In coming years, about 24,000 new residents are expected to move to San Francisco's Treasure Island which is now home to about 600 households. Besides residential, developers are also slated to add retail, sports fields and parks. City officials are understandably concerned with how all those people are going to get back and forth to the island. “The only way to get people on and off the island is by vehicle,” says Rachel Hiatt, principal transportation planner at the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. But there is another idea - if city officials approve a proposed plan.

If it passes in November, Treasure Island developers Lennar Corp. and Kenwood Investments would build a ferry terminal on the island’s southwest tip, with boats running to the Embarcadero every half hour. There would also be a huge increase in bus service to the island.

Regional officials would provide transit passes to residents at a cost of $125-$150 a month, included in homeowner dues for people in market-rate housing, and offered at half price to residents of affordable housing. Low-income families would also be eligible to have their toll waived for one round trip each day.

Fares would partly cover the cost of operating the buses and ferries, and officials would pay for the rest by charging for parking and imposing tolls of up to $3.50 to get on and off the island. The goal is ambitious: Ensure that half the trips taken to and from the island are on mass transit, and make sure those transit systems pay for themselves.

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