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A LOOK BACK: CALIFORNIA STATE ROUTE 91

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Originally constructed and operated by private company under franchise agreement with the State ... Projects become part of the state highway system ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: A LOOK BACK: CALIFORNIA STATE ROUTE 91


1
A LOOK BACK CALIFORNIA STATE ROUTE 91
  • Edward C. Sullivan,
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis
    Obispo

2
Facility Features
  • 4 lane toll road in median of 8 lane freeway
  • 16 km. in length
  • Express travel (no intermediate access)
  • Heavy vehicles not permitted
  • Electronic toll collection only (no cash)
  • Time-dependent tolls, reflecting demand
  • Originally constructed and operated by private
    company under franchise agreement with the State

3
Project Location
4
History of the SR 91 Express Lanes
5
Typical PM Peak Operations
6
Genesis Calif. AB 680 (1989)
  • Goals of the legislation
  • Attract alternate funding sources to meet state
    transportation needs
  • Gain private sector efficiencies in developing
    projects
  • Reduce congestion in crowded corridors
  • Provide alternate route selections
  • Provide private partners a reasonable profit

7
Provisions of AB 680
  • 4 demo projects w/ geographic distribution
  • Provides up to 35 year lease of right-of-way and
    airspace, which then reverts to the State (but
    may remain a toll road)
  • Projects become part of the state highway system
  • Must meet all applicable laws, environmental
    requirements, and be built to State standards
  • Any State services fully compensated state
    powers (e.g. condemnation) made available
  • Excess tolls either go to the State or used to
    reduce project debt

8
SR 91 Performance Summary
9
The State Route 91 Impact Assessment Study
  • Objective measure reactions to variable toll
    pricing and the other innovative features of the
    toll facility
  • Impacts tracked from mid-1994 through 1999 (one
    year after opening day)

10
The State Route 91 Impact Study Focus Areas
  • Traffic counts, occupancy counts and speeds
  • Effects on corridor bus, rail and park ride
  • Effects on accidents and significant incidents
  • Traffic operations at entrances/exits
  • Origin-destination (revealed preference) surveys
  • Public opinion surveys
  • Emissions modeling
  • Calibration of choice models

11
Findings Tolls Time Savings
  • Express lane use strongly reflects hourly travel
    time savings
  • Flattening of traffic peaks is weakly responsive
    to tolls more responsive in the AM period
  • Commuters typically overestimate time saved by
    5-30 minutes
  • Some users cite driving comfort safety to
    justify paying tolls if time saving is minimal
  • About 18 do not pay their own tolls

12
Findings User Demographics
  • Income correlates positively with use frequency
    for all groups
  • Middle-income groups seem relatively most
    affected by toll increases
  • Being female strongly correlates with using the
    toll lanes
  • Middle age groups use toll lanes more than the
    youngest and oldest age categories
  • More education also correlates with toll lane use

13
Lessons Learned About User Demographics
  • Results from CA Route 91 show a moderate income
    effect in travelers use of the toll lanes
  • Nevertheless many frequent users are low income,
    and many high income commuters are infrequent or
    non-users
  • Having said all this, the choice to use the
    optional toll lanes seems more related to current
    travel conditions and needs than to user
    demographics

14
Findings Ridesharing Transit
  • Toll incentives were accompanied by long-term
    increase in 3 ridesharing
  • HOV users have been more likely to use X-lanes
  • Flexible work schedules seem unrelated to X-lane
    use
  • No significant impacts on corridor transit use
    (public transit is about 1 of total corridor
    travel)

15
Findings Collision Experience
  • Accident rates in the corridor have generally
    varied with congestion there appear to be no
    particular effects related to the special
    operating characteristics of the toll lanes

16
Findings Public Opinion
  • 91X lanes image suffered in 98-99 from disputes
    about ownership congestion
  • Approval of variable tolls fell but overall
    approval of toll financing remains high
  • Toll payers express higher approval of variable
    tolls than non-payers
  • Approval declined for private operation
  • Approval of HOT lane concept is high

17
SR 91 Benefit-Cost Summary
18
Seeds of De-Privatization
  • Traffic growth led to substantial renewed
    congestion
  • Some partners changed business strategy and
    wanted out
  • A 1999 buy-out offer from start-up non-profit
    (New-Trac) for 260 million was widely perceived
    as sweetheart deal contrary to public interest,
    with a major political outcry
  • A 1999 CPTC lawsuit against Caltrans stopped
    planned capacity improvements (Caltrans settled)
  • A 2000 Riverside County lawsuit against CPTC and
    Caltrans tried to void the franchise agreement
  • At least two unsuccessful legislative bills (AB
    1091, AB 1346) sought to void the non-compete
    clause and have the public acquire the toll lanes
    by condemnation
  • In 2001, CPTC successfully refinanced 135
    million in debt to pay loans from partners and
    cover remaining construction debt at 7.63 rather
    than 9

19
De-Privatization Arrives
  • In spring 2002, the CPTC and the Orange County
    Transportation Authority (OCTA) agreed to a sale
    of the 91 franchise for 207.5 million
  • In fall 2002, the governor signed AB 1010 which,
    among other things, authorizes the transfer
  • The sale became final in January, 2003
  • CPTC metamorphosed into Cofiroute Global
    Mobility, which now operates SR 91 for OCTA

20
Provisions of AB 1010 (2002)
  • Authorizes OCTA to buy the CPTC franchise
  • Calls for improving congestion by eliminating the
    non-compete clause
  • Calls for reduced SR 91 tolls and a minimum toll
    period
  • All projects become non-toll when franchises
    expire
  • No more new franchises after January 1, 2003
  • OCTA prohibited from transferring its franchise
    without State approval
  • Creates an SR 91 advisory committee with strong
    local political control

21
A Good Deal for All
  • CPTC receives 135 million to cover its (newly
    refinanced) debt plus 72 million for the
    original partners
  • OCTA can use a 30 year payback schedule of 13
    million per year
  • An Ernst Young study for OCTA predicts 40.5
    revenue by 2010 with daily traffic to grow from
    25,500 in 2001 to nearly 64,000 in 2030
  • HOV-3 again travel free (except during the worst
    of the afternoon peak, where the 50 toll is
    maintained)
  • In Nov., 2002, voters approved Measure A to
    provide nearly 1/2 billion in road improvements
    elsewhere in the 91 corridor, which would have
    been blocked by the non-compete clause

22
In Retrospect
  • Despite de-privatization, the SR 91 project was a
    very successful project on many dimensions
  • It was an innovative model that helped establish
    in the U.S. an open mind toward market-based road
    pricing
  • It proved that public-private highway
    partnerships can be financially successful
  • The Achylles heal of this privatization project
    turned out to be the non-compete clause in the
    franchise agreement

23
More Final Observations
  • Public-private infrastructure projects should be
    eligible for tax-exempt bonds, even with a
    for-profit private partner (OCTA debt will be
    about 5.5, compared to CPTCs 7.6)
  • SR 91 showed the value in having the public
    partner obtain prior environmental clearance, on
    a reimbursement basis
  • Given the resource limitations of most public
    transportation authorities, the SR 91 non-compete
    clause was probably neither needed nor desirable

24
The Bottom Line
  • CA Route 91 has demonstrated that innovative road
    pricing (premium service for a premium price) can
    be economically attractive, win public approval,
    and significantly influence travel behavior.
  • Increasing traveler options is a subtle yet
    powerful outcome from such value pricing
    projects.
  • One size fits all in road pricing has clearly
    failed. Increasing transportation choices
    through pricing has succeeded in CA and deserves
    careful consideration elsewhere.
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