Daily News Briefs, April 13, 2017

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TX Toll Roads May Be on the Comeback Trail (I-35 Toll Lanes Cited)

Austin American-Statesman reports, “Toll roads, after several years of reversals in the Texas Legislature, could be making something of a comeback. A House committee on Wednesday [April 12] spent a couple of hours hearing from supporters and opponents of legislation,” HB 2861, that would authorize TxDOT or regional toll agencies to enter into “comprehensive development agreements” with private partners in regard to 18 specified highway projects. The bill remains in committee and needs senate sponsorship, according to the newspaper.

Texas Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Return of Tolls to Connecticut Is "Only a Matter of Time," as in 18 Months or So, Says House Speaker

Connecticut Post reports, “Indicating that the re-institution of highway tolls is only a matter of time, speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz on [April 12] said they could go up within a year and a half of approval. Speaking to reporters before the afternoon session of the House of Representatives, Aresimowicz said that toll legislation might be inserted in whatever budget bill is eventually approved, or it could appear in a transit-related bill.”



Treasure Island (FL) Officials Approve Study on Restart of Causeway Tolling

Tampa Bay Newspapers reports, “After more than 90 minutes of discussion, city commissioners voted 3-2 on April 4 to pass a resolution that authorizes the first phase of a study on the possibility of returning tolls to the Treasure Island Causeway.” The study will cost approximately $295,000, the report adds. The study’s purpose is to “provide a long-term financial plan for maintenance . . . , which is projected to cost the city $22.4 million over the next 15 years.”



CRRMA in Midst of Talks to Remove Tolls from César Chávez Border Highway

KFOX14 reports, “The toll lanes on Cesar Chavez Border Highway are still not making enough money. That’s causing strong suggestions from the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority to TxDOT about getting rid of them. ‘This was envisioned as part of a program. It’s not. It’s operating as a single road instead of a system. So, it’s not generating the revenue that it’s supposed to,’ said Raymond Telles, executive director of the CRRMA. ‘We’re in the middle of conversations to remove the tolls.’”

Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA)


Federal Funding for On-Road Testing of Self-Driving Cars in Nine States Hinges on Budget Negotiations

The Charlotte Observer reports, “Budget negotiations in Congress later this year could determine whether North Carolina and eight other states begin federally-funded on-road testing of self-driving cars. President Donald Trump and his administration are putting pressure on Congress to cut some federal spending, including a proposed $2.4 billion decrease in funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

North Carolina Self-Driving Vehicles


NJ Shore Toll Bridge Should Be Repaired and Reopened by Memorial Day

NJ.com reports, “The bridge linking two Jersey Shore resort towns that was forced to close indefinitely this month after it was deemed unsafe may be repaired and reopened in time for Memorial Day, officials said [yesterday, April 12].” A county engineer tells NJ.com, “”We’ve had an engineering firm working on details of the repairs and we’ve got a contractor on board gathering up data.”

Cape May County (NJ) Bridge Commission New Jersey


Missouri Lawmakers Nix Referendum on Gas Tax Hike (after Rejecting Tolling)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Missouri House members, by a vote of 51 to 103, defeated a proposal to authorize a gas tax increase referendum. “Lawmakers this year have also rejected efforts to use toll roads to raise money for the state’s roads and highways,” the newspaper notes.



Woman Receives $3.6 Million Settlement for Accident Claim against NJTA

NJ.com reports that a New Jersey woman received $3.6 million earlier this year in settlement of an injury claim against the New Jersey Turnpike Authority. The woman was involved in an accident with an NJTA pickup truck in 2013.

New Jersey New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)


Connecticut Lawmakers Praise State's Decision to Drop VMT/RUC Study

FOX 61 reports, “Connecticut legislators are praising a decision by the state Department of Transportation to drop plans to participate in a multi-state study of a possible mileage tax. Both Democratic and Republican legislative leaders said [on April 11] that such a tax would place a financial burden on commuters.” [Links deleted.] Record-Journal also reports.

Connecticut RUC & VMT Programs


Man Finds "Treasure Chest" of Records on Construction of Historic Long Island Toll Road

Newsday reports that an old wooden box found in the basement of a Malverne, NY, commercial building has turned out to be a treasure chest of documents and drawings that “shed new light on a significant chapter in Long Island’s history — the Long Island Motor Parkway, a toll road that once stretched 44 miles . . . and was the world’s first highway built exclusively for automobiles.”

New York


Arapahoe County Commissioner Named Chair of Two E-470 Committees

The Villager reports, “Arapahoe County Commissioner Bill Holen was recently selected to chair two committees on the E-470 Public Highway Authority board of directors. Holen will head up the Finance and Budget Committee and Audit Committee.”

Colorado E-470 Public Highway Authority


"Time": "The Golden Gate Bridge Is a 'Suicide Magnet.' So Officials Are Adding a Net"

“Time” magazine reports, “The Golden Gate Bridge has long had a reputation as one of America’s most beautiful landmarks, and also one of its deadliest. For decades it has been the ‘number one location’ for suicide attempts, with nearly 40 known people jumping to their deaths in 2016 and about 200 more being talked away from its ledges. Now officials are taking a $200 million step to change that.” [Link deleted.]

California Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD)


VDOT's Layne Provides a Primer on HOT Lanes

Inside Business (via The Virginian-Pilot) reports, “Aubrey Layne, Virginia’s Secretary of Transportation, joined other state and regional transportation leaders in Chesapeake on Wednesday [April 12] to pitch the introduction of High Occupancy Toll, or HOT, lanes at a public meeting. By December, . . . drivers could be guaranteed a speedier trip along 8.4 miles of I-64 between I-564 in Norfolk and the I-64/I-264 interchange in Virginia Beach.”

The Virginian-Pilot analyzes the operation of the new HOT facility.

Virginia Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


Who Will Cover the $200 Million Revenue Loss If Port Mann, Golden Ears Bridges Tolls Are Nixed?

CBC News reports that British Columbia NDP Party Leader John Horgan explained that “the rest of the province would make up the lost revenue” if his party executes its campaign promise to eliminate tolls on the Port Mann and Golden Ears bridges. “Critics have pointed out the loss of tolls would translate into a revenue loss of about $200 million and questioned who would make up this shortfall. . . .” On April 11, Horgan told a television audience “the costs would be spread across the province.”

British Columbia Canada


Transurban Reports Double-Digit Revenue Gain in First Quarter

The Australian reports, “Toll road operator Transurban has reported a double-digit gain in March quarter revenues as daily traffic volumes improved in most of its operational regions.” The report adds that the company’s “toll roads in the Washington area booked a 20.9 per cent lift in revenue on a 15.8 per cent rise in traffic.”

Australia I-95 Express (Metro Washington, DC) Transurban