Regional Measure 3 includes $300 million to expand the Bay Area’s ferry network, which could help fund a proposal to build a new terminal at the Berkeley Pier. Credit: City of Berkeley

A state supreme court ruling this week unlocking billions of dollars in funding for Bay Area transportation projects could be a boon for efforts to build a ferry terminal at the Berkeley Marina and improve bus service along San Pablo Avenue.

Voters across nine Bay Area counties in 2018 approved Regional Measure 3, a series of bridge toll hikes raising money for projects that aimed to improve public transit and ease the region’s traffic congestion.

The measure has raised $545 million so far as tolls to cross the Bay Area’s seven state-owned bridges, including the Bay and Richmond-San Rafael bridges, climbed to $7; a final $1 toll increase will take effect in 2025.

But that money has been on hold so far as an anti-tax group sought to have the measure struck down in court, arguing that it should’ve needed support from two-thirds of voters to pass. It was approved with 55% of voters in favor. The Supreme Court of California’s long-awaited ruling on Tuesday struck down that challenge, freeing up money that has so far been collected in an escrow account.

It’s unclear how much of Regional Measure 3’s funding will make its way to Berkeley.

The measure’s $4.45 billion spending plan includes several region-wide projects that could change how residents get around — such as funding for BART to buy more new train cars, and $50 million for planning and engineering work on a proposed new rail line from the East Bay to San Francisco, a decades-long mega-project known as Link21.

Capitol Corridor, which is planning for Link21 along with BART, will also get funding from Regional Measure 3 to change its route through Union City, a project that managing director Rob Padgette said will improve reliability and save time on trips to the South Bay.

Bus and ferry projects in Berkeley could be candidates for the money, though officials from AC Transit and San Francisco Bay Ferry did not provide specific information about their plans.

The measure includes $300 million to improve and expand the Bay Area’s ferry network, and has been cited as a potential funding source for a ferry terminal that could be part of a rebuilt Berkeley Pier. San Francisco Bay Ferry spokesman Thomas Hall said the agency’s board of directors will decide how the money is allocated.

Estimates have put the cost of rebuilding the pier and launching a ferry service between Berkeley and San Francisco at $122 million.

AC Transit is getting $100 million from the measure to improve service on its rapid bus corridors. Spokesman Robert Lyles said the agency has not identified specific plans for the funding because of the court challenge, though he said San Pablo Avenue — which is in line for a major makeover across seven cities and two counties — is “a focus for our transit district.”

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Nico Savidge joined Berkeleyside in 2021 as a senior reporter covering city hall. Born and raised in Berkeley, he got his start in journalism at Youth Radio as a high-schooler in the mid-2000s. Since then,...