SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- If soaring gas prices weren't enough of a hit to your pocketbook, transportation officials reminded San Francisco Bay Area commuters that bridge tolls will be increasing by $1 on New Year's Day.
The Bay Area Toll Authority said the increase will go into effect on the region's seven state-owned toll bridges. It does not impact commuters using the Golden Gate Bridge.
The increase is the second of the three $1 toll increases approved by the state legislature in 2017 and by voters through Regional Measure 3 in June 2018.
Regular tolls for two-axle cars and trucks (as well as for motorcycles) at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges will rise to $7 from the current $6.
Tolls for vehicles with three or more axles also will rise by $1 to $17 for three axles, $22 for four-axles, $27 for five axles, $32 for six axles, and $37 for combinations with seven or more axles.
The peak-period toll discount for motorcycles, carpools and qualifying clean-air vehicles crossing any of the state-owned toll bridges on weekdays from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. will also increase from $3 to $3.50.
Transit officials said the approximately $4.5 billion generated by the increase will help fund improvements to State Route 37 in the North Bay, freeway interchange improvements in Alameda, Contra Costa and Solano counties, the purchase of more new BART cars and extension of the BART system from Berryessa to downtown San Jose and Santa Clara among other projects.
The Bay Area Toll Authority has also announced a sharp reduction in the penalties associated with toll violation notices sent by the FasTrak® customer service center to customers with unpaid invoices for toll bridge crossings.
Officials said that effective immediately — and retroactive to all violation notices since Jan. 1 of this year for outstanding tolls at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay, Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond-San Rafael and San Mateo-Hayward bridges — the penalty for first violation notices drops to $5 from the previous $25 and the penalty for second violation notices falls to $15 from the previous $70.
Bridge customers who paid toll violation penalties earlier this year will receive a refund for the difference between the amount they paid and the amount due under the new policy. Distribution of these refunds is expected to begin in February 2022 and continue over the next several months, after which a claim process will be posted at www.bayareafastrak.org for customers who believe they are owed a refund and did not receive one.
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