Bay Area Toll Authority
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The Bay Area Toll Authority (BATA) was created by the California State Legislature in 1997 to administer the auto tolls on the San Francisco Bay Area's seven state-owned toll bridges. On January 1, 1998, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) — the transportation planning, financing and coordinating agency for the nine-county region — began operations as BATA. In August 2005, the California Legislature expanded BATA’s responsibilities to include administration of all toll revenue and joint oversight of the toll bridge construction program with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission.
BATA administers, programs and allocates revenues from all tolls levied on the seven state-owned toll bridges: Antioch, Benicia-Martinez, Carquinez, Dumbarton, Richmond – San Rafael, San Francisco – Oakland and San Mateo – Hayward. As part of these activities, BATA funds the day-to-day operations, facilities maintenance, and administration of the bridges. BATA also funds the long-term capital improvement and rehabilitation of the bridges, including the projects mandated by Regional Measure 1 (RM 1) and the Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program.
Although it operates all the other toll bridges in the Bay Area, San Francisco's most famous bridge does not fall under its jurisdiction, as the Golden Gate Bridge is operated by the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District.
Regional Measure 1
In 1988, Bay Area voters approved Regional Measure 1 (RM 1), raising tolls on the state-owned bridges to a uniform $1 and pledging the proceeds to specific bridge corridor improvements. Caltrans owns and operates the toll bridges and is responsible for the construction of the voter-approved RM 1 projects, including a new span for the Benicia-Martinez Bridge, a replacement for the west span of the Carquinez Bridge, and widening the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. BATA is responsible for funding and overseeing the RM 1 bridge program.
Regional Measure 2
With transbay travel in the Bay Area expected to increase by approximately 40 percent over the next two decades, the California Legislature in 2002 determined that new investment in the bridge corridors was needed, along with a new revenue source.
Regional Measure 2 (RM 2) will, which was approved by Bay Area voters in March 2004, increases tolls on the region’s state-owned bridges by $1 and funds a balanced set of transportation projects in the bridge corridors, including new mass transit options and critical highway bottleneck improvements.
The list of projects — called the “Regional Traffic Relief Plan” and included in the enabling legislation — will be financed by the $1 increase in tolls. MTC will be responsible for allocating the toll. BATA will be responsible for issuing bonds and for submitting updates on the Regional Traffic Relief Plan to the state Legislature.
Toll Bridge Seismic Retrofit Program
Since 1998, drivers on all Bay Area state-owned bridges have paid a $1 seismic surcharge to help finance a seismic retrofit program to strengthen and reinforce bridge structures and roadways on five of the bridges in the event of a major earthquake. On January 1, 2007 the seismic surcharge increased to $2 per vehicle, and then increased to $3 on July 1, 2010.