TREASURE ISLAND (KPIX 5) — Supervisors in San Francisco on Tuesday said they were siding with residents of Treasure Island who oppose a plan to implement tolls there, at least for the time being.
During the last supervisory board meeting of the year, the board voted to postpone implementing a plan that would charge a $3.50 toll each time drivers enter or leave the island starting in 2021.
“It’s going to kill my business,” Jim Mirowski, the owner of Treasure Island Wines said.
The majority of the 1,800 people living on Treasure Island are low income. They say if the toll goes through, they won’t be able to afford to go to work. Business owners on the island say their staff will find other jobs.
“I have people who I employ who won’t work for me if there’s a toll. I have customers who say, ‘I won’t come wine tasting if I have to pay $7 to get on the island,'” Mirowski said.
Jeannette Adejobi is a low-income resident who moved to Treasure Island after living in Oakland
“Treasure Island for us is not a luxury. We cannot afford to be anywhere else,” Adejobi said through tears. “For people who are poor, we have nowhere else to go.”
The tolls will be brought up again in the new year. Residents complained the city was trying to rush this plan through with a lame duck board that wouldn’t be held accountable.
“I would like to see some kind of toll in the future to pay for increased services,” Supervisor Jane Kim said.
The tolls would pay to help build a ferry terminal on the island and an AC transit bus line that will transport people to Oakland.
Supervisors are motivated to decrease congestion on the Bay Bridge as Treasure Island’s population is slated to increase steadily over the next 16 years. The Treasure Island Development Authority is building 8,000 residential units on the island.
“This is not at all about gentrification and driving people out, its about providing more robust transit and we have to find a way to pay for it,” Eric Young of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority said.
“We know congestion is increasing we simply must do more to get people out of their cars,” Kim said.
The Treasure Island Development Authority broke ground on the residential units two years ago. 2,173 of the 8,000 units will be affordable and mixed income housing.