After four months, you’re probably used to our report-outs on I-405 express toll lanes performance, trends, challenges and adjustments. Today, we want to introduce a new and important category to the reporting mix – finance.
We publish financial statements every three months to help you understand exactly where your toll dollar goes. We do this to show how we are being accountable with toll-payers dollars and transparent about revenue and the cost to collect tolls.
And because not everyone is an accountant, here’s a quick guide to understanding the terms in the financial statement:
Now that you understand the statement, there’s bound to be questions. Here are a few initial questions and answers that come to mind – and feel free to please post/Tweet your additional questions to us anytime:
Q: What am I looking at?
A: This shows you all of the revenue earned, then takes the gross revenue earned and deducts all of the costs to collect a toll, and then you end up with what net revenue remains.
Q: What is this telling me?
A: Revenue from express toll lanes is saved in a dedicated account in the state treasury just for use on I-405. This statement shows that after the first three months of express toll lanes there is $4.7 million in that account.
Q: What makes up the $4.7 million?
A: We’ll try to summarize in a nutshell:
- Drivers made 2.75 million paid trips in the express toll lanes, which generated $3.7 million in toll revenue. After including other revenues, which mostly include Good To Go! pass sales, revenue equals $5.2 million.
- After deducting $2.5 million for expenses for customer service, credit card processing fees, costs for Good To Go! passes, Pay By Mail printing and postage, WSDOT and consultant salaries, that leaves $2.7 million.
- Lastly, then you add in $2 million which was already in the I-405 fund through a loan from the gas tax intended to cover operating costs prior to the opening of express toll lanes and cover the costs of Good To Go! passes allocated to I-405, that leaves you with $4.7 million.
A: I-405 express toll lanes revenue is saved in a dedicated account for future reinvestment in the I-405 corridor, monitored by the Office of Financial Management.
Q: What projects will the revenue fund?
A: The Legislature will decide what corridor projects need the revenue.
Q: Did 70 percent of I-405 toll collections go to that vendor in Texas?
A: No. This vendor is only paid to do the work they are contracted to do and not based on how much toll revenue is generated.
Q: Will future financial statements reflect similar results?
A: No. We anticipate operating costs will be higher as the system moves beyond the ramp-up period and operations steady. We will have stronger data on operations spending and revenue after the end of the fiscal year (around October).
Q: What does this all mean?
A: Drivers are showing us their time is valuable. Our original forecasts projected 1 million tolled trips in the first three months, when there were actually 2.75 million paid trips in the express toll lanes. Since the number of trips was almost three times higher, the amount of toll revenue was also higher, $3.7 million, vs. the projected $1 million.