If approved, the plan would become the nation's first congestion pricing scheme. Known as a "cordon toll" or "cordon area" congestion pricing because drivers pay a tax or fee to enter/leave a restricted area, this scheme has already proved successful in London, Stockholm, Rome and Singapore, where it has significantly reduced traffic and air pollution and helped raise millions for new infrastructure projects.
The $3 toll would be collected on weekdays between 6 and 9 a.m. and 4 and 7 p.m. - meaning the average car commuter would pay $6 a day in congestion tolls. The fees would be collected using FasTrak transponders and a network of cameras. Motorists would be able to pay via phone, the Internet or retail outlets.
It's believed the toll could eventually raise $35 - $65 million a year. The funds would be used to improve existing transit lines, particularly Muni and BART, and to build new projects -- including new bicycle lanes, a bike-sharing program and more regional transit parking. Taxi drivers, low-income drivers and residents of the toll zone would be offered substantial discounts (up to half off), while drivers who used the bridges would get $1 off their fee. In addition, commercial, rental and car-sharing vehicles would pay a reduced fleet rate.