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SANDAG Considers How To Pay For South Bay Toll Road

— It could be cheaper to use a south bay toll road in the future. The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is planning to buy the South Bay Expressway.

SANDAG plans to eventually lower tolls for the road by about 50 percent. Friday the board heard about different ways it can pay for the nearly $345-million road.

SANDAG Chief Economist Marney Cox said the board can either choose to cancel an existing project and use the money for the expressway along with some toll revenue, or it can rely entirely on revenue from tolls to cover the cost. However, Cox said that option has a drawback.

"Underneath the toll bond option, we wouldn’t be able to reduce tolls," he said. "We’d have to keep them at the revenue maximization level because the debt outstanding would be much higher."

Cox said reducing tolls is a major factor in enticing more drivers to use the road. He said plans call for the toll to be eliminated in 2042.

The board will meet several more times before its purchase of the expressway is complete.

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