Q: What’s the expected schedule for repairing/repaving Interstate 680 southbound from the Benicia Bridge to Concord???
Unless a driver knows this road well, especially just coming off the bridge at speed, you could easily shred a thin tire, bend a rim, or stress a strut on the long, deep stretches of expanded cracks, destroyed pavement, and giant potholes. Most of the damage is in the tire worn sections of the lanes, so it’s hard to avoid, unless there’s light traffic with room to quickly maneuver. It’s ugly and dangerous!!!
Any information is welcome!
Cathy Aaron, Walnut Creek
A: Most likely this will be done next summer.
There’s more 680 news for a different part of the Bay Area. On Dec. 6, Caltrans will activate ramp meters to northbound 680 at interchanges from Calaveras Boulevard (Highway 237) in Milpitas to Stoneridge Drive in Pleasanton.
Ramp meters will operate only on weekdays during the afternoon peak period, between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. The meters will only regulate traffic when congestion develops. Otherwise, they will be dark or on continuous green.
Q: I live in the Central Valley and commute to the Bay Area. How will people like me be affected by the possibility of charging drivers by the mile to make up for the loss of gas tax?
A: Recent research from the Mineta Transportation Institute finds that replacing California’s fuel tax with a flat-rate mileage fee would transfer costs from rural to urban drivers. The study, “Charging Drivers by the Gallon vs. the Mile: An Equity Analysis by Geography and Income in California,” compares fuel tax and mileage fee costs for urban vs. rural drivers, as well as for drivers at different income levels.
The study showed that shifting to a revenue-neutral, flat-rate mileage fee would push household costs down by an average of less than a dollar per week for most rural households. It would push costs up by an average of less than a dollar per week for moderately-wealthy rural households and all urban households.
Study authors concluded that although replacing fuel taxes with a flat-rate mileage fee raises potential equity and climate concerns, policymakers could address both with differentiated mileage fee rate structures. Options in the study include:
- An increasing-block-pricing rate structure: a vehicle owner pays no fee or a very low rate for the initial set of miles driven annually, and then higher rates for additional miles driven that year.
- A lower mileage fee rate to qualifying low-income households, similar to the “lifeline” rates that utilities offer to low-income customers.
- The state could set mileage fee rates higher for less efficient vehicles and lower for more efficient vehicles.