SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A move is afoot to rename the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge after Ronald Reagan.

Vince Vasquez, an economist with the National University System Institute for Policy Research, said he has gathered more than 200 signatures on a petition to change the name to Ronald Reagan-Coronado Memorial Bridge, and hopes to get 1,000 names via his Web site,

"Throughout his life, Ronald Reagan had a special bond with San Diego, and he connected with thousands of local residents over three decades of public service," Vasquez said. "Dedicating a memorial bridge now is a fitting tribute to Reagan's legacy, and an important education tool for future generations."

Reagan gave a speech to dedicate the bridge in 1969, visited the Hotel del Coronado as California governor and the nation's 40th president, and ended both of his presidential campaigns in San Diego.

He also filmed the 1957 film "Hellcats of the Navy" in San Diego. It was the only movie in which he appeared with his future wife, Nancy Davis.

Assemblyman Martin Garrick, R-Carlsbad, and Sen. Mark Wyland, R-San Diego, have expressed their initial support for the bridge renaming, Vasquez said.

Changing the name would require approval from the Legislature and California Department of Transportation, and private funds would need to be raised to pay for new signs.

The 100th anniversary of Reagan's birthday is next Sunday.