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Toll Rates for US 36 Express Lanes set in advance of summer opening

May 20, 2015 - Metro Denver Colorado/CDOT Region 1 - CDOT’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise Approves Toll Rates for Phase 1 of Project; Encourages Drivers to Get a Pass

DENVER -- The High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE) today approved the toll rate schedule for Phase 1 of the US 36 Express Lanes Project between Federal Boulevard to 88th Street in Louisville/Superior. The rates will go into effect this summer upon the commencement of tolling services, which will be managed and operated by CDOT’s partner on US 36, Plenary Roads Denver.

“We look forward to the completion of the first phase of US 36 Express Lanes Project this summer and providing travelers in this corridor with a greater number of mobility choices,” said Tim Gagen, Chair of the HPTE Board of Directors. “The approved toll rates are priced to ensure reliable travel times for drivers and RTD and to manage congestion in the Express Lanes. We encourage all driver to set up an ExpressToll account and get a pass to save money on tolls or to use the free carpool option.”

At $0.45 per mile at peak morning hours, US 36 Express Lanes’ toll rates are average among other toll roads and tolled express lanes nationally, and stand lower than rates in states such as California ($1.40 per mile), Florida ($0.75 per mile) and Virginia ($1.25 per mile).

The HPTE Board’s approval of the toll rates follows public outreach conducted in April in communities along the US 36 corridor, which was highlighted by an April 16 telephone town hall with more than 5,000 participants, and a town hall meeting on April 24 at the 1STBANK Center in Broomfield attended by 24 area residents. At both events, representatives from HPTE, CDOT and Plenary Roads Denver provided information on how to use the US 36 Express Lanes, answered questions, and took public comment on the proposed toll rates. Information from these events and responses to public comments and questions are available at www.coloradoHPTE.com.

Public outreach on the proposed toll rates continues CDOT and HPTE’s expanded transparency and public participation efforts. Additionally, CDOT has a public education campaign using grassroots, earned and paid media outreach to communicate the variety of ways to use the Express Lanes including information on the tolls for the corridors. Over the next year, Express Lanes will open on I-70 West in the mountains between Empire and Idaho Springs; North I-25 to 120th Avenue; and Phase 2 of the US 36 Express Lanes from 88th Street in Louisville/Superior to Table Mesa/Foothills Parkway in Boulder. 

The Express Lanes on US 36 are currently open for the public to use during a testing phase of the tolling equipment. The Express Lanes will begin tolling in July and will be an option for drivers to use either by paying a toll, using for free as a carpooler or as a rider on RTD’s Bus Rapid Transit. The two free general purpose lanes in each direction are also always available for drivers. Toll prices vary by different times of day to manage congestion and ensure a reliable travel time in the Express Lanes.

For example, when Phase 1 opens, eastbound solo drivers with an ExpressToll pass traveling from 88th Street to downtown Denver will be charged $7.60 during the weekday morning peak time of 7:15– 8:15 a.m. The toll rates for the same trip drop to $1.25 in off-peak weekday hours between 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. and all day on weekends. The toll rates are available online at www.coloradoHPTE.com. When tolling begins, electronic message signs on US 36 will clearly display the current toll price prior to Express Lane entrance points, so motorists will know toll prices in real-time.

CDOT encourages all drivers to get a pass. Motorists with an ExpressToll account and pass will be charged automatically for the toll or be free as a carpooler, using the switchable transponder pass. Motorists choosing to travel without a pass, using License Plate Tolling, will pay the toll plus fees. The fees and increased cost reflects the added cost of tracking and looking up vehicle license plate numbers, and collecting the toll by sending a bill. Get a pass by creating an ExpressToll account at www.ExpressToll.com, or call the ExpressToll service center at (303) 537-3470.

The improvements to US 36 will be operated and maintained through a public-private partnership with Plenary Roads Denver, who currently operates the reversible lane portions of Interstate 25 Express Lanes from downtown Denver, as well as Phase I of US 36. Plenary Roads Denver will also operate and maintain the US 36 Phase 2 Express Lanes upon completion in early 2016.

About Express Lanes: Express Lanes increase roadway capacity and help to manage congestion on the highways. The use of toll pricing during peak travel times reduces delays, manages congestion and maintains reliable travel times. Express Lanes currently span seven miles on I-25, between downtown Denver and US 36. For more information, visit expresslanes.codot.gov.

About the High Performance Transportation Enterprise (HPTE): The HPTE operates as a government-owned, independent business within CDOT. It searches out innovative ways to finance projects to help Colorado fulfill its commitment to increase travel choices through options that include Express Lanes, transit, biking, walking and carpooling. For more information, visit www.coloradohpte.com.

About Plenary Roads Denver: Plenary Roads Denver (PRD) is a Denver-based consortium of industry leading firms established to efficiently deliver improvements to the US 36 corridor. By creating a team of experts from each part of the infrastructure industry, PRD is able to ensure an integrated roadway, bus rapid transit system, and bikeway that serve the needs of all residents. PRD ‘s team consists of Ames Construction, Granite Construction, HDR and Transfield Services, and is led by Plenary Group, an investor, developer and operator of public infrastructure projects in the United States, Canada, and Australia. Plenary Group’s U.S. headquarters is located in Los Angeles, California, with additional offices in Denver, Colorado.

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