After a significant return of traffic on E-470 this year amid the ongoing pandemic, E-470’s Board of Directors who were present at today’s board meeting unanimously approved a new toll rate policy that will lower rates at all mainline tolling points over the next three years to help continue moving more people in the Denver-metro area quickly and reliably with a more cost-effective option. Starting January 1, 2022, E-470 customers will see a $0.05 decrease at all E-470 mainline tolling points and a $0.10 decrease at Toll Plaza A – one of the busiest tolling points to the south in Douglas County. Customers can then expect to see another $0.05 and $0.10 reduction in 2023 and in 2024 beginning January 1 of each year after review and approval from the Board.
With recovery from the pandemic ongoing, gradually rolling out rate reductions over a three-year period allows the E-470 Public Highway Authority to reassess toll rates and cash flows annually and adjust as needed due to recovery impacts. The 2022 rate reduction is supported by all eight voting member jurisdictions, which includes Chaz Tedesco (Adams County), John Diak (Town of Parker), Françoise Bergan (City of Aurora), Craig Hurst (Commerce City), Bill Holen (Arapahoe County), George Teal (Douglas County), Tim Watts (Alternate for Matt Johnston, City of Brighton), and Jessica Sandgren (City of Thornton).
In addition, the new toll rate policy package includes the extension of a pilot program E-470 developed with the Colorado Motor Carriers Association back in 2020, which offers discounted toll rates on E-470 for vehicles carrying extra weight from cargo (three or more axles) with an ExpressToll account. The toll rate structure for these customers includes a 5% discount on all E-470 mainline tolling points (excluding ramps) and an additional 20% discount between 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., which will continue through the end of 2024.
E-470 has $1.4B in outstanding bond debt, which is scheduled to be paid off in 2041. This year, $0.41 of every toll dollar has been going toward paying down that debt, while the rest is going to operations, maintenance, and roadway improvement projects with $0.21 set aside to prepare for future programs and road enhancements.
Due to financial stability, historical and current debt planning, as well as debt management leveling off, the Authority can adjust toll rates while continuing to fulfill its debt obligations and still provide a high level of service for all customers. This includes preparing a significant capital plan estimated at over $450M to reinvest back into the roadway and local trails adjacent to it, which will benefit the region for years to come.
“E-470 is not just about collecting tolls. We serve as a partner to the communities we serve during these challenging times,” said E-470 Board Chair and Adams County Commissioner Chaz Tedesco. “While some toll agencies and other services and products around the U.S. had to raise rates amid the pandemic, our financial stability allows us to continue to provide savings and value to our customers. So, we can take the stress out of someone’s drive to the airport or help commercial shippers deliver items on time to serve the needs of our citizens in the region.”
During the height of the pandemic, in the spring of 2020, E-470’s Board of Directors approved toll rates remain frozen through 2021 due to the economic impacts of COVID, and the Authority utilized cash reserves to continue serving customers while remaining fiscally responsible of debt obligations. This year, traffic volumes on E-470 have been slowly increasing and are projected to fully return to 2019 pre-pandemic levels by 2023. In October 2021, there were more than 7.3M toll transactions on E-470 with more than 62M transactions reported year-to-date.
About the E-470 Public Highway Authority: E-470 is the 75-mph toll road running along the eastern perimeter of the Denver metropolitan area. E-470 is a user-financed roadway, receiving no local, state, or federal funds for financing, construction, operations, or maintenance. A political sub-division of the state, the tollway is governed by the E-470 Public Highway Authority Board composed of eight local governments including Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, and the municipalities of Aurora, Brighton, Commerce City, Parker, and Thornton. Additionally, E-470 operates ExpressToll, the all-electronic toll collection system