Public should not pay for bridge celebration

As long as education in California remains lacking appropriate funding levels and the homeless are on the streets of the San Francisco Bay Area, money should not be used for a grand opening of the Bay Bridge.

Why doesn't the bridge-building industry, who profited by this huge project, come up with the money for the opening celebration? The Giants organization did this for their World Series parade, and it was a tremendous success.

We're not against the celebration; the new Bay Bridge is a beautiful accomplishment -- only who pays for it.

Don and Margie Sherratt

Alameda

Forget bridge bash; we have other priorities

I applaud the position on not spending public money on a bridge bash.

I would take it a step further and not spend any money on a bridge bash. Does the public realize what $5.6 million could do for our food banks and our homeless/abused women shelters? BART tickets for our challenged youth who have to commute to youth shelters and special education classes could be provided. Our public authorities have their priorities completely out of place.

Any money collected should be put back in play into the community serving the organizations who serve the needy and homeless. Come on people in the Bay Area, let's force the issue of stop wasting corporate and taxpayer money.


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Randy Burchfield

Danville

Bridge party another way to waste money

Wow. Gee whiz. How wonderful.

Our public servants have found another way to throw a party by throwing away unneeded taxpayer money -- a $5.6 million stroll for 200,000 special folks on a $6.4 billion plank of subsidized steel from China.

Have they no mercy on the pocketbooks of the faithful commuters, who have been paying daily for this friendship bridge to China?

Why not ease the taxpayer pain by at least charging each of those eager walkers a $6 strolling toll?

And, if the idea is to have a walking celebration on the replacement portion of the Oakland section of the Bay Bridge, why is it necessary to disrupt the travel of toll-paying motorists by setting up $955,000 in temporary fencing on the S.F. portion of the Bay Bridge?

Would it not have been simpler to just permit those serious walkers to drive to and park at Treasure Island and make a round trip walk East to Oakland and back to Treasure Island, thereby saving $1.86 million in bus transportation?

Bruce Bergondy

Hayward

Cost of party is small compared to total tab

After paying taxes and increased tolls for 23 years, it is only fair that we have a bang-up celebration for the opening of the new Bay Bridge to replace the damaged bridge.

The $5.6 million (0.0056 percent of the $10 billion cost) is peanuts for the celebration.

Charles N. Wilkins, Jr.

Fremont

Let the workers be the ones to walk bridge

There is so much controversy over the $5.6 million to celebrate the bridge already that I can only imagine what it will be like when the millions who have paid tolls in the past realize that they can't be among the 125,000 to walk the bridge.

Therefore, I have a suggestion.

Just let the people who worked on the bridge be part of the group that crosses it on foot. They have worked hard and even risked their lives, so I don't think anyone would begrudge them the privilege of being the ones who could do the crossing.

Each of them could get five or 10 passes for family and friends to join them, sort of like high school graduation. This would reduce the number of people crossing the bridge and thus the cost. Plus, the need for security would probably be minimal.

Mareth Ellis

Oakland

Surely MTC has got to be kidding, right?

You have got to be kidding.

There are agencies all around us having budget cuts. Oakland is like a war zone, with not enough police to keep the streets safe. Other departments in other cities also feel the hurt.

We feel the money could be better spent spreading it around to some key areas in need.

Oh, we suppose the budgeted funds can't be used elsewhere, just like the Park and Recreation Department's little hidden slush fund.

Somehow the department heads find a way to spend every dime; God forbid they have a stinking penny left over. If it's not spent, on next year's budget they might see a reduction in available money.

This little party will be more for the department heads and a few politicians who want to pat themselves on the back for doing a grand job.

Isn't the big paycheck and perks (most we don't know about) enough for these people?

They will probably have it take place during the week, and most folks will be working. I know we will be, and we can't afford to take the day off to celebrate. We're too busy trying to pay the tax bill coming up.

Stephanie Wilkins

Vera Bonari

Oakland

Bridge party plans are ludicrously expensive

The MTC should not spend $5.6 million for the celebration of the Bay Bridge opening.

This is a ludicrously expensive and unnecessary proposition, given state and local debts and harsh economic times.

It seems the MTC wants to pass off the expense by increasing bridge tolls, which would further negatively impact the economy and the Bay Area residents who do not use the Bay Bridge and/or may not want to participate in the celebrations.

A better plan may be for those who want to participate pay for the experience by purchasing tickets at a price that would offset the cost.

Carlee R. Durfor

Pleasant Hill

Bridge event should be a modest celebration

Surely there can be a modest celebration of the opening of the new span without spending millions of dollars.

I like the idea of allowing people to walk across the bridge, even if the numbers have to be limited.

I walked across the day of the original opening. But we don't need bells and whistles or fireworks, and hopefully the funds can be privately raised.

Elinor Smith

Fremont

Much better ways to spend that money

The MTC should not spend $5.6 million of the bridge tolls on a bridge opening ceremony. What a waste of money.

The money is better spent on projects that bridge toll money normally covers, not a celebration, especially in these tough economic times.

Gwen Yee Condap

San Leandro

Pedestrians walked other bridges for free

I was a toll collector on the Bay Bridge when they opened the San Rafael bridge.

They allowed pedestrians to walk around on and across the bridge at no charge before it was opened to vehicular traffic.

Bob Swinford

Oakland

What gall to hold bridge bash at our expense

With the high gasoline prices and the $5 to $6 tolls I have to pay every time I cross the Bay Bridge, it's hard to stomach that the authorities have the temerity to hold this kind of bash using our money.

Ted Ferrer

San Leandro