Officials mull funding for Golden Gate Bridge suicide nets

March 12, 2014 at 1:22 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO, March 12 (UPI) -- Suicide prevention nets will be strung below San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge if bridge officials commit $22 million to the $66 million project.

The California Transportation Department and the regional Metropolitan Transportation Commission appear ready to put up $44 million of the total cost of placing the safety nets along the 1.7-mile span where more than 1,500 people have leaped to their deaths since it was opened in 1937, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday.

"We've got a tentative commitment from the state, and I believe our commission is willing to step up to the plate," Steve Heminger, the commission's executive director, said.

The remaining chunk of the financing must come from the Golden Gate Bridge district, the newspaper said.

"We are working aggressively to put together a full funding plan," bridge district General Manager Denis Mulligan said.

The Chronicle said its sources indicate the district is seeking $10 million in state general fund money and private grants. Transportation sources told the newspaper the remaining $12 million would have to come from toll revenues, which the 19-member bridge board has been reluctant to allocate previously.

"We are committed to making something happen," board member Dietrich Stroeh said. "How we get there, I don't know yet."

He said toll money could be a "last resort," though he wasn't sure that method would pass muster with the board.

Last year, 46 suicides were recorded at the bridge, the Chronicle noted.

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