Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dulles Toll Road Pulls in Big Bucks for Airports Authority -- Up 35% to $88 Million in 2010

According to Toll Road News, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has been raking in the toll revenues on the Dulles Toll Road since they took it over from Virginia DOT in November 2008. After a major toll increase Jan 1, 2010, eleven months revenues in 2010 have been $81.2 million vs. $59.8 million in the same 11 months of 2009. That's a rise of 36 percent and about an annual $88 million.

VDOT gave the Airports Authority a 50 year lease of the tollroad as a cash cow to service the debt being incurred in construction of a new Metrorail train line in the Dulles corridor. Average toll rates were hiked 42% at the beginning of 2010, and the plan is to continue aggressive increases in the future.

Traffic is down a modest 4.4% this year compared to last. The local economy is slightly up so in the absence of toll increases, toll transactions might be expected to be, say, 2 percent higher. That suggests the response to the toll increases has been a traffic decline of, say, 6.4%, suggesting a price elasticity of demand of -0.153 (-0.064/0.419).

Toll rates are rising from $1.00 at the mainline toll plaza to $1.25 in a few days - Jan 1, 2011. Other vehicle classes also go up by 25c.

Ramp plaza tolls, 75c for cars, will be unchanged. Jan 1, 2012 will see another round of 25c toll increases at the mainline toll plaza, no increases on the ramps. But Jan 1, 2013 as in 2010 there will be 25c increases at both the mainline and ramps.

The Dulles Toll Road has 10 sets of exit and entrance ramps, 59 toll lanes, 33 toll booths and eight transponder-only (E-ZPass) dedicated only lanes. The mainline toll plaza has two 35mph near-open road speed transponder toll lanes each direction.

Read the full article on Toll Road News.

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