San Diego

Should the Coronado Bridge Toll be Reinstated? City Council Candidates Weigh In

While the idea of reinstating a toll on the Coronado Bridge is picking up steam in community social media circles, candidates for the island’s City Council say it’s an idea about as farfetched as the bridge is long.

A poll posted on Coronado Happenings, an 18,000-member Facebook community page, gives outsiders a peek into islanders’ thoughts on the issue. It offered voters a few options, including: No, which received a vast majority of votes as of Thursday; Yes but not for residents or military; Yes; and Not for residents.

Coronado City Council candidates Mary Sikes, Peter Jensen and Bill Sandke didn’t say if they participated in the poll, but they were all in agreeance when they shared their opinions with NCB 7.

Jensen flat out said, “The toll is not coming back.”

For Sikes, “Tolls are not the answer even if they were a possible option, which they are not.”

And Sandke explained that “The practical reality is that a toll will prove extremely difficult if not impossible to reinstitute for a multitude of reasons.”

According to Sikes, even if one of the candidates win a seat on the council they’ll still only have their opinion to offer on the issue.

“Coronado does not control bringing back a toll to the bridge. That is a state and CALTRANS decision that is highly unlikely,” she said.

Sikes said that means revenue from the toll would go to California, not Coronado. She also said a toll, which she estimated would be set at $7, would be an unaffordable daily expense for Navy employees and others on the island.

The bridge had a 60-cent toll each direction when it opened to drivers in 1969 -- years later it increased to $1 – which was supposed to end when the bond for the bridge was paid off. SANDAG collected the revenue for the state and gave some to the cities of Coronado and San Diego for road maintenance.

The toll was discontinued in 2002.

Sandke said the toll reinstatement topic’s recent salience could also stem from a question asked at a recent City Council candidate forum.

For now, the topic is merely a conversation starter and is not scheduled to appear on any upcoming ballots.

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