A San Francisco judge has ruled that the Bay Area bridge toll hikes implemented earlier this year were fairly and legally passed by voters, clearing a path toward putting the additional money raised toward more than 30 regional transportation projects. The Superior Court judge last Wednesday dismissed outright a lawsuit brought by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that argued the toll increases were essentially a tax, requiring two-thirds voter approval. Regional Measure 3 had passed last June with 54 percent of the vote. The measure was expected to add $4.5 billion to Bay Area transportation coffers to fund projects aimed at easing congestion and building up alternative transit systems such as ferry and bus services. Tolls went up by $1 on seven Bay Area bridges on Jan. 1 this year, but with the lawsuit pending, the money collected had not yet gone toward any new projects.