[beta] TRN Weekly Review: Week of June 23-29, 2019

FDOT Released Plans for Toll Roads Expansion Project

The Gainesville Sun reported that the Florida Department of Transportation “released a presentation online detailing the latest plan for the Multi-Use Corridors of Regional Significance Program (M-CORES),” the proposed toll roads expansion set in motion last month.

The FDOT Procurement Office (scroll down to contract number 20909) posted a plan to advertise for the services of owner’s representatives for the M-CORES project, consultants who will “collaboratively work with citizens, statewide and regional stakeholders to research the viability of developing three new infrastructure corridors within the state.” Additional information can be found at an M-CORES Procurement FAQ page.

Wisconsin House Passed Budget Bill Requiring Study of RUC and Tolling

Wisconsin State Journal reported that the Wisconsin State Assembly passed a two-year state budget bill last Tuesday that requires legislative study of the implementation of a mileage-based user fee. As a result of late changes, the bill states that any plan devised by the study committee would need the approval of the full legislature and the governor, and the committee also has a charge to study tolling broadly. (See tomorrow’s Daily News Briefs for an update on the bill.)

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TCA Board Approves FY2020 Capital Improvement Plan

The Transportation Corridor Agencies boards last week unanimously approved a Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Improvement Plan for Orange County, California’s, 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. According to a news release, TCA will provide funding for over $140 million in local partnership projects that are under construction, update signs throughout the system, continue the 241/91 Express Connector and South Orange County Traffic Relief Effort, and conduct two studies of proposed interchanges.

NCDOT’s New Monroe Expressway Called “a Hit with Drivers”

The Charlotte Observer reported on the benefits of using North Carolina’s newest toll road. “For decades, a trip to the beach from Charlotte started and ended with the fitful traffic congestion of U.S. 74. . . . This summer there’s a new way to beaches near Wilmington: an 18-mile toll road, the Monroe Expressway, that opened last November. It shaves 20 minutes off the other route . . . for the price of a couple of Big Gulps.” The newspaper called the once-controversial, new facility “a hit with drivers.”

$146 Million Allocated for MA Turnpike/I-495 Interchange Improvement

The MetroWest Daily News reported, “The state Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority boards signed off last week on a five-year, $18.3 billion Capital Investment Program to fund numerous transportation initiatives across the state, including $146 million of the estimated $300 million Interstate 495-Mass Pike interchange project,” which is now in design.

Progress of RCTC’s I-15 Express Lanes Construction Noted

The Press-Enterprise reported, “[T]here is a flurry of activity along the 15-mile corridor [of I-15] where the Riverside County Transportation Commission is building four express lanes — two in each direction — from Cajalco Road in Corona north to the 60 Freeway. Launched in April 2018, the express-lanes project is on schedule and expected to open in the second half of 2020, said John Standiford, deputy executive director for the road-building agency.”

These are a handful of the issues we reported on last week. Sample Daily News Briefs, our weekday morning news alert. A 14-day trial is free.

Long Island Officials Urged Cuomo to Stop Proposed PANYNJ Toll and Fare Hikes

SILive.com reported, “A number of local politicians [and at least one commentator] are calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to wield is influence over the Port Authority to kill proposed toll hikes that they feel disproportionately target Staten Island residents. Upon release of the proposal, a handful of elected officials objected to the proposed toll increase and restructuring of the Staten Island Bridges Plan, penning joint letters to Gov. Cuomo.”

NY Thruway Began Series of Face-to-Face Customer Assistance Sessions

WIVB reported, New York Thruway Authority staff scheduled a series of cashless-toll-payer assistance sessions to begin on Thursday, June 27 at the Western New York Welcome Center in Grand Island. Sessions will be held every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon through the summer to give customers an opportunity “to receive personalized assistance on cashless tolling bills, violations, E-ZPass, tolls by mail accounts, and more,” according to the authority.

Self-Driving Truck Test Called a “Landmark” in AV Development

Automotive News reported, “No human safety driver behind the wheel. No human backup waiting in the sleeper berth. No closed roads or constraints on regular traffic. This was the real deal. On the morning of June 16, a self-driving truck operated by Starsky Robotics cruised along the Florida Turnpike at 55 mph without a human aboard, a milestone in efforts to usher in an autonomous era of transportation.” (Link inserted.)

Kapsch Selected to Provide Infrastructure for Columbus, Ohio, CV Environment

Kapsch TrafficCom announced it was selected by the city of Columbus, Ohio, to oversee the infrastructure integration of the city’s Smart Columbus Connected Vehicle Environment (CVE). The CVE is expected to enhance safety and mobility for vehicle operators and improve pedestrian safety in school zones by deploying connected vehicle (CV) infrastructure on the roadside and CV equipment in vehicles.

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CFX Updated Public on Studies for New, $346 Million Toll Road

Spectrum News 13 reported, the Central Florida Expressway Authority gave a public presentation Thursday night on its proposed $346 million Lake/Orange County Connector. “The plan is to build a toll road that connects State Road 429 with U.S. 27, just south of Clermont.” The article added that CFX expects to complete its project environmental and engineering study this summer.

MDX Board Predicted Temporary Chaos If Dissolution Bill Becomes Law

The Bond Buyer reported, “Chaos could lie ahead for management of south Florida’s toll roads, Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority board members said this week at what may have been their final meeting. The board said Tuesday [June 25] that a bill passed earlier this year to dissolve and replace the Miami-Dade County Expressway Authority doesn’t include a plan for the transition-of-power [to the nascent Greater Miami Expressway Agency, GMX].” According to the article, “If House Bill 385 is signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the measure could result in the lack of an operations plan for at least a month — from the time the current governing board is dismissed and a new board is appointed.”

PEI Premier Said He’ll Discuss Confederation Bridge Toll Relief with PM Trudeau

CBC News reported, Prince Edward Island Premier Dennis King told reporters “he plans to discuss [the cost of Confederation Bridge tolls] with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he meets with him early next month. King said bridge tolls, which he said are like ‘tariffs’ for Islanders, were an issue he heard about frequently during the provincial election campaign in April. ‘It’s surprising the number of people who raised this as their first concern,’ he said.”

CT Governor Said He’ll Modify State Borrowing Unless He Gets a Tolls Bill

The Connecticut Mirror reported, “Gov. Ned Lamont threatened Wednesday to clamp down on state borrowing if legislators can’t agree in special session this summer on a plan to toll Connecticut’s major highways. The governor, who made his comments during and after the State Bond Commission meeting, also said he’d consider shifting more borrowing capacity away from non-transportation initiatives to support Connecticut’s highways, bridges and rail lines.”

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