Daily News Briefs, April 20, 2017

Major Toll Lane Projects in the Works for Southern California's 15 Freeway and 10 Freeway Corridors

The Press-Enterprise reports, “Construction is set to start early next year on a 14.6-mile toll lane on the 15 Freeway, from the Temescal Valley, south of Corona, north to Jurupa Valley,” a Riverside County Transportation Commission project. “Meanwhile, in San Bernardino County, transportation officials are planning their next big undertaking: 33 miles of toll lanes on the 10 Freeway corridor that could start construction at the end of 2018. The projects signal the expansion of toll lanes to improve the Inland area’s major traffic corridors.”

California Express Lanes Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission (RCTC) San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA)

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ERC Evaluates Its Fee Structure, Starts Sending Refund Checks

The Virginian-Pilot reports, “Elizabeth River Crossings says it will evaluate its fee structure in coming weeks to more accurately reflect the cost of toll recovery. The toll operator for the Midtown and Downtown tunnels held a press conference Wednesday [April 19] to update the public on its customer service efforts. ‘I want people to pay money for their tolls,’ CEO Philip Shucet said. ‘I don’t want our business to be money from fees.’” Shucet also announced that ERC has started sending refund checks to customers who paid more than $2,200 in fees for first-time infractions.

WAVY also reports on yesterday’s press conference.

Elizabeth River Tunnels Virginia

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VDOT Secretary Layne Suggests Self-Driving Cars May Make a Breakthrough on Toll Lanes

WTOP reports, “Virginia is trying to sort out how to deal with a variety of likely transportation innovations, such as self-driving cars, that may come sooner than expected.” The article notes, “Because toll lanes are separated from the rest of the road system already, Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne suggested they could be the first places where autonomous vehicles are used on a regular basis.”

Self-Driving Vehicles Virginia Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

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MWAA Raises Pay for Dulles Toll Road Workers, Requires Airport Vendors to Pay $11.55 Base Hourly Wage

The Washington Post reports, “The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s board voted [on April 19] to require companies that do business at the airports to pay contract workers a base hourly wage of $11.55 starting in January. . . . The plan, approved on a 15 to 1 vote, also will boost pay for Dulles Toll Road workers.”

Dulles Toll Road Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Washington (DC) Metro Region

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MD Governor Hogan Pitches $100 Million Plan to Reduce I-270 Congestion

WAMU covers the press conference at which Maryland Governor Larry Hogan unveiled his plan for improving mobility in the I-270 corridor. “[F]or a relatively tightwad sum of $100 million,” a group of 16 design and construction firms will “begin work this fall on an automated smart traffic system’ that will combine lane expansions and real-time traffic communications signs’ to ease 14 bottlenecks and add 23 lane miles to the corridor.”

Maryland Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)

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PA Attorney General Busts Crime Ring that Rented Fraudulent License Plates to Toll Evaders among Others

WHTM reports, “The Pennsylvania Attorney General announced Wednesday [April 19] an elaborate crime ring has been busted. This was an organized operation that trafficked fraudulent license plates, insurance information, and titles, and resulted in taxpayers losing almost $2 million.” Attorney General Josh Shapiro told reporters the crime ring “rented these fraudulent plates for $400 a month to people who wanted them specifically to evade law enforcement, evade paying [E-ZPass], and avoid paying tolls and parking tickets.” He added that the investigation is ongoing and includes several other states.

Crime Beat Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)

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Five Possible Sites and Tolling Are on the Table for New I-69 Ohio River Bridge

WFIE reports, “A new I-69 bridge linking Evansville and Henderson will happen. The question now is — where to build it.” [Link inserted.] The station covers an April 18 public meeting at which five potential bridge sites — and the possibility of tolls — were under discussion.

Indiana Kentucky

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NCDOT Consultant Tasked with Review of I-77 Toll Lanes Project Unveils Its Approach

WSOC reports, “As construction continues on Interstate 77, the state is paying $100,000 to see how much it would cost to stop the controversial project. The Philadelphia-based Mercator Advisors presented its plan to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization [last night, April 19].” The report adds, “Mercator will be presenting its findings at the end of the summer but ultimately it will be up to Gov. Roy Cooper and his NCDOT team to make the final call on the future of I-77 tolls.”

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

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IL Tollway's Diamond Interchange Finally Set to Open

Daily Herald reports, “It was supposed to be completed in 2016, then in late 2017, but now the much-awaited ‘diverging diamond’ interchange at Elmhurst Road and the Jane Addams Tollway should open in June — at a cost. [Illinois] Tollway Finance and Operations Committee members Wednesday [April 19] approved a $2 million increase in a $33 million contract with builders F.H. Paschen and S.N. Nielsen & Associates to expedite the project.”

Chicago Metro Area Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)

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Sewage Spill from KTA Interchange Project

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that officials warned the public to stay out of a creek in south Topeka after a sewage spill from a Kansas Turnpike Authority interchange project. Rachel Bell, KTA’s director of business services and customer relations, tells the newspaper that the spill occurred as a subcontractor “prepared to relocate a sewage line.”

Kansas Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA)

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Oregon Lawmakers Eye Funding Package that Could Include Tolls

KGW reports, “[A] bill putting forth a transportation infrastructure funding package is expected in the next week or so, [according to Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek]. It, too, will identify new revenue sources, which could include a gas tax increase, highway tolls, or higher license and registration fees.”

Oregon

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Indiana Lawmakers Inch Toward Funding Deal that Includes Mandate for INDOT to Study Tolling

The Journal Gazette reports, “A long-term road funding deal forged by Statehouse Republicans would mean about $870 million in new money for state roads and $340 million for local infrastructure by 2024. But the proposal still must get the seal of approval from the party caucuses and be voted on in both the House and Senate.” The report adds that the bill “also requires INDOT to study tolling and present a strategic plan to legislators next year.”

Indiana

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A Deep Dive on NY Governor Cuomo's $100 Billion Capital Investment Program

“U.S. News & World Report” looks at New York State’s infrastructure challenges and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to address the problems, reporting that, “In all, Cuomo has put a round, $100-billion price-tag on his capital investment program over a five-year span.”

Infrastructure Investment Trends New York

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CBS News Kicks Off "Rebuilding America" Series with Look at P3s

CBS News kicks off a new series, “Rebuilding America,” with an examination of public-private partnerships and the impact they have on motorists whose toll dollars make many such projects possible.

Infrastructure Investment Trends P3

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Massachusetts Turnpike Toll Plaza Demolition to Cause Some Traffic Heartburn

MassLive.com reports, “The demolition of the former Weston toll plaza and reconstruction of the area’s road is expected to cause some traffic problems on the Massachusetts Turnpike later this week.”

 

AET Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Massachusetts Turnpike

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