Funding construction was
an issue that concerned both politicians and private citizens alike. The
possibility of federal support for part of the financial burden was eliminated
by the Depression, so a $35 million bond issue was proposed.
The public was skeptical
that the tolls would ultimately pay for the construction and operating
costs. The Steamship Association argued against the bond issue as a threat
to the port, artists argued against it as a disfigurement to one of nature's
perfect pictures, and recent troubles at City Hall over management of the
Hetch Hetchy water system made voters wary of further projects.
Proponents of the bridge
used the bridge itself as their main argument and portrayed the shipping
and ferry interests as the Old Guard trying to halt progress. Voters passed
the bridge bonds by a three-to-one margin, perhaps feeling that the bridge
represented a positive move on behalf of local investment and jobs. When
the bridge was finally completed in 1937, chief engineer Joseph Strauss
claimed that it had taken him two decades to convince people the bridge
was feasible and only four years to actually build it.