South Bay Expressway tolls will be $11.25 for trucks

| 2/27/2007

The builder and operator of a private toll road in the San Diego area has announced that truckers will pay three times more than four-wheelers to use the road.

Trucks with five axles will be charged $11.25 to travel the length of the 10-mile South Bay Expressway when the toll road opens in the summer. That's three times the $3.75 rate that four-wheelers will be charged, according to the operator's Web site.

Trucks with three or four axles will pay twice the rate of four wheelers.

A company called California Transportation Ventures is financing and building the road and will operate it for 35 years. In 2041, the toll road will be turned over to Caltrans.

California Transportation Ventures spokeswoman Brendi Rawlin said her company is owned by a consortium that includes Macquarie Infrastructure Group of Australia - one of two companies that partnered to lease the Indiana Toll Road in 2006 and the Chicago Skyway in 2005.

The route for the $635-million South Bay Expressway was planned in 1991 by the state government and the San Diego Expressway Limited Partnership, but a lack of public dollars for the project prompted the state to seek funding from the private sector and from federal grants.

?Over time, Macquarie Infrastructure Group gained 100 percent control of San Diego Expressway Limited Partnership. In 2006, the Australian company divested 50 percent of its U.S. holdings to the publicly traded Macquarie Infrastructure Partners in New York.

The South Bay Expressway project differs from the leases of existing infrastructure in Indiana and Illinois because the road is being constructed as a privately operated toll road rather than leased from a state government.

The expressway will stretch from state Route 905 to the Mexican border and will include a bridge over the Otay River.

Information on Macquarie's Web site states that toll rates and increases are at the discretion of the company until 2041.