More than 1250 people have committed suicide from jumping the Golden Gate bridge since it opened in 1937, with an average of two dozen people per year. In an effort to put a stop to this, the Golden Gate Bridge commission approved a $50 million net project back in 2008 and has been working on funding the project since. With a decision on some of that funding expected today, the same week a jumper was talked down from the bridge, many eyes are on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to see if this project will move ahead or stall.
According to bridge district spokeswoman Mary Currie, $5 million of the total cost are needed to finish the design plans with the remaining $45 million to construct the net. On July 14, the MTC unanimously approved allocation of $5 million towards the completion of the design plans for the net. The full commission will vote today, Wednesday, July 28th, on whether to approve these funds. This $5 million is part of the total $15 million in additional federal funding the commission is receiving for this fiscal year, 2009-2010.
Paul Mueller, executive director of the non-profit Bridge Rail Foundation says the $5 million commitment from local sources should make it easier to leverage money from federal government.
The net’s design is borrowed from some European net designs which were implemented in several suicide hot spots in several places across Europe. It is reported that the suicide rate dropped to zero in these hot spots after implementation of these nets.