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It's Official: Bridge Toll Hike Wins 55 Percent 'Yes' Vote

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The Richmond-San Rafael Bridge from the Contra Costa shoreline, with Mount Tamalpais in the background. (Dan Brekke/KQED)

Update, 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, July 10: With the Regional Measure 3 count completed, the toll increased prevailed by a 55 to 45 percent. See the table below for final county-by-county results.

Update, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16: With the marathon count nearly finished -- the regional vote tally now stands at 808,814 yes (55 percent), 661,226 no (45 percent). For county-by-county results, see table below.

Original post (June 6): Regional Measure 3, the proposal to increase tolls on Bay Area bridges to pay for what proponents promise will be congestion-busting transit and transportation projects, appears to be on the way to passing as returns trickle in.

At 10 a.m. Friday, with all 4,816 Bay Area precincts counted and elections officials in the nine counties that voted on the measure continuing to tally mail-in and provisional ballots, the count stood at 54.2 percent yes and 45.8 percent no. The measure needed a simple majority of the vote across the region to pass.

Under terms of the measure, tolls on the Bay Area's seven state-owned bridges will rise $1 next Jan. 1. A second $1 increase will take effect Jan. 1, 2022, and a third on Jan. 1, 2025. That will bring the toll to $8 on the Antioch, Benicia, Carquinez, Richmond-San Rafael, San Mateo and Dumbarton bridges. The toll will range from $7 to $9 on the Bay Bridge.

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The proposal secured lopsided majorities in San Francisco, with a 64.7 percent yes vote, and Santa Clara County, where the measure was winning 60.6 percent support. In Alameda County, which has the highest number of registered voters in the region and is home to many bridge commuters, RM3 was passing with 53.1 percent of the vote.

Big "no" votes were recorded in Solano County, where 70 percent turned thumbs-down on the toll increases, and Contra Costa County, where 56 percent voted against.


Two prominent Contra Costa elected officials -- Rep. Mark DeSaulnier and Assemblyman Tim Grayson -- both opposed the measure. DeSaulnier argued that the selection process for the $4.5 billion list of 35 transit and highway initiatives lacked long-term vision. He and Grayson contended that East Bay drivers would get too few benefits in exchange for the estimated $750 a year they'll pay once the full toll increase is in place.

Carl Guardino, CEO of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and one of the leaders of the Regional Measure 3 campaign, said "you never grow overconfident" before you see the final results of a vote.

But with the measure apparently headed for passage, Guardino said the effort had been buoyed up by what he called the "vision" of voters in the region.

"I hate tolls. I just hate traffic more," Guardino said. "And that's the trade-off that hardworking people who already are cash-strapped in this region had to make. We are betting on each other to make this region better together, and there aren't a lot of regions in this country where we can say that."

Elections official could take until the end of the week or longer before they tally the mail ballots cast in the contest. Although it's unknown how many votes are outstanding -- the total is likely to be in the hundreds of thousands -- it would likely take a surge of "no" votes in counties that appear to have supported the measure for it to lose.

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