Tolls on state Route 125, also known as the South Bay Expressway, were cut following a vote by the board of directors of the San Diego Association of Governments on May 25, according to the agency.

The move had been anticipated since December when Sandag acquired the lease on the nine-mile roadway that connects Spring Valley to the U.S.-Mexican border at Otay Mesa. The lease was purchased from a consortium of banks that owned it following the bankruptcy of the private entity that built the road and opened it in 2007, just as the recession began to take hold.

Jerome Stocks, Sandag’s chairman and mayor of Encinitas, said the agency was the first in the nation to reduce tolls.

By cutting the rates, Sandag hopes to attract more riders and take traffic off of nearby Interstate 805 as well as generate increased revenue to pay for the road’s operations and its annual debt service.

The new rate structure ranges from 50 cents to $2.75 for FasTrak enrolled drivers, and ranges from $2 to $3.50 for others. The current rates range from 85 cents to $3.85 for FasTrak users, and $2.50 to $4 for all others.

It will take about a month for the new rates to take effect because of adjustments including signage and an educational campaign, Sandag said.

Private interests invested about $843 million to build the toll road, which was acquired by Sandag for $351 million.

— Mike Allen