Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Financial Analysts Ask When Dulles Greenway Will Bottom

According to Toll Road News, traffic on the Dulles Greenway in the first half of this year was 47.3k average daily transactions (ADT) a drop of 4.3% on 2009's 49.4k and 23% down on the high year of 2005 when ADT was 61.2k. Every year in the past five years has seen a drop in traffic. And in the first half of this year revenue is down too -- by 3.8% to $61.4m/yr v $63.8m in 2009.

"The first half of this year was depressed in part by the great blizzard of February when some 40 to 50 inches (1m to 1.3m) snow was deposited on the DC metro area in a week. Adjusting for that, traffic would have averaged 47.7k, a 3.6% drop rather than 4.3% actual. The blizzard cost the Greenway, by our estimate, about $400k in revenue so adjusting for that the half year would be an annualized $61.8m v $61.4m actual.

"The Greenway has a major handicap in its poorly designed toll system. This has some 85% of the traffic paying the one toll at the mainline toll plaza at the eastern end of the pike - the tolled ramps face away to pick up traffic that doesn't use the mainline plaza. This arrangement of tolls makes for excessively high per-mile tolls for trips exiting at close interchanges or joining close to the mainline plaza, and tolls too low for long trips.

"The Greenway also lacks open road tolling. A new toll system is being considered but seems to be a couple of years away."

Read the complete article.

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