Toll Changes Coming To 125

LA MESA -- It is about to get a lot cheaper to travel the 125 tollway.

Tolls for the pay section of State Road 125 will decrease by up to 40 percent in some cases along the roadway that many have considered woefully overpriced since it opened.

Effective Saturday, June 30, the San Diego Association of Governments will cut the tolls along the road it recently purchased.

Savings for customers enrolled in the FasTrak electronic tolling system will be especially dramatic. New tolls will range from 50 cents to $2.75 for FasTrak users and from $2 to $3.50 for cash and credit card users. Current tolls are 85 cents to $3.85 for FasTrak users and $2.50 to $4 for cash and credit card users.

“We are following through with our promise to taxpayers to lower tolls on South Bay Expressway,” SANDAG Chairman and Encinitas Mayor Jerome Stocks said. “We are optimistic that lower tolls will draw traffic away from nearby congested arterial streets and Interstate 805, improving overall mobility in South Bay.”

The revamped toll structure was approved by the SANDAG Board of Directors on May 25, 2012. SANDAG acquired the lease to operate the toll road in December 2011.

As a public agency whose mission is to improve mobility in the region, SANDAG’s business approach is different from that of the previous toll road operator. The new toll schedule balances toll reductions against generating enough revenue to pay for operations and maintenance, debt service, future improvements, and contingencies.

What is still not known is what effect cheaper toll prices along the 125 will mean for La Mesa. Since that road was opened, morning and evening rush hours have worsened at the 125/I-8 Interchange as more motorists have used the route to travel from Eastlake to Mission Valley along I-8 and on to the Golden Triangle via the newly expanded 52.

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Tags: La Mesa Today, La Mesa news, La Mesa traffic, SANDAG, South Bay Expressway, toll roads

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HousingWire

In Southern California, New Homes are Rare and Costly

Source: LA Times

New home prices have soared in recent months in the Southern California region, with the median for the six-county region peaking at $538,000 in June, according to CoreLogic DataQuick. And in affluent ZIP Codes, builders are bidding up already-high land values. Overall, new homes have become all too rare and costly for the average buyer. Making sense of the story:

- A surge in higher-end projects has pushed new home prices above their pre-recession peaks, even as prices for existing homes remain one-fifth below their bubble-era highs. - In Orange County, the median new home price has topped $800,000. - Builders have piled in to pricey ZIP Codes — bidding up land costs there in the process— and polished their projects to a high gloss to woo wealthy buyers with cash or good credit.

- Projects aimed at the middle of the market remain scarce, and overall home building is off about 60 percent from a decade ago. The shortage of new lower-priced product is one factor making Southern California among the toughest housing markets in the country for middle-income families.

- While new homes have almost always sold at a premium, that premium has hit new highs this year. In January, the gap between median-priced new and resale homes in Southern California peaked at $151,000, a 41 percent premium for a new house.

- Several factors contribute to the widening price gap between new and resale homes, housing economists say. For example, competing bids drove up the cost of land in prime areas in 2012 and 2013, which means higher prices today.

- Some builders have made a conscious decision to move upmarket because they see more profit and upside in catering to wealthier consumers. KB Home is among the builders moving upmarket. The Los Angeles builder, long a specialist in entry-level homes, has shifted to more affluent, "land-constrained" neighborhoods.

Read the full story:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-new-home-prices-20141014-story.html#page=1 _________________________

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