GoldenGateBridge-001.jpgThe Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District is considering collecting tolls exclusively electronically on the bridge by December 2012.

The proposal would eliminate cash payments at the toll plaza and 28 full-time and four part-time toll collector positions. Some former toll collectors may “migrate to other positions” in the district or leave through attrition, district spokeswoman Mary Currie said.

After the $3.2 million start-up costs, collecting tolls electronically only will save the district $16.3 million over 10 years.

The district’s board of directors’ finance-auditing committee will consider the proposal Thursday and if it is approved, will present it to the district’s full board of directors on Jan. 28.

The proposal is one three dozen initiatives in the district’s plan to achieve long-term financial stability. The district faces an $89 million deficit over the next five years.

Currie said only 33 percent of the Golden Gate Bridge tolls are collected manually.

The All Electronic Tolling, or AET, plan will reduce costs, minimize congestion at the toll plaza and reduce vehicle emissions, district officials said. It will not affect the current toll structure.

Among the new toll paying options that will replace cash payments are expanding the FasTrak program and paying the toll based on the vehicle license plate.

The license plates of tourists and other infrequent users of the bridge will be read and they will be sent a bill for the toll, Currie said. They will be able to pay with a check or money order through the mail.

They also will be able to pay the toll over the phone with a debit or credit card while they are still in the Bay Area, Currie said.

The district has been considering the AET proposal since April, Currie said.

James Lanaras, Bay City News

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