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SANDAG Votes to Buy South Bay Expressway

A public hearing and vote will be held before a final decision is made.

In a closed session Friday morning, the SANDAG board of directors voted to purchase the lease to operate the state Route 125 toll road for approximately $345 million.

Opened in 2007, the 10-mile toll road stretches from state Route 905 near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry north through eastern Chula Vista to state Route 54 near the Sweetwater Reservoir.

The board will hold a public hearing during which the details of the purchase and the financing options will be presented and voted on by the board and the public will have the opportunity to comment.

It costs $4 for a two-axle vehicle to drive the entire length of the South Bay Expressway, or $3.85 for vehicles with a FasTrak transponder, which pays the toll automatically.

Opened in November 2007, the toll road is owned by the state and was built by a private company, but has struggled with lower-than-expected traffic. In April, a judge approved a Chapter 11 reorganization plan with new debt amounts and structure, and South Bay Expressway LLC was created from the toll road’s creditors.

James Davis August 01, 2011 at 03:24 PM
Ed, in all fairness, freeways (toll or not) take many years of planning. The final product happened to come at the worst possible time in the economy. The folks in the Eastlake area got killed in the real estate bubble, this affecting ridership on the toll road. I see this as a plus if SANDAG took it on at the price they got it vs having to build it themselves via Caltrans. What we DONT KNOW yet is if there will continue to be a toll. From other sources I am reading, it is free for now and its fate still undecided.
Ed Sorrels August 01, 2011 at 04:39 PM
Jim, You can bet the farm that there will be a continuing toll on this road, the only question at this time is how much. As SANDAG can amortize it over a much longer perioid than the people that built it so we can only hope that it is less than it is now ! when ikt is re-instated whish it surely will be.
Ed Sorrels August 01, 2011 at 04:43 PM
And I suppose that you never used the bridge to coronado, This was an example of toll acquization and building that was well thought out and it paid for itself I think about 10 years early and built a reaserve so thet the intrest mostly pays for staffing and upkeep ! This was an example of doing it right, Unlikke that mess in the southbay !
James Davis August 01, 2011 at 06:05 PM
Ed, regardless, just like the bridge was paid for, I am certain the expressway will be too by motorists. At what cost? Who knows? The only difference I see here is that the toll you were talking about for the bridge paid the actual bond and then some. That toll can always come back if there are major repairs that are/will be needed at some point. The SouthBay expressway will wind up being a good move for San Diego simply because its there already and needs to be used to relieve congestion otherwise. I would wait maybe 20 years to come back and see how well its doing....just like the Coronado Bridge had time to do that. I think in 20 years it will be positive for the area.
jv August 02, 2011 at 06:45 PM
Ed, all roads (non toll and some toll) are paid for and "subsidized" by tax payers. Tax money is required to build, operate and maintain every road and street in your city. Even the street in front of your home is a tax payer "subsidy". The company that built the 125 is bankrupt. Investors and creditors took their loss. SANDAG is actually getting a $1 billion dollar road for about a third of its cost to build. I'd say it's a good deal for the taxpayers.

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