SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- Transportation officials are close to voting on a proposal to charge a toll for cars stopping at Treasure Island but some who live and do business there say such a plan would cause profound harm to their community.
Anyone who has driven past Treasure Island recently has seen the big changes taking place in the past few years. On Sunday, Hope Williams, a 13-year resident of the island, watched as another building was demolished. She said she's not against all the new construction.
"I welcome the redevelopment without a push-out of the community. I welcome the redevelopment without taxing my family for it," Williams said.
Williams was talking about a plan to charge a $5 toll for cars both entering and exiting the island. That's a $10 charge for visitors -- $17 if they have to pay a bridge toll as well. And it's happening to a community with no schools, no supermarkets or gas stations.
"For a neighborhood that relies on everything in the city -- everything -- why would you isolate them? It makes no sense," Williams said.
The plan would exempt those who began living on Treasure Island prior to 2019. All others would be charged the tolls, including residents, visiting friends or family and those taking part in recreation, like Sunday's rugby tournament at the ballfield.
Then, there are the businesses. Jim Morowski owns Treasure Island Wines and said the toll would not only drive away customers and employees but business suppliers as well.
"If we bring in materials in my production facility here, they're going to have to charge that extra to us," he said. "Some of them are already saying they don't want to come over here if there is a toll because it's an added cost for them."
Why is this happening? Officials say it is to reduce vehicle congestion and enhance public transportation.
"A ferry. That's what it's basically going to be supporting," said Morowski. "So the folks that can buy multi-million-dollar homes over here later on can take a subsidized -- heavily subsidized -- ferry to San Francisco."
The plan calls for the toll to take effect in 2024, long before most of the new construction is even finished. That has residents thinking this has more to do with raising funds than fighting congestion.
"This is just a neighborhood in San Francisco," said Ed Hall. "They don't charge in other neighborhoods to visit so I just think it's kind of a money grab."
County officials did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. The San Francisco County Transportation Authority, the Treasure Island Mobility Management Agency and the S.F. Board of Supervisors were supposed to vote on the toll in February and again on March 8 but the meeting was canceled at the last minute. No new date for a vote has been announced.
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