Daily News Brief, July 11, 2016

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Missouri DOT Director Keeps Alive the Possibility of Tolling I-70

St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Leah Thorsen reports that MoDOT’s chief executive, Patrick McKenna, hopes the federal government will grant an extension of the state’s nearly-expired provisional authorization to toll I-70 between Wentzville and Independence. McKenna has consistently mentioned tolling as one method of closing the state’s highway funding gap since he assumed office in late 2015.



Austin's First Foray into Variable Tolling Could Start Next Month

Austin American-Statesman transportation writer Ben Wear takes a deep look at a segment of North MoPac toll lanes that may partially open in August, giving CTRMA and Austin motorists their first experience of algorithmically-guided, variable tolling. CTRMA Executive Director Mike Heiligenstein concedes that despite extensive agency prep, “It’s still a crapshoot on how many people are going to want to get into that lane, and what are the behavior characteristics of Austinites.” Wear adds, “[W]hat happens with North MoPac will weigh heavily as the area ponders other toll lane projects. . . .”



United Bridge Partners' Causeway Proposal Goes to Caltrans for Review

Napa Valley Register reports that the regional State Route 37 Policy Committee voted on July 7 to send an unsolicited United Bridge Partners proposal to Caltrans for review and comment. The joint venture has offered to finance, build and toll a two-lane causeway to expand a congested segment of Highway 37. The proposal is also a response to the threat presented to the highway from rising water levels in adjacent marshland.