Daily News Briefs, April 18, 2017

Texas Bill to Eliminate Tolls on "Desolate" Laredo Highway Raises Some Concerns around the State

Austin American-Statesman reports on legislation (HB 141) to eliminate the toll on TxDOT’s “desolate,” but debt-free Camino Colombia toll highway outside Laredo, noting that TxDOT opposes the bill, which has raised concern in other corners of the state. “[W]hen people start talking about taking tolls off a road, even one that generates puny revenue and is 240 miles away, well, that sort of loose talk can seem pretty threatening,” according to the newspaper. (The bill is “still idling in committee” the report adds.)

Texas TxDOT

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Allegheny County Executive Drops Opposition to PA Turnpike's $2 Billion Mon-Fayette Project

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, “Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald is dropping his opposition to the proposed $2 billion Mon-Fayette Expressway extension from Jefferson Hills to Monroeville because the money can’t be used for any other projects in the Mon Valley. Mr. Fitzgerald said [on April 14] he would encourage the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission to add the highway to its list of approved Transportation Improvement Projects when it meets in June.”

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission

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With $18 Billion Potential Revenue at Stake, CT Lawmakers Continue the Tolling Debate

Hartford Courant reports, “With as much as $18 billion on the line over the next two decades, lawmakers debated [on April 17] over a controversial plan to install electronic tolls on Connecticut highways in a battle that could come to a vote next month.”

Connecticut Post reports that the legislative finance committee public hearing “on placing electronic tolls on state highways drew little interest — a possible indicator few believe tolls can pass the General Assembly.” The newspaper notes, “State Sen. John Fonfara, D-Hartford, complained the state Department of Transportation did not send a representative to speak to the committee.”

AET Connecticut

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WA State Lawmakers Approve Bill to Restart I-5 Bridge Planning Process

Vancouver Business Journal reports, “The Washington state Legislature has approved a bill to re-start the planning process for a new Interstate 5 Bridge. On [April 17], the Senate followed the House’s lead by voting 44-4 to pass Substitute Senate Bill 5806. The bill enables the Washington State and Oregon departments of transportation to begin a bridge planning process; creates a bi-state legislative action committee; reviews and confirms lead roles and responsibilities related to a future I-5 Bridge; and ensures adequate funding for the planning process to begin.” [Link inserted.]

Oregon Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

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TransCore Selected to Provide Dulles Toll Road Toll Collection System

TransCore announced it has been awarded “a project to design, build, and maintain the next generation toll collection system along the Dulles Toll Road. . . .” TransCore will install a system “designed to manage comprehensive toll operations amongst the challenging stop-and-go and free-flow traffic conditions experienced daily” on the metro Washington airport access highway.

Dulles Toll Road

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MTA Responds to Lawmaker's Ask for a Study of Reestablishing Two-Way Verrazano Bridge Tolls

Brooklyn Paper reports on the status of Staten Island Congressman Dan Donovan’s request that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority “study the impact of reestablishing a two-way toll on the Verrazano Bridge, which would nix the current one-way toll that’s been blamed for rush-hour traffic jams that stretch as far north as Gowanus and Park Slope.”

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City

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AET Construction Starts on Two MTA Bridges

Bronx Times reports, “Construction has started at the Bronx Whitestone and Throgs Neck bridges as the Metropolitan Transit Authority gets set to introduce its new Open Road Tolling initiative in the fall.”

AET Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City

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MA Lawmakers, Privacy Advocates Push for New Restrictions on Data Collection from E-ZPass Transponders

GateHouse News Service reports, “Months after the Massachusetts Department of Transportation replaced manned tollbooths with a new electronic tolling system, some lawmakers and privacy advocates are calling for new restrictions on the collection of digital data from E-ZPass transponders.”

AET E-ZPass Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Massachusetts Turnpike

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MA Newspaper Nixes Proposal to Add New Highway Tolls

The Milford Daily News editorial board writes, “Only those who, for the most part, live west have to pay tolls to get in and out of Boston on a major highway. . . . Is it fair? Of course not.” However, they disagree with a state legislator’s proposal to “correct this inequity” by imposing tolls on highways outside the MetroWest area.

Massachusetts Massachusetts Turnpike

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Two "1950s Food-and-Fuel Plazas" Replaced on ITR

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports, “Two new fuel and convenience stores have opened along the Indiana Toll Road in Portage, replacing two 1950s food-and-fuel plazas demolished last year.”

Indiana Indiana Toll Road Concession Company (ITRCC)

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Chamber and County Officials Back Resolution to Maintain Tolling on WV Turnpike

The Register-Herald reports, “At the request of a Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce representative, Beckley Common Council has submitted a resolution to the West Virginia Legislature, asking state lawmakers to continue toll collection on the West Virginia Turnpike.”

West Virginia West Virginia Parkways Authority (West Virginia Turnpike)

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Texas Toll Critics Make Case against P3s

CBS Austin reports, “On Monday [April 17] critics of toll roads came to Austin to try and get rid of the tolls or at least keep toll roads from getting worse. And what do these folks think would make the toll roads worse? A group called Texans for Toll-Free Highways is fighting private-public partnerships.” A group spokesperson likened P3 backers to 19th-century “railroad robber barons,” but, as Mike Heiligenstein, executive director of the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, told the newspaper, “It’s really been very difficult for us to find ways to fund these huge roads we’re now building.”

KVUE also reports on the capitol building rally.

P3 Texas TxDOT

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NET RMA Grapples with Toll 49 Safety Concerns

KLTV reports, “Many say they won’t drive on [Toll 49] because of safety concerns.  13 people have died on the road since it opened in 2013. [North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority], the company that manages Toll 49 in Smith County, has seen a drop in revenue and traffic in recent months. Could there be a correlation? We spoke with a NET RMA official who says they’re doing their best to increase safety.”

NET RMA Texas

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Austria Plans to Challenge German Toll Plan

The Telegraph reports, “Austria is ready to mount a legal challenge to German plans to charge tolls for motorists to use its autobahns claiming the move discriminates against foreign drivers.”

Austria EU Germany

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Tolling Tops List of Issues in BC Election

CBC News reports that the battle over metro Vancouver tolls and toll bridges is currently the major issue in the British Columbia provincial election campaign.

British Columbia Canada

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