Daily News Brief, July 14, 2016

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Orlando MPO Balks at FDOT's Express Toll Lanes Plan for SR 417, Wants More Study

Orlando Sentinel reports, “The brakes were put on the state’s toll-within-a-toll road plans in Seminole County, with the region’s transportation planning board [MetroPlan Orlando] voting Wednesday [July 13] to look closer at state policy regarding the double-tax road design. The vote, while only a postponement . . . is one of the first major acts by public officials to buck a road-tolling method set to explode in Central Florida in the next decade.” FDOT did not comment on the board’s action before press time.



Getting to the Nitty-Gritty on IL Toll Bridge P3 Proposal

The Herald-News (Joliet) reports that CenterPoint Properties continues to study the feasibility of the P3 toll bridge proposal outlined earlier this week by Illinois’ Governor Rauner. Several important issues (including toll rates) remain under consideration. Even so, two environmental groups, Openlands and the Sierra Club, have given conditional support to the “Houbolt Road Bridge” proposal, which they hope will put an end to any further consideration of the gone-but-not-forgotten Illiana Corridor project.

WJOL-AM News reports that Joliet’s mayor wants to know if the city will receive a share of toll revenue. The city’s take, if any, will determine the degree of its commitment to providing snow removal, policing and other services.

The Bond Buyer catches up on news of the bridge deal.

Illinois P3 & Privatization


A Look at PA Pike Toll Cheats, Tougher Enforcement Legislation

WNEP-TV News (Scranton) reports that the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission “lost about $43 million to toll cheats this year, mostly from drivers traveling right through the E-ZPass lane.” The report adds that commission spokesman Carl Defebo “points out habitual toll cheats are to blame for the biggest offenses — some racking up tens of thousands of dollars in violations.” Pending legislation would allow PennDOT to suspend a vehicle’s registration if the owner has six or more toll violations, or incurs unpaid tolls and fees totaling $500 or more.



Caltrans to Start Work on $79 Million, I-80 SMART Corridor

The Mercury News (San Jose) reports, “In hopes of easing the Bay Area’s most jammed freeway, Caltrans will begin unveiling its Interstate 80 ‘smart highway’ project within a few days, phasing in 20 miles’ worth of electronic improvements from the Carquinez Bridge to the Bay Bridge.” At a price of $79 million, Caltrans’ I-80 SMART Corridor Project will create the state’s most sophisticated ITS system.



MTC Kickstarts Highway 101 Silicon Valley Express Lanes Plan

San Francisco Chronicle reports that “a shuffling of federal funds, once committed to a series of projects that are languishing, promises to speed the 101 commute by adding express lanes — carpool lanes that single drivers can also use for a price — through San Mateo County to the San Francisco city line. Caltrans still needs to approve the idea.”



Donations Enable Cameron County RMA to Reward Eligible Vets

KVEO-TV News (Brownsville) provides a brief update on the Cameron County Regional Mobility Authority’s “United for Veterans” program, which reimburses SH 550 tolls paid by eligible Texas military veterans. The program depends on local cash donations.



TransCore and DelDOT Receive Customer Call Center Recognition

TransCore and Delaware’s DOT have received the “2016 Call Center Award of Distinction” from the Association of TeleServices International. The association recognized the DelDOT E-ZPass Customer Service Center and the Division of Motor Vehicles Call Center for setting “new standards in the call center industry” and representing “the Best of the Best.”

Delaware Industry Awards & Recognitions


Crash Causes Power Outage, Halts ITR Credit Card Transactions

Associated Press reports that a July 13 Elkhart County crash caused a power outage that temporarily prevented the Indiana Toll Road from accepting credit card toll payments. ITR employees will bill motorists who did not have cash to pay.

On a positive note, South Bend Tribune has an update on the progress of ITRCC’s $200 million improvement program.



VDOT Starts Work on Extension of I-95 Express Lanes

The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) reports, “Work aimed at helping ease the bottleneck congestion at the Interstate 95 express lanes merge area in Stafford County started on Wednesday [July 13], the Virginia Department of Transportation said in a news release. The $50 million project will extend the merge roughly 2.5 miles from its current location. . . .”

Virginia Washington (DC) Metro Region


IN Gubernatorial Candidate Outlines Transportation Plan Funded by ITR Sale Proceeds

Chicago Tribune reports, “The Democratic candidate for governor [John Gregg] said his infrastructure improvement plan for Indiana would meet the state’s short- and long-term needs over the next 10 years without raising taxes.” The plan “would use the proceeds from the sale of the Indiana Toll Road, which he said are now sitting in a bank, to invest in the state’s roads, airports, railroads and ports,” the report adds.



Coast Guard Establishes "Safe Zone" around Tappan Zee's Massive Crane

The Journal News (Westchester County) reports, “A new safe zone has been established around the Tappan Zee Bridge project’s massive crane. On Tuesday [July12], at the behest of the New York State Thruway Authority, the Coast Guard formally created the 200-yard safe zone around the Left Coast Lifter, also known as the I Lift NY super crane, ‘to protect personnel, vessels and the marine environment from potential hazards.’”

Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee Replacement Bridge) New York


Transurban Revenue Is Up

The Sydney Morning Herald reports, “Toll roads operator Transurban’s fourth quarter is up 17.4 per cent, helped in part by an early Easter holiday period. The company — which operates toll roads in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and the greater Washington area — booked revenue of $500 million for the three months to June 30, compared to the same period the previous year.”


Consumer and Safety Groups Push Feds to Slow Down on "Self-Driving" Cars

The Detroit News reports, “Consumer and safety advocates are urging the federal government to pump the brakes on self-driving cars after a series of crashes involving Tesla vehicles that were operating with their automated driving system activated, including one crash that was fatal.”

Self-Driving Vehicles