Following the motion made by Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, the SANDAG Board today unanimously authorized an across-the-board reduction in tolls on State Route 125/South Bay Expressway, believed to be the first-ever comprehensive resetting of toll rates by a public toll road operator in the United States.
“It is likely today’s decision will lead to the single greatest economic stimulus in the near future for residents and businesses in Chula Vista and the South Bay region,” said Cox.
Cox expressed gratitude for SANDAG’s support for the investment in SR 125.
New capacity and flexibility were added to the San Diego highway network in December 2011 when SANDAG acquired the lease to operate the SR 125 toll road. Public ownership of the 10 mile highway enables lower tolls and brings congestion relief to the South Bay decades sooner than expected.
“We made a bold promise when we purchased the South Bay Expressway that we would reduce the tolls to encourage more people to use the road,” said SANDAG Chair and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks. “Today, we became the first agency in America to reduce tolls.”
It will take approximately one month to implement the toll reductions.
When SANDAG purchased the lease to operate the SR 125 toll road in December 2011, the Board set three key goals: lower the toll rates, divert traffic from nearby I-805 (thereby reducing the need to expand I-805), and generate enough revenue to support the operations and debt service on the facility.
In its vote on Friday, the Board followed the lead of its Transportation Committee, which earlier this month recommended what is called the “Balanced Toll Reduction” option, one of three under consideration.
The Balanced Toll Reduction plan cuts tolls for all trips, to a range between 50 cents and $2.75 for FasTrak users and a range between $2 and $3.50 for cash or credit card.
Current toll rates, established by the toll road’s previous owner, range from 85 cents to $3.85 for FasTrak clients and from $2.50 to $4 for cash or credit card users.
In addition to the toll cuts, the Board approved a reduction in the SR 125’s minimum FasTrak monthly toll usage, from $7 to $4.50, the same as the monthly minimum on I-15. Also, SANDAG FasTrak customers can now earn credit toward their minimum monthly toll requirements when using either road.
It will take about a month to prepare the toll road, update signage, and ramp up an educational campaign in advance of implementing the toll reductions on the facility.