nets approved for San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge
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[June 28, 2014]
By Jennifer Chaussee
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - It could soon be
a lot harder for people bent on suicide to leap from San Francisco's
Golden Gate Bridge, as California state officials approved a funding
plan on Friday to install mesh barriers beneath the historic span to
catch jumpers before they hit the water.
The plan to create suicide barriers on the bridge, where 1,600
people have leapt to their deaths since the span opened in 1937, was
a subject of controversy for decades, with opponents arguing they
would mar the structure's beauty.
"It's a very emotional day, but it's very historic," said David
Campos, a San Francisco city supervisor and a board member of the
Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. “It’s a
unanimous vote for life today at the board.”
On Friday, the board of directors of the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway
and Transportation District voted unanimously to accept state
funding for the plan negotiated by state senate leader Darrell
Steinberg and San Francisco lawmakers.
“It has been an uphill fight," said state assemblyman Tom Ammiano,
who has fought for over a decade to secure funding for the barrier.
“But here we are, almost shovel ready.”
Last year, 48 people jumped to their deaths from the span, which
hovers high above San Francisco Bay and connects the city of San
Francisco with suburban Marin County. The Golden Gate is the
second-most popular bridge for suicide in the world, after China's
Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge, officials said.
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The state funding, worth about $7 million, comes from a tax enacted
by voters on those who make more than $1 million a year that is
earmarked for mental health services. The rest of the $76 million
project will be paid for with federal funds that recently became
available, and local money from the bridge district.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Diane Craft)
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