Bay Area voters may be asked to OK bridge toll hike of up to $3

By Matier and Ross : sfchronicle – excerpt

Saturday Night traffic on the Bay Bridge photo by zrants

Lawmakers, business leaders and staffers at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission have been quietly meeting at the state Capitol in an effort to draw up a proposal for a toll increase of $2 to $3 on the Bay Area’s seven state-run bridges.

The goal is to have the measure in front of voters either in next year’s June primary election or on the November general election ballot.

Money from the toll increase — an estimated $125 million a year — would pay for a number of projects intended to ease traffic congestion. Those could include funding for 300 new BART cars, something that would allow the transit agency to run more trains; construction of more high-occupancy vehicle lanes on Interstates 80, 680 and 880, plus Highway 101; expanded ferry systems and more express buses; BART service to San Jose; and the growing cost of the new Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco… (more)

How many times will voters be tapped to pay for the mistakes and miscalculations of our elected officials? What will they do if the voters refuse to pay their debts?

Will they go away and leave us alone to get on with our lives?  New Jersey and Illinois are finding out now, as they face a major credit-default crisis.

There is a limited amount of tolerance left among the taxpaying public. This could be the end of the gravy train. SFMTA is raising rates across the bridge for everyone, including the Muni riders. Meanwhile, there has been no comparable raise in salaries to cover the costs of living increases except among the government employees.

How much government does the public need or want?

Once again, read the article and comment at the source if you can. The ideas they dream up of how to get money out of use to spend on their projects is staggering.

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Closures, overcrowding, rats: New York City commuters face ‘summer of hell’

By Tom McCarthy : theguardian – excerpt

Being trapped is a common thread in fictional future forecasts. Our urban planners’  future perfect plans for tiny crowded units with public transport ride-shares feel a lot like the futuristic city depicted in the 1985 Terry Gilliam movie, “Brazil”. where there is no easy way out.

The city’s aging subway has been declared ‘a state of emergency’. Combined with closures on other rail lines, riders are bracing for the worst

There was a time – somewhere between the 1990s exorcism of violent crime from much of New York City and Thursday, when a “state of emergency” was declared for the city’s transit system – when a nightmare scenario on the subway meant a rat crawling up your leg, over your chest and nearly into your hoody.

That remains a vividly awful prospect. But in the summer of 2017, rats are competing with a ballooning number of alternative potential torments for commuters (the term is used optimistically) who venture into the city’s aging underground.

Dangerously overcrowded platforms. Chronically delayed trains. Terrifying and injurious derailments. Tunnel strandings. Signal malfunctions. Fisticuffs. Electrical outages. Garbled announcements. Knockout stenches. Non-rat wildlife. Stairs, shoulders, backups, backpacks, bad attitudes and bad breath.

A particularly unlucky group of rush hour F-train riders last month were stuck inside overheating train cars for so long that video of their desperate fingers prying open fogged-up doors looked not so much like the scene from a commute as footage from a zombie movie… (more)