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Bates Opposes Governor On Bay Bridge Redesign By MATTHEW ARTZ

Tuesday December 14, 2004

Mayor Tom Bates fumed Friday, blasting the Schwarzenegger administration’s decision to scrap an expensive tower design for the new span of the Bay Bridge. 

State Business, Transportation and Housing Secretary Sunne Wright McPeak told lawmakers of the governor’s decision Friday in San Francisco. She added that bridge tolls would likely have to climb to $4 in the coming years to help fund the project, which has been beset by cost overruns. 

Bates, in a press release issued Friday, called on the governor to “revisit his disastrous decision.” 

“It is truly an offensive design that will visually damage one of the world’s most unique and beautiful areas,” wrote Bates, adding that the change might also delay completion of the bridge, and require new environmental reviews that would swallow most of the expected savings. 

He maintained that requiring local motorists to chip in for the cost overruns with higher tolls conflicted with long-standing precedents for state transportation projects. 

McPeak told lawmakers Friday that the redesign, which is actually a replica of a 1997 proposal from then-Gov. Pete Wilson, would trim more than $300 million from the project now estimated at $5.1 million.Ã