Saturday, July 22, 2006

Now About Your Expenses...

The international investor consortium that leases Chicago's Skyway toll road reports increased useage and revenues:

The Chicago Skyway looks to be doing well from its transition to investor ownership with revenues up one third in a year. First quarter 2006 data released by Macquarie, the Australian partner in Skyway Concession Company show toll revenues running at an annual rate of $52m v. $38.5m first quarter 2006 v Q1-2005, a 35% rise.

Toll increases helped but traffic was also up strongly. ....

The increase in traffic accompanying a strong toll rate increase on a mature toll facility is extraordinary. It suggests motorists appreciate aggressive efforts by the new management to reduce delays at the toll plaza. This includes satellite toll lanes and introduction of transponder tolling 17th June 2005.

....Costs of operation are not being reported as yet but must be down substantially. Maintenance and operations are conducted by a team of non-union all-rounders who can be deployed in whatever activity is most urgent whereas under the city everything was unionized and demarkated between different departments. Toll collectors were paid over $20/hour by the City versus $12/hr now.

Interest expense on the $ 1.8 billion up front lease payment being well over $100 million dollars (we would surmise) they'll need every economy they can find to make this a wise investment.

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