San Diego Business Journal

Toll Road’s Financial Strategy Working, Sandag Reports

Friday, July 5, 2013

The San Diego Association of Governments, the regional transportation planning agency, said reducing tolls on the state Route 125 toll road from Lemon Grove to the international border is working.

After one year of Sandag ownership, the road is seeing increased usage and meeting revenue targets established when Sandag acquired the 10-mile road.

Total trips on SR 125 for the fiscal year that ended June 30 were 11.65 million, up 22 percent from the forecasted number under the old toll rate scenario, Sandag said.

Local trips from Birch Road and East H Street in Chula Vista were up more than 50 percent in the past year. Also, Fastrak electronic toll-collection accounts now total more than 31,000, up nearly 16 percent from the prior fiscal year, the agency said.

With toll revenue exceeding $21 million in the past fiscal year, Sandag said it’s meeting its requirements for covering operating costs, funding its reserves and making scheduled debt service payments.

Tolls now range from 50 cents to $2.75 for customers with Fastrak electronic accounts, and from $2 to $3.50 for cash and credit card users.

Sandag acquired the lease to operate the toll road, also called the South Bay Expressway, in December 2011 after the private group of investors that built the project went into bankruptcy.

— SDBJ Staff Report