Bike_Lane.jpgThe state Assembly Committee on Transportation voted 8-4 this afternoon in favor of a proposal that would allow authorities to spend future Bay Bridge toll funds to construct a bike and pedestrian pathway for the western span of the bridge, from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission has indicated that the Bay Area Toll Authority may not have the legal authority to utilize toll funds for a new bike pathway on the western span.

If enacted into law, the bill–introduced by state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley–will give them that authority.

The proposed pathway on the western span would connect to the pathway currently under construction on the new eastern span of the bridge to create a complete shore-to-shore pedestrian pathway across the entire bridge.

The bill passed the Senate on June 1 on a 23-11 vote, passed the state Assembly Committee on Transportation today, and will now go on to the state Assembly Committee on Appropriations.

The Bay Area Toll Authority has said that toll revenues are limited because they are reserved for seismic safety costs.

In 2001, Caltrans commissioned a study to analyze engineering issues associated with constructing a pedestrian pathway on the western span of the bridge. They estimated that the cost would be between $168 and $350 million.

A more up-to-date feasibility study will be available in April 2011, according to Hancock’s office.

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