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Transportation Agency Retains Toll Operator

October 25, 2005|David Reyes | Times Staff Writer

The Orange County Transportation Authority chose experience over cost Monday when it voted 13 to 2 to keep for five more years the current operator of the county's most successful toll road.

The 91 Express Lanes run in the median of the Riverside Freeway between Anaheim and Corona, in Riverside County.

Directors agreed with a staff recommendation to keep Cofiroute USA of Irvine, which has operated the lanes since the toll road opened in 1995.

They chose the firm over VESystems of Irvine, which offered to do the job for $700,000 less per year.

The authority's directors said Cofiroute's $30-million estimate wasn't the primary factor and noted that the challenger had not fully answered board members' questions regarding its liability insurance.

In addition, the directors expressed concern over switching operators at a time when the transit agency is gearing up to ask voters to renew Measure M -- the half-cent-on-the-dollar Orange County sales tax.

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