Daily News Briefs, April 14, 2017

FDOT Explains Its Two-Year "Reset" on TBX Project

Tampa Bay Times reports, “The Florida Department of Transportation is taking two years to reevaluate its controversial plan, known as Tampa Bay Express, to add toll lanes to nearly 100 miles of interstates. Director of Development Bill Jones made a 10 minute presentation to the Tampa City Council [on April 13] about what exactly the TBX ‘reset’ means.” Meanwhile, Batman . . .

Tampa Bay Times also reports that a Tampa neighborhood business organization will host a presentation and discussion about a designer’s proposed alternative to the current TBX plan on Tuesday evening, April 18.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Tampa Bay Express

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Riverside County (CA) Awards $263 Million Contract for I-15 Express Lanes Project

The Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission announced, “Early next year, construction begins on a $455 million project to add two Express Lanes in each direction along 15 miles of Interstate 15 (I-15) in Northwest Riverside County. [On April 12], a significant milestone in advancing the project took place when RCTC awarded a $263.4 million design-build contract to Skanska-Ames, a Joint Venture.”

California Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission (RCTC)

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WV Turnpike Agency Survives Elimination Attempt, but Tolling Still Has an Uncertain Future

Bluefield Daily Telegraph reports, “Although a bill to eliminate the West Virginia Parkways Authority failed to pass [in the last legislative session], the agency still faces uncertainty beyond 2019. . . . Before the start of the session, the Parkways Authority asked legislators to take up the issue of whether to continue the tolls on the turnpike beyond 2019. Right now, the bonds are set to be paid off in May 2019. Greg Barr, Parkways general manager, said there is uncertainty regarding contracts lasting longer than two years and with employees, who don’t know if they will be there two years from now.”

West Virginia Parkways Authority (West Virginia Turnpike)

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Oregon County Eyes Tolled Bridge over Willamette River

KATU reports that Clackamas County, Oregon, has ordered a study to determine the feasibility of replacing a disabled Willamette River ferry with an earthquake-resistant toll bridge. The ferry route connects the cities of Canby and Wilsonville.

Oregon

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HCTRA Releases "Jaw-Dropping Video" of Toll Plaza Crash

KXAN reports, “The Harris County Toll Road Authority in Houston released jaw-dropping video of a deadly crash that happened at one of its [toll plazas] last month. The video shows the moment a Dodge Durango slammed into a car, pushing it into the back of a pickup truck that had a trailer attached.”

Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA)

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NET RMA Reminds Motorists of Upcoming Safety Improvements after Fatal Crash

Tyler Morning Telegraph reports, “The day after two crashes, one fatal, occurred on a 10-mile stretch of Toll 49, the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority expressed condolences and reminded the public of upcoming safety changes, including a widening project on that stretch of roadway.”

NET RMA Texas

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NCDOT Promises Further Changes in I-77 Express Construction Zone as New Safety Issue Emerges

WSOC reports, “The North Carolina Department of Transportation is promising to make changes after 15 raised pavement markers were discovered on Interstate 77, posing the risk for severe damage to vehicles.”

The Charlotte Observer also reports.

I-77 Express Lanes (NC) North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)

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Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Prevention Net Installation Begins

KTVU reports that work began yesterday, April 13, “on a net under the Golden Gate Bridge intended to prevent and deter the dozens of suicides that take place at the iconic landmark each year. The stainless steel net, located about 20 feet below the bridge’s sidewalk, will span 1.7 miles of roadway on each side of the bridge and extend 20 feet out over the water.”

Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD) San Francisco Bay Area (CA)

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I-395 Toll Lanes Project Expected to Clear Another Hurdle Next Week

WTOP reports, “Toll lanes on Interstate 395 are set to take another step forward next week, when a state transportation panel is expected to approve a $45 million loan for the project. The Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank Advisory Panel will recommend Tuesday [April 18] that the Commonwealth Transportation Board approve the loan to Transurban, the operator of the existing 95 and 495 Express Lanes.”

Transurban Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Washington (DC) Metro Region

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NJ Troopers Lose Another Round in Lawsuit to Restore Toll-Free Commute Privilege

NJ 101.5 reports that an appellate court panel decided on April 13 that “State Troopers driving between home and work have to pay their own tolls just like other Garden State commuters. . . . A State Police union has been fighting since 2010 to have the state reimburse troopers who travel the toll roads when they’re off duty.”

New Jersey New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)

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No Need to "Freak Out": Radio Station Offers Primer on Avoiding NJ Toll Road Fines

NJ 101,5 reports, “A spokesman [Tom Feeney] for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which is responsible for maintaining both the Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway, let us in on some little-known tidbits that may come in handy the next time you’re ready to freak out at a toll plaza because something’s gone wrong. A couple of these answers will make you realize that, in many cases, you have little to worry about.”

New Jersey New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)

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Traffic on DRJTBC Toll Bridges Is Trending Up. On Those Free Spans? Not So Much.

Lehighvalleylive.com reports, “Traffic is trending up on the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission’s 18 spans. A combined 144.5 million crossings were recorded in 2016, up from 141.7 million in 2015 and 137.1 million in 2012, according to recently released data.” Traffic volume on the commission’s seven toll bridges increased, while it fell slightly on the non-tolled facilities.

Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC)

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New York State Bridge Authority Traffic and Revenue Declines in February Compared to 2016

Daily Freeman reports, “Traffic volume and revenue on the five Hudson River crossings operated by the New York State Bridge Authority were lower in February 2017 than in the same month a year earlier. . . . Overall traffic volume . . . fell by 3.53 percent; revenue from tolls dropped by 3.98 percent. Authority officials cited two possible factors for the declines: February being a day longer in 2016, and two snowstorms occurring in February 2017.”

New York New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA)

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Lee County (FL) Continues Outsourcing of Toll Collection from Out-of-State Scofflaws

WINK News reports, “Lee County continues to outsource the fight against out-of-state drivers who blow past tollbooths. The county recently renewed a contract with Law Enforcement Systems LLC to track down toll violators from outside Florida. About 20,500 out-of-state drivers failed to pay for trips across the county’s three toll bridges in 2016, adding up to $55,000 in lost revenue.”

Lee County, Florida Scofflaws

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Tampa Bay Newspaper Backs a "Vigorous Regional Transit Agency,” Cites Express Lanes as a Possible Congestion Fix

The Tampa Bay Times editorial board urges lawmakers to pass SB 1672, a stalled bill to “transform the Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority into something more than a glorified van service,” and give it a mission to plan and operate “a vigorous regional transit agency.” The editors add that there are several possible solutions (including express toll lanes) for “Tampa Bay’s traffic nightmare,” but “creating a viable regional transit agency” is of more importance than a debate over possible solutions.

Express Lanes Florida

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Legislation to Create Canada Infrastructure Bank Sparks Debate over Role of Federal Cabinet

The Globe and Mail  reports, “New legislation creating the Canada Infrastructure Bank will hand power over some of the bank’s decisions to the federal cabinet, raising the issue of how independent it actually will be. C-44, an omnibus budget bill that Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled this week, outlines how the government will appoint a board of directors for the bank. It also describes the board’s powers to make decisions on infrastructure investments.” [Link inserted.]

Canada Infrastructure Investment Trends

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