Tuesday, September 20, 2005

This Little Pelosi Went to Market

Once I started looking at the Porkbusters website I found it really tempting to start complaining about all the money that is being wasted in all the other states other than California. Then I realized that attacking other states unnecessary spending without first looking in our own backyard would be hypocritical. So I'm starting with California. Specifically the 8th district. This is the San Francisco district that is represented by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Specifically I speaking about the 58.8 Million dollar Golden Gate Bridge Seismic Retrofit. This is money that will be used to help complete a seismic retrofit of the Golden Gate Bridge that was begun in In 1996.

According to the Golden Gate Bridge Website the three construction phases are:
• Construction Phase 1 - retrofit the Marin (north) Approach Viaduct. This phase was completed in April of 2002.
• Construction Phase 2 - retrofit the San Francisco (south) Approach Viaduct, San Francisco (south) Anchorage Housing, Fort Point Arch, and Pylons S1 and S2 is scheduled to be completed in 2005.
• Construction Phase 3 - Main Suspension Bridge and Marin (north) Anchorage Housing. The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, the owner and operator of the Golden Gate Bridge estimates that this phase of the project will cost 160 million dollars and take 5 years.

The Golden Gate Bridge represents a vital transportation link to the San Francisco Bay Area, serving more than 40 million vehicles a year.
Tolls are collected in the southbound direction only (into San Francisco). The rate for two-axle vehicles with cash is $5 and $4 with FasTrak

There are several exceptions to the toll and also several additions to the toll depending on vehicle occupancy. So I'm going to be conservative and assume that half the yearly traffic is soutbound, and that approximately 80% of that traffic pays the minimum 4$ charge. That would bring the toll income per year to around 64 million dollars.

So my questions is why does the golden gate bridge district need $58.8 million of federal funding to retrofit a bridge that connects two of the weathiest areas of the State of California and which generates more than 64 million a year on it's own.

If they need extra funding how about raising the toll on the bridge a buck. That would generate about 20 million a year more funding. After all Nancy Pelosi is always ready to increase the taxes that the rest of us pay. Why should she object to demanding a little bit more from her constituents who use the bridge and will directly benefit from the funds in the first place?

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