 69 full-time positions, or 8.3 percent of the district’s 830 positions, would be eliminated within four years. That would save $147 million over five years and $533 million over 10 years.

Other proposals in the plan call for charging pedestrians and bicyclists for using the bridge once seismic projects that impact the bridge’s sidewalks are completed in about four years. The amount of revenue for the sidewalk access fee was not projected in the plan.

The proposals in the plan are not “set in concrete,” district spokeswoman Mary Currie said. They will come before the board for review, and there will be public hearings on the proposals.

“This is a road map, or a menu,” Currie said.

The plan also assumes more automation of current tasks, including toll collection, to reduce operating costs, salary freezes, and staff furloughs.

It also calls for raising revenue through more concessions at the bridge, possible partnerships and grants.

District Director Celia Kupersmith called the proposal, drafted by a nine-member advisory committee, “a strategic plan.”

Director Joanne Sanders said the deficit reduction blueprint was “an impressive document.
“Some items will have some arm-wrestling, but it doesn’t seem to be a significant takeaway from our customers,” Sanders said.

9:31 AM: The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District’s board of directors is reviewing a proposed plan this morning to reduce a projected $132 million budget deficit over five years.

Included in the possible remedies to reduce the deficit, which could grow to $400 million in 10 years, is a $1 toll increase at the bridge starting in July 2013 and charging for pedestrians and bicycles on the bridge once seismic projects impacting the sidewalks are done.

Also included are salary freezes for some employees and winter holiday furloughs for administrative and operational staff.

The bridge district board could act on the plan today or defer action until Nov. 20.

Please make sure your comment adheres to our comment policy. If it doesn't, it may be deleted. Repeat violations may cause us to revoke your commenting privileges. No one wants that!
  • John Murphy

    Here we go again with the “charge the tourists walking across the bridge and the crazy cyclists” meme. Won’t happen – it makes no sense, I predict this is just a head-feint to get people so angry about the pedestrian charge that the rest of the changes can pass through with less scrutiny.

  • Charles Hanes

    The idea for a salary freeze is the right direction. I suggest that anyone who wants to weigh in on the GG Bridge District’s finances look at the growth of employee compensation over the years, including benefits, pension, etc. That will indicate the next steps.

  • Marinport

    Tolls for peds and cyclists is really DUMB. I thought we are trying to discourage excessive auto use … The GG Bridge district should instead PAY cyclist to commute over the bridge!!!!! Times of changed!