Daily News Brief, August 22, 2016

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Mass Pike AET System Can Send Instant Law Enforcement Alerts, Raising "Government Surveillance" Concerns

The Boston Globe reports, “The state’s new all-electronic tolling (AET) system will include a ‘hot list’ feature capable of sending law enforcement officials instant alerts when cars with specified license plates or transponders pass under toll gantries.” The state says the technology “will be used only to track vehicles in public safety emergencies,” but the ACLU and others have raised concerns about “the prospect of government surveillance.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Turnpike


Primer on the MassDOT AET System's Data Storage and Privacy Answers Only Some Outstanding Questions

The Boston Globe, conveniently enough, provides a Q&A on AET and privacy, reporting that, “concerns have also been raised about the volume of data the technology collects as drivers pass through toll zones, and about how that data is being stored and used.”

MassLive.com reports that the public and state legislators want to know more about the new AET system, noting that, “Some details, like the system’s October go-live date, have been known for months; others, like system’s ability to track drivers’ speeds, were disclosed in the last several weeks; and more, like the fees at each gantry, are still unknown.”

WCVB News reports that MassDOT will provide some answers today, including details of its plan for demolishing tollbooths.

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Turnpike


Oklahoma Pike Sued Over Expansion Projects, Bond Financing the Focus

The Oklahoman reports, “A lawsuit filed with the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Friday [August 19] contends the way the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority has been funding road projects is unconstitutional. That funding relies on bond financing.”  The report adds that, “The lawsuit comes as the authority prepares to seek permission Thursday [August 25] to issue nearly a half-billion dollars in bonds to fund new construction. The authority plans a major expansion and improvement project, including an eastern Oklahoma County toll road between Interstate 40 and the Turner Turnpike.”

Issues of Law Oklahoma Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA)


Oklahoma Pike to Consider Toll Hike Close to 16%

Tulsa World reports, “The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will consider a toll increase to finance the construction of $892 million in proposed improvements to the state turnpike system” at the authority board’s August 23 board meeting. The report adds that OTA’s most recent toll increase (16 percent) occurred in 2009, and, in October 2015, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley estimated that a similar increase might be necessary to finance the planned construction projects.

Oklahoma Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) Toll Rate Changes


SRTA's I-85 HOT-Express Lanes Could Set New Toll Record

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that a new toll record could be set today on I-85 HOT-Express Lanes, noting that, “Today marks the new increase in tolls set by the State Road and Tollway Authority for the busiest stretches of I-85 in Gwinnett County. Why the increase? The Express Lanes are becoming too popular.” The previous record is $12 for those keeping score at home.

Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority (GA)


Ohio Turnpike Will Begin Testing Self-Driving Cars Within a Year

The Blade (Toledo), and other sources including the international media, report that within a year, the Ohio Turnpike will begin testing “automated cars and trucks.” The vehicles will have “someone in the driver’s seat whose role is primarily to make sure the vehicle’s guidance system is working properly,” according to the newspaper. The report adds, “Turnpike Executive Director Randy Cole declined to discuss who in the automotive industry or elsewhere in the private sector will participate, saying that element is still being worked out.”

Ohio Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Self-Driving Vehicles


Uber to Roll Out Self-Driving Cars This Month in Pittsburgh

Bloomberg reports, “Starting later this month, Uber will allow customers in downtown Pittsburgh to summon self-driving cars from their phones, crossing an important milestone that no automotive or technology company has yet achieved.”

Pennsylvania Self-Driving Vehicles


PA Pike Broadband P3 Draws Attention

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, “The [Pennsylvania Turnpike] commission is in the early stages of creating a public-private partnership that will result in a private company installing a broadband system along the 550-mile turnpike at no cost to the agency. In exchange, the private operator would be able to lease excess space on the system to other private companies with communications needs and split a share of the profits with the commission.”

P3 & Privatization Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


TxDOT to Roll Out Plans for "North 16 Project"

KXAN News reports, “The Texas Department of Transportation wants to add a toll lane in each direction along I-35 between U.S. 183 and R.M. 1431 in Round Rock, with hopes of easing traffic congestion on Interstate 35.” The report adds, “They’re calling it the North16 Project, and they’re discussing it with community members Monday, August 22.”

Texas Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


IL County Officials Advance I-90, Route 23 Interchange Project

Northwest Herald (Crystal Lake, IL) reports that the McHenry County Transportation Committee has “recommended approval of agreements regarding who will pay for what regarding the proposed full interchange at Interstate 90 and Route 23 south of Marengo.” The report adds, “Under the recommended agreements, the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority will pay for rebuilding Route 23 and widening it to accommodate additional traffic. The authority will shoulder half the cost for the ramps in the second phase, with the county and the Illinois Department of Transportation splitting the difference.” The county board is expected to take a final vote on the agreements on September 6.

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


IL Tollway Awards Contract for Construction Management

Naperville Sun reports, “The Illinois State Toll Highway Authority board awarded a $4 million contract to Naperville-based ESI Consultants for construction management services. Plans include the reconstruction of the Marengo maintenance site on Interstate 90 and repairs at the tollway’s maintenance facilities.”

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Brent Spence Bridge Op-Ed Causes Controversy

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports, “An anti-toll group [Northern Kentucky United] has issued a letter condemning an editorial a local transportation official wrote about the Brent Spence Bridge – and they want the writer investigated.”  Northern Kentucky United delivered a letter [last week] to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments denouncing an editorial OKI CEO Mark Policinski wrote in the Enquirer Aug. 8.” The letter was signed by “11 Northern Kentucky leaders, many active in the tea party movement . . . who said it’s inappropriate for the head of a quasi-government organization like OKI to make political statements.”

Kentucky Ohio


Port Mann, Golden Ears Bridges Rack Up Losses

CTV News Vancouver reports, “Public toll bridge operators in the Lower Mainland would have to win the lottery six times in a year to make up for multi-million dollar losses that may have taxpayers on the hook. The Port Mann Bridge and the Golden Ears Bridge together lost more than $127 million last year, as drivers continued to avoid the tolls by taking free routes instead.” A public watchdog tells the site, “The proposed 10-lane toll bridge to replace the George Massey Tunnel could also break the bank.”

Delta Optimist reports that the first public open house (August 17) on the Massey Tunnel replacement project drew a large crowd of mostly supportive BC residents.



PANYNJ Police Nab Two Alleged Scofflaws

NJ.com reports, “Two alleged toll scofflaws were arrested in separate incidents as they tried to cross area bridges without paying the fees, authorities said Friday [August 19].” The report adds that the total owed is roughly $26,000.

Crime Beat PANYNJ Scofflaws