Officials find $76M for Golden Gate suicide prevention system; vote expected Friday

With $76 million in funding in place, officials said Monday they will consider a long-delayed proposal to build a suicide-prevention system on the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District announced that its board of directors is set to vote Friday on the plan that has faced opposition for years because of the expense, engineering difficulty and public resistance to the notion of changing the look of the iconic bridge.

Dennis Mulligan, the district's general manager, told KCBS-TV that 46 people committed suicide on the bridge in 2013. The bridge has been the site of more than 1,400 confirmed deaths since it opened in 1937.

"On average about once a week we stop someone from jumping off the bridge," Mulligan said. "On average, twice a month people die by jumping off the bridge."

The agency said it has found funding to cover the $76 million price tag of the project. It said $27 million would come from the federal Surface Transportation Program; $22 million from the federal Local Highway Bridge Program; $20 million from its own reserves; and $7 million from California Mental Health Service Act money.

Federal money could not have been used for the project until 2012, when President Obama signed into law a bill specifically making safety barriers and nets eligible for federal funds, the district said.