Aug 27, 2004

the toll collector

At this very moment the stretch of 880 between Oakland and the San Mateo bridge plays a larger role in my daily life than the Bay Bridge did a couple of weeks ago, but I’ve nevertheless been following the fight between Bay Area lawmakers and the Governator over who will pay for the already-commenced construction of a new bridge. Latest news from The Chronicle is “stalemate,” which leaves the construction project in limbo, and area commuters – who have been commuting over a demonstrably unsafe bridge since Loma Preita – are likely to end up footing the bill through the most regressive of taxes, increased tolls.

The history of the deal is laced with hubris (we’ll build a more dramatic bridge!), foolishness (but it won’t have any bike lanes!), short-sightedness (nor any light rail! or even additional lanes for commuters!) and most of all, politics. Bay Area types bristle at the recollection of the speed at which the southern Californian freeways were repaired after their earthquake, and one can only imagine the Schwarzenegger camp eyeing the CA equivalent of the red and blue map and asking themselves if this move would cost them any re-election votes. Now both sides are stuck…and without major renovations to the bridge design, costs are only going to go up.

Which is what made this obvious typographical error in the Chronicle piece so amusing (emphasis mine):

The administration wants to give complete authority of the project to the MTC, which would then likely have to raise tolls in order to pay for the retrofit. Schwarzenegger also offered $300 in state funds to tear down the old bridge.

Gee, thanks, Arnold!