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Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Barrier Closer To Federal Funding

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— The Golden Gate Bridge just celebrated 75 years since its opening to the public in 1937.  But, after decades of wrangling there's now positive movement in getting a suicide barrier built on the bridge.

Senator Barbara Boxer is now pushing legislation that would allow local agencies such as The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District to tap into federal funds for projects like these, which had previously not been allowed.

Shortly after its opening, officials recorded the first suicide jump off the bridge. Since then, the number has grown to more than 1,500.

John Brooks of Fairfax knows all too well the horrors that the bridge can deliver, and is hopeful that a suicide barrier will be put up before someone else loses their life.

KCBS' Mark Seelig Reports:

In 2008, his 17-year-old daughter, Casey, did the unthinkable.

"She left for the bridge four years ago and I feel like I died with her," Brooks said.

The call for action has been loud over the years, but aesthetics, politics and funding issues have gotten in the way. In 2008, the board finally approved plans to build a suicide net; with a price tag of $50 million, they're about $45 million short.

Bridge District spokeswoman Mary Currie lauded the latest efforts by Senator Boxer.

"It's a great step toward the ultimate goal of funding" Currie said.

She said fingers are crossed that this federal funding eventually comes through. In the meantime, the district needs another six months to complete the final design phase after that, assuming they have the funds, the project then goes out to bid.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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