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POLITICS AND FINANCING

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.

 
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Copyright © 1999 UC Berkeley Library
Data owner: R. Brandt
Updated 12/21/99