Trans-Israel Highway, a runaway success
The Trans-Israel Highway company, which runs the country's only private toll road, makes NIS 150,000 a day.
The Trans-Israel Highway company, which runs the country's only private toll road, makes NIS 150,000 a day, according to the financial statement released yesterday by Derech Eretz, the concessionaire of the project.
The highway reported revenues of NIS 129.4 million in the first quarter of the year and a net profit of NIS 13.5 million. This compares to net profits of NIS 57 million for the year 2004, on revenues of NIS 342.7 million.
Some 75,000 drivers use the Trans-Israel Highway, or Road 6, each day. Every month some 40,000 drivers use the road for the first time, and since its inception in January 2003, the highway has tolled more than 1.1 million drivers.
Three quarters of the travelers are registered users, a rate the Trans-Israel Highway did not expect to reach for another 10 years.
According to Derech Eretz internal documents, the company is outperforming last year, which was the first full year the total central stretch of the highway was in operation. This strip runs 86 kilometers from the Iron intersection in the north to the Sorek intersection in the south.
The highway is expected to do so well this year that the agreement with the state is likely to kick back in the opposite direction. The concessionaire had signed a settlement with the government ensuring that if the traffic numbers fell below a set target, the state would compensate the company 72 percent of the income it would have made from the "missing" traffic. This was the case last year, when the government compensated the company some NIS 18 million. However, if the toll road exceeds its target this year, Derech Eretz will pay the state 57 percent of the "surplus."