The closure of the Bay Bridge for six days has resulted in a net loss of about $1.9 million in revenues on state-owned toll bridges in the Bay Area, Metropolitan Transportation Commission spokesman John Goodwin said today.

Goodwin said the region has lost about $2.4 million in revenue from the Bay Bridge. But he said part of that amount has been made up by a 36 percent increase in traffic on the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge, a 25 percent increase on the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and a 10 percent increase on the Dumbarton Bridge.

Goodwin said the lost revenue represents about 1.7 percent of the $113 million in toll revenues that are collected on the seven state-owned bridges in the Bay Area annually.
He said the lost revenue “is an obstacle but isn’t a calamity.”

Bridge toll revenues pay for the operation and maintenance of bridges as well as for seismic retrofit work and transit and highway improvements in the region, Goodwin said.

On Wednesday, the Bay Area Toll Authority, the MTC’s sister agency, will hold the first of three public hearings on a proposal to raise tolls on the seven state-owned bridges by $1, from $4 to $5, beginning on July 1, 2010.

Goodwin said the toll increase was first proposed nearly a year ago and doesn’t have anything to do with trying to make up for lost revenues from the closure of the Bay Bridge the past six days.

The proposed toll increase would help finance seismic retrofit work on the Antioch and Dumbarton bridges, offset higher borrowing costs and address a five-year decline in toll-paying traffic on the bridges, Goodwin said.

The public hearing on Wednesday will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Joseph P. Bort MetroCenter at 101 Eighth St. in Oakland.

There also will be public hearings at San Mateo City Hall at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 and at the Concord Senior Center in Concord at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 3.

Goodwin said Bay Area Toll Authority commissioners probably will vote on the proposed toll increase in January.

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