[beta] TRN Weekly Review: Week of October 7-13, 2018

Gordie Howe Bridge Construction Gets Underway

MLive.com reported, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder “kicked off construction of the $4.4 billion Gordie Howe International Bridge on October 5th in Windsor, Ontario.  The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority. . . announced a new targeted completion by 2024. But Trudeau said Canadian officials are discussing with the governor ‘possibilities of actually accelerating the timelines for this bridge.’”

Chinese Firm Is Behind Unsolicited Bid to Build New Zealand Tollway

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) reported that China Tiesiju Civil Engineering lodged an unsolicited bid with the New Zealand government to finance and build the $258.56 million Penlink Toll Road near Auckland. According to an earlier RNZ article, the Chinese firm proposes to form a joint venture with a New Zealand construction company, but it would “own the road and take revenue from a toll before transferring ownership to the Government.”


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Uber Announced Plans to Lobby for Seattle Congestion Pricing

The Seattle Times reported, “Uber says it plans to spend money lobbying for congestion pricing in Seattle as part of a $10 million push for ‘sustainable mobility’ policies in various cities. [Uber and Lyft] have previously expressed support for the idea of tolling downtown streets in Seattle, where Mayor Jenny Durkan’s administration is working to develop a proposal.”

New Chicago Regional Plan Foresees More Tolling and a VMT Fee

Daily Herald reported that tolls and transportation infrastructure improvements feature prominently in the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning’s new decennial regional plan, ON TO 2050, approved and released on Wednesday. The article notes that CMAP favors replacing the gas tax with a vehicle-miles-travelled fee, and it supports the expansion of tolling to fund the rebuilding of Chicago’s expressway system. CMAP lists a project to widen and improve the Eisenhower Expressway as a priority but predicts “the road would have to be tolled to pay for the construction.” Chicago Tribune also reported on the new CMAP plan.

Public Bid Process Not Required for Genoa Bridge Replacement

ANSA reported that the head of Italy’s antitrust authority told a legislative committee on October 8 that the government is justified in awarding a contract to replace the collapsed Morandi Bridge without a public offer. He also said the government may exclude Autostrade per l’Italia, current A24 tollway concessionaire, from the project.

South Florida Motorists Now Spend about $500 Million a Year on Tolls

Miami Herald reported, it’s not surprising that tolls “turned up as a hot topic” when the newspaper asked readers to submit questions about the cost of living in South Florida, since “drivers in Miami-Dade and Broward spent more than a half billion dollars in tolls fees in the last year.” The newspaper took a deep dive into the economics of tolling in the region, looking at costs and the expenditure of revenue, among other topics.

UK Released Latest Plans for Multi-Billion-Pound River Thames Toll Crossing

BBC News reported, Highways England released its latest plans for a highway and tunnel link under the River Thames. “It is claimed the scheme, for which motorists will be charged, will be the largest road upgrade project since the building of the M25,” the highway loop around London. The Guardian reported that the proposed US$7.9 billion “Lower Thames Crossing,” a three-lane dual highway, will “almost double road capacity across the river” on its scheduled opening in 2027.


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Illinois County Approved Bond Sale for Toll Bridge Construction

The Courier-News reported, “A bridge over the Fox River in northern Kane County [Illinois] has been discussed for decades but [on October 9th] the money to pay for [it] was finally approved.” By a vote of 23 to 1, Kane County Board authorized the sale of $29 million in bonds for the Longmeadow Parkway Corridor toll bridge. The article added that  construction is slated to begin next spring.

Passport Acquired NuPark, Developer of License Plate Reader Technology

“Government Technology” reported, “Passport, a startup that makes software to manage payments. . . of parking, transit and tolling, has acquired the license plate reading company NuPark. NuPark is focused on parking specifically, with an emphasis on technology that allows cameras to read license plates, generating data as well as citations for violations.”

NYC May Get Congestion Pricing, but It Won’t Be a Fiscal Panacea

The New York Times reported, “The idea of charging drivers to enter Manhattan’s busiest neighborhoods has been debated for decades, but it could finally have a real shot in Albany next year. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently called the idea, known as congestion pricing, ‘the only realistic option’ to pay for a major overhaul of the aging subway. Congestion pricing died in Albany earlier this year, but it could take center stage during the next legislative session.”


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Former USDOT Secretary Foxx Joined Lyft as Chief Policy Officer

The Charlotte Observer reported, Anthony Foxx, the former USDOT secretary and Charlotte, NC, mayor, is the new chief policy officer at ride-sharing company Lyft. Foxx will also be a senior adviser to Lyft’s president and CEO.  In a Lyft company blog post announcing his appointment, Foxx explains why he took the newly created job.

Major Firms Reported to Be Considering Bids for India Toll Road Concessions

Livemint, relying on unnamed sources, reported that Macquarie Group, Brookfield Asset Management, and Atlantia may bid on highway toll-operate-transfer rights that the National Highways Authority of India is putting up for auction. The companies are said to be conducting due diligence on the assets, which include “eight stretches of operational toll roads” totaling 364.5 miles in length.

Poll Showed Narrow Voter Opposition to Metro DC Express Lanes Plan

The Washington Post reported, “Maryland voters narrowly oppose adding express toll lanes to widen three of the state’s most congested highways” — the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway — according to results of a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. The survey shows even suburban DC voters oppose Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s $9 billion construction proposal, which is designed primarily for their benefit.

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