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Phil Matier: Bridge Toll Hikes To Pay For High Speed Rail?

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) - Bay Area residents are likely facing a new round of bridge toll hikes and taxes to pay for the high-speed rail tunnel connecting the Caltrain station at 4th and King streets in San Francisco to the new Transbay Terminal.

Despite the recent state approval of funding to kick off construction of the bullet train project, none of the $2.5 billion needed for the tunnel has been secured. That reportedly leaves locals on the hook to come up with an estimated $650 million.

KCBS, Chronicle and CBS 5 Insider Phil Matier Reports:

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission said it's reasonable to expect a push for $300 million from bridge toll hikes and the rest from San Francisco sales taxes. However, he said there are currently no set plans to seek the bridge toll increases.

Critics have recently redoubled their efforts to derail the project that could eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco with trains traveling up to 220 mph.

Among those gearing up for a fight are the farmers whose land lies in the path of the massive infrastructure project.

The Madera and Merced county farm bureaus have filed a lawsuit to halt the project on grounds that the state has not done enough environmental vetting.

Last week, Gov. Jerry Brown gave his approval to spend billions of dollars in government money for a high-speed rail line.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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