The Toronto Star, Feb. 24, 2003. FROM CANADIAN PRESS
decries 2002 revenue increase for 407 toll-highway operator
A 27.4 per cent rise in revenues reported today by the operator of Highway
407 is further proof that the Conservative government's decision to
sell the toll road has been a costly one for taxpayers, Opposition Liberals
has turned into a goldmine for the owners and a bottomless pit for the
users," said Liberal finance critic Gerry Phillips.
is the most lucrative toll road in the world."
407 International Inc. reported revenues of $311 million in 2002, with
an operating profit of $207.5 million.
highway's sale was announced almost four years ago, it was seen as a
coup for the government, which doubled its original investment of more
than $1.5 billion.
however, said the sale was a quick cash grab to fulfil campaign promises.
expressed concerns about rising toll costs.
As of Feb.
1, tolls went up 1.45 cents a kilometre in rush hour, the fifth increase
in 40 months. Toll rates can be raised as long as traffic levels continue
reason why they love this toll road is it's the only one in the world
where the tolls can go up without restrictions," said Phillips.
other privately owned toll road has some restriction on it. This one
has virtually no restrictions."
But a spokesman
for Transportation Minister Norm Sterling said the sale of 407 has resulted
in improvements to the highway.
deal) put the 407 ETR company on the hook for expanding the highway,"
said Bill Parish.
responsible for any future widening that's required."
of the 108-kilometre east-west highway - co-owned by Spanish construction
company Grupo Ferrovial (67 per cent), engineering group SNC-Lavalin
(TSX:SNC) of Montreal (17 per cent) and Macquarie Infrastructure Group
of Australia (16 per cent) - said today it had a fourth-quarter net
loss of $33.6 million on revenue of $80.8 million.
with a loss of $35 million on $72.6 million in the final quarter of
for depreciation, amortization, financing costs and taxes, the consortium
booked a net loss of $99.1 million, compared with a loss of $96.5 million
actually pleased with the net loss, it is actually within our expectations,"
said Dale Albers, a spokesman for the toll route.
93.2 million individual trips on the highway last year, up 8.2 per cent
from 2002, with the total number of vehicle kilometres travelled up
12.8 per cent at 1.8 billion.