Daily News Briefs, August 30, 2016

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SRTA Considers Offering Toll Credits to "Regular Users" Who Avoid I-85 HOT Lanes during Peak Hours

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “Consider this a reverse toll: Thousands of I-85 drivers who frequently pay to use the toll express lanes in Gwinnett and DeKalb could get a new financial inducement to not use the lanes during peak times.” [Emphasis added.] The report adds, “Georgia officials are working out details to offer toll credits to many regular users of the HOT lanes if they avoid traveling those lanes at the most congested periods of the day, said Chris Tomlinson, the executive director of the State Road & Tollway Authority.” The program is an expansion of a pilot project, the report adds.

State Road and Tollway Authority (Georgia)


GA Officials Propose Rates for I-75/I-575 Reverse Toll Lanes

WABE News reports, “People who drive on the Northwest Corridor [the 30-mile reversible toll expressway on I-75 and I-575] can expect to pay a flat fee of 50 cents to use the Northwest Corridor. State officials say the cost could rise to 35 cents per mile during heavy traffic times.” The SRTA board will make the final decision on a toll rate range, but actual tolls will be determined by dynamic pricing. The $800 million project is scheduled to open in mid-2018.

Express Lanes Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) State Road and Tollway Authority (Georgia)


Atlanta's HOT Lanes Are "Way Cheaper" Than Some "Lexus Lanes"

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution looks at the growing number of HOT lanes in Atlanta, and reports, “[E]ven at peak prices, Atlanta’s so-called ‘Lexus lanes’ are way cheaper than some in Miami and Los Angeles.” (The article includes a great chart — provided by Nick Wood, a researcher at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute — that compares the maximum price per mile charged by various HOT lane facilities across the US.)

Express Lanes Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority (Georgia)


Texas House Committee Hearing on Toll Roads Today

KXAN News (Austin) reports, “State lawmakers will examine the cost of toll roads during the House Transportation Committee Meeting [today, August 30]. The Texas Department of Transportation will provide its first ever report that details toll roads and future projects. Committee Chairman, Representative Joe Pickett[,] said he would like to see some tolls removed. One reason for a fee being placed on drivers is an effort to mitigate the cost to build a road.”

Texas Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Momentum Grows for a Referendum on Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Toll Hike

WWL News reports that the push by local officials for a referendum on a proposed Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission toll increase – needed to pay for $100 million in bonds for safety improvements – is gaining some momentum. The report adds that the state legislature “would have to pave the way for a referendum regarding Causeway tolls. It’s something local lawmakers say they’re open to.”

The New Orleans Advocate catches up on the story, reporting, “Jefferson Parish Councilman Chris Roberts has asked the parish administration to look into what steps would be necessary to have the . . . toll increases approved earlier this month by the Causeway Commission put to a vote by Jefferson and St. Tammany Parish residents.”

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (Metro New Orleans)


MassDOT's AET Conversion: No Looking Back Now as Toll Plaza Demolition Process Advances

Charlestown Patriot-Bridge reports, “The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board acted [on August 22] to move ahead with plans to completely demolish Interstate 90 toll plazas by the end of 2017 as a milestone in the state’s progress toward All Electronic Tolling (AET) along Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), the Tobin Bridge, and Boston tunnels.” The report adds, “The Board-approved contracts provide that toll[] booths will begin to be demolished as soon as AET goes live [October 28, 2016] and all work to remove toll plazas and reconstruct roadways is to be completed by the end of 2017.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Massachusetts Turnpike


MA State Senators Press for Answers on New AET Toll Rates

MassLive.com catches up on news of a letter to MassDOT signed by 11 state senators that raises questions about the new toll rates under the state’s AET system. MassLive reports, “The proposed tolls ‘may not meet the Legislative intent to ensure equitable tolling on the Western Turnpike and other roads,’ [the August 26 letter] said.” The report notes that the letter asks “nearly 20 questions the lawmakers have about the new system, which was first proposed under Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Massachusetts Turnpike


IL Tollway Honored by Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce

Daily Herald reports, “The Illinois Tollway has received the Government Agency of the Year Award by the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce in recognition of the agency’s efforts to increase opportunities for African American firms to participate on tollway projects.”

Click here to read a tollway news release on its RFP for services to assist small and disadvantaged businesses issued on August 29, 2016.

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


No More HOV Lanes on Stretch of I-95 in Broward County

Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) reports, “There are no longer any high occupancy vehicle or carpool lanes on Interstate-95 in Broward County. Drivers can sail along solo without fear of being ticketed because those lanes between Broward Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale and Southwest 10th Street in Deerfield Beach are being converted into express lanes.”

Express Lanes Florida


East End Crossing Construction Reaches Major Milestone

WLKY News reports, “Work on the East End Crossing reached a major milestone on Monday [August 29]. Workers lifted the last piece of the span into place. It’s a big deal because it means the structural part of the bridge is now complete.” The report adds, “Boats pulled up in the Ohio River and visitors stopped by the construction site to have a look.”

The Courier-Journal also reports.

Indiana Kentucky Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges


Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority Interim Chair Fields Gordie Howe Bridge Questions

CBC News posts a Q&A with Dwight Duncan, the interim chairman of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority’s board of directors, and notes, “About four years from the project’s initial estimated completion date in 2020, [the authority] is hitting delays buying property needed to complete the $2-billion project.”

Canada Gordie Howe Int'l Bridge Michigan Ontario


Macquarie Atlas to Consider Increasing Its Stake in Dulles Greenway

The Australian Business Review reports, “Macquarie Atlas Roads said it will consider increasing its stake in the Dulles Greenway toll road in the US state of Virginia after the company’s first-half profit rose by 35 per cent. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners’ 50 per cent stake in the 22-kilometre stretch of highway is expected to come up for sale later this year.”

Dulles Greenway Virginia Washington (DC) Metro Region


64th Anniversary of WV Turnpike Groundbreaking Marked

West Virginia Public Broadcasting marks the 64th anniversary of the West Virginia Turnpike’s groundbreaking, noting that, “The state’s only toll road eventually cut driving time between Charleston and Princeton from four hours to two.” The report adds, “Although state officials have long debated removing the road’s tollbooths, the tolls remain in place more than 60 years later as a way to defray maintenance costs and generate other revenues.”

West Virginia Parkways Authority (West Virginia Turnpike)


Ohio Turnpike Signs Up 350,000th E-ZPass Customer

Associated Press reports, “Operators of the Ohio Turnpike say they’ve hit a new milestone with its E-Z Pass program. The turnpike says it signed up its 350,000th customer for the electronic toll collection system earlier this month.”

E-ZPass Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission


A Lesson in Turtle Identification for Longmeadow Parkway Construction Crews

Chicago Tribune reports, “Longmeadow Parkway Bridge Corridor construction crews will need to learn what a Blanding’s turtle [link helpfully added for the overly curious among us] looks like, how to protect it and what to do if one slips into the construction zone, according to officials.” The report adds that the Kane County Department of Transportation’s recently completed Environmental Assessment reevaluation will be the subject of a public hearing tonight (August 30).



FDOT to Host Two More "Community Engagement Workshops" on Tampa Bay Express

WTSP News reports, “The Florida Department of Transportation is holding two community engagement workshops this week regarding Tampa Bay Express, a controversial project that would add 50 miles of toll lanes along I-275, I-75 and I-4.”

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)