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In a closed meeting on July 29, SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, voted to purchase the lease to operate the South Bay Expressway, the portion of SR-125 that is a toll road. According to the SANDAG press release, the purchase price will be “$345 million with various contingencies.” The 35-year lease is held by the State of California.

The toll road was built with public and private funds. In 2010, South Bay Expressway LP declared bankruptcy, emerging from bankruptcy this year as a composite group of creditors called South Bay Expressway LLC. In bankruptcy court, the assessed value of the toll road (according to an April Union-Tribune article) was $287 million.

South Bay Expressway CEO Greg Hulsizer has been here before. Between 1995 and 2003, Hulsizer was head of another ten-mile strip of private toll road that performed poorly and was ultimately sold to Orange County.

SANDAG’s chief of communications, David Hicks, wrote in an August 1 email that the agreement to purchase the toll road is contingent upon “conducting the public process on the agreement and the financing, as well as SANDAG conducting due diligence on the company…”

Hicks also wrote, “There is the potential to reduce the tolls, depending on what form of financing is used.”

A public meeting will be held in the seventh-floor boardroom at SANDAG offices (401 B Street) on August 26.

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Comments

Visduh Aug. 2, 2011 @ 8:12 p.m.

So a private operator cannot make a go of this freeway and a public agency, SANDAG, can? While perhaps reducing tolls? Gimme a break! What that stretch of freeway needs is some traffic. I've read that truckers will drive out of their way to avoid the tolls, and in so doing load up the 905, 805, 54, and even I-5.

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VigilantinCV Aug. 2, 2011 @ 9:59 p.m.

It was a boondoggle even before it was built. Ordinary citizens knew it would never be used by the truckers but the powers that be - Greg and Cheryl Cox, Dan Hom, Greg Hulsizer and many more took enormous credit for it. Cheryl, as mayor, milked it like a cow frequently. when she needed money for something Now she champions SANDAG buying it......it's just taxpayer money!

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SurfPuppy619 Aug. 3, 2011 @ 12:04 a.m.

We pay a HUGE gas tax, which is suppsoed to pay for roads and highways and freeways, until they kill the gas tax then there should be NO toll roads anywhere in CA.

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Visduh Aug. 3, 2011 @ 8:07 a.m.

Orange County is making use of toll roads to supposedly unplug its massive freeway traffic problems. But everything I read about those roads is that they disappoint. In a typical governmental mode, when the toll road does not generate the projected toll revenue they raise, not lower, the rates. That increases the disincentive to use the roadway, and revenue falls farther which results in a toll boost, which . . . OC's pride and joy toll road, route 73, the so-called San Joaquin Hills expressway, was designed as a means to avoid the heavy traffic on part of I-405 and miss the dreaded El Toro Wye (Y) interchange. Sounded really good, but the reality is that it is only used much during peak traffic periods on 405. And during those periods it gets loaded up itself, especially at the north end where the traffic has to flow into and merge onto the 405. The rest of the time, few drivers use it. And why should they? The 405 is free! Moreover, the 405 is a more-or-less flat route, whereas the 73 goes up and down a series of steep hills, a real roller coaster. Actually, I thought that 125 toll connector made sense because if we had to wait until the state funded it as a true "freeway", we'd all be dead, and there was significant truck traffic that seemed to need a straighter and less cluttered route to and from the Otay Mesa border crossing. But it is not a surprise that it didn't work out.

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Twister Aug. 3, 2011 @ 8:09 a.m.

SANDAG sandbag? Just let the state take the liability off their hands. Why pay them money? There's got to be SOME penalty against pits of vipers. But to stuff their pockets when something makes a profit and stuff their pockets when they go broke PLUS hand us a pig in a poke?

Folks, we've got VICTIM written all over our stupid faces, and the victimizers will continue to screw us coming and going unless we ORGANIZE against them!

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joepublic Aug. 3, 2011 @ 9:17 a.m.

You're right twister. They think we're stupid. Chula Vista's mayor Cheryl Cox once told us that the toll road is the city's third best attraction! Now she wants to spend more of our tax dollars to buy it and then pay to use it! A related reader article spells out how we've already spent taxpayer money on this "third wonder". Enough is enough! http://sdreader_test.www.clients.ellingtoncms.com/news/2009/nov/18/city-light-2/ .

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Twister Aug. 3, 2011 @ 12:55 p.m.

As long as we slurp it up, they'll keep on feeding us such fecal slime.

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cvres Aug. 3, 2011 @ 4:28 p.m.

The SANDAG board is composed of the mayors. Mayor Cox has already trumpeted her opinion that the road, which has no traffic and doesn't work for most people in Eastlake, should be bought. Hmmm I wonder how the decision will go?

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