Daily News Briefs, December 21, 2016

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Kinks in System Delay Tolling on Veterans Bridge in Chesapeake

The Virginian-Pilot reports, “Tolling was set to begin on the newly opened Veterans Bridge in Chesapeake in early December, 30 days after its Nov. 11 opening. But it’s almost Christmas and still no tolls. No, it’s not a gift from the city. It’s just still trying to work out the kinks in the testing phase, according to [a public works department spokesperson].”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) City of Chesapeake (Virginia)


Onondaga County Legislature Presses Thruway to Eliminate Tolls for Locals

Syracuse.com reckons the New York Thruway would lose about $1 million annually if it eliminated tolls on six interchanges in Syracuse. Yesterday (December 20) the Onondaga County Legislature unanimously approved a resolution calling on the thruway to drop the tolls in the hope of drawing some commuters away from congested local streets. “Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney could be in a tricky spot if the effort to remove tolls gains traction,” the website adds. “She is both the county’s leading advocate and the board chairwoman for the NYS Thruway Authority. Mahoney did not respond to a request for comment.”

New York State Thruway Authority


Truckers Concerned about "Unique" Provision Gear Up for Hearing on ORB Toll Enforcement Regulations

WDRB reports, “A public hearing on toll-enforcement rules for Louisville’s RiverLink system is scheduled for [tomorrow], December 22 in Frankfort. The proposed regulations lay out how drivers can appeal toll charges on RiverLink’s three bridges” once tolling begins on December 30. Trucking industry representatives tell WDRB they plan to comment on one provision they call unique: It allows Kentucky officials to stop and hold a commercial truck until the owner pays any outstanding toll bills. The regulations are already in force on a temporary basis, and the hearing will determine whether they take final effect.

Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges


Virginia E-ZPass Customers Hit with RiverLink Tolls before Tolling Starts

News and Tribune reports that some Virginia E-ZPass customers were mistakenly charged tolls last weekend when they crossed Ohio River Bridges Project bridges. (The project’s RiverLink system is not scheduled to start tolling vehicles until December 30.) RiverLink spokesperson Mindy Peterson tells the newspaper motorists will probably be compensated within 24 to 48 hours, and Virginia is responsible for the tolling errors. A VDOT spokesperson contacted by the newspaper said she was “not aware of the issue, but that she’d look into it.”

Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


IL Tollway Has New Chief of Staff. US Senator-Elect Duckworth Gets Two Noteworthy Committee Assignments.

Chicago Tribune reports, “Kevin Artl, who formerly managed Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s unsuccessful re-election campaign, has joined the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority as its new chief of staff. Artl also previously worked for former House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego and led his failed 2014 bid for state treasurer. . . .” The newspaper adds that Illinois’ US Senator-elect, Democrat Tammy Duckworth, will be assigned to, among others, the Commerce, Science and Transportation, and the Environment and Public Works Committees.

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Ohio Turnpike Approves Capital, Operating Budgets

The Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission announced that on December 19 it approved a proposed $121.4 million capital budget for 2017. Funds are dedicated to roadway and bridge rehabilitation projects, and (as reported yesterday) self-driving vehicle and connected vehicle technology applications. The commission also adopted a 2017 operating budget at its meeting.

Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Self-Driving Vehicles


MDX Board Chair Makes the Case for Agency's Investments, Cash Back Program

Miami Herald publishes an op-ed by MDX board chairman Louis Martinez explaining the agency’s recent cash influx and the value of its services that appears to be in response to a recent editorial. Martinez writes, “As a not-for-profit agency with oversight by local business and community leaders and officials, our priority is to earn and maintain users’ trust by managing wisely the public investment in the five roads that MDX operates. Again, 100 percent of those dollars are spent locally to improve the system.”

Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)


Leading Opponent of Kane County's Longmeadow Parkway, Now County Lawmaker, Can't Delay Project

Daily Herald reports, “One of the most vocal opponents” of Kane County’s $135 million Longmeadow Parkway plan is a newly elected member of the county board, but he doesn’t think he can convince fellow board members to stop the road and toll bridge project. At a December 20 board meeting, Jarett Sanchez took his first shot since assuming office at obstructing the project when he “attempted to delay action on about $126,000 in tree removal contracts that would help clear the way for construction next fall. He failed to get any support for the move.”

Kane County (IL) DOT


Bridgegate Defendants File Motions for New Trial

NJ.com reports that lawyers for Bill Baroni, the former PANYNJ deputy executive director, and Bridget Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for Governor Chris Christie, have filed motions for a new trial based on alleged judicial errors and a lack of sufficient evidence in the Bridgegate criminal trial.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


Trout 1, PA Turnpike Nil

PennLive.com reports, “The fish won a small victory Tuesday [December 20] in a legal battle over a proposal to widen part of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It came when a Commonwealth Court panel refused to dismiss all of a petition a Trout Unlimited chapter filed opposing a deal between the turnpike commission and Tredyffrin Township that the sportsmen’s group claims could place two fine fishing streams at risk. At issue is an agreement officials of the Chester County municipality approved that allows the turnpike commission to override township stormwater management regulations while it expands a 6.4-mile stretch of the turnpike from four lanes to six.”

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


NY State Bridge Authority Reports YTD Traffic and Revenue Increases of Five Percent

MidHudsonNews.com reports, “With all but December statistics compiled, traffic and revenue are both up close to five percent in 2016 on the five bridges across the Hudson River operated by the New York State Bridge Authority.”

New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA)


Illinois State Police Release Video of Person Wanted in Attack on State Trooper at Toll Plaza

Chicago Tribune reports, “Illinois State Police on Tuesday [December 20] released a surveillance video of the person wanted in [the] attack on an on-duty state trooper at a Tri-State Tollway plaza last month. He’s wearing a reflective vest in the video, which does not show the gun being fired or the scuffle.”

Crime Beat Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


With Apologies to Giants, Redskins Fans: NTTA's Dallas Cowboys TollTags Are a Hot Item

North Dallas Gazette reports, “As the Dallas Cowboys make their run to the playoffs, fans are flocking to get one of the North Texas Tollway Authority’s Cowboys-branded TollTags. But, due to recent high demand, supplies are low.” (In a related shocking development, there is still absolutely no interest in the known land for a Philadelphia Eagles-branded E-ZPass transponder. None.)

North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)


Uber's Self-Driving Cars Could Be a Threat to Bicyclists

“Fortune” magazine reports, “Uber’s self-driving test cars have been spotted — and videoed — running red lights in San Francisco. Now, the ride-hailing company is admitting its autonomous vehicles have problems properly crossing bike lanes, raising the ire of safety and bicycle advocates.”

Self-Driving Vehicles


Tow Truck Thief Leads Police on Chase across Bay Bridge

KGO reports that a tow truck thief led the California Highway Patrol on a chase through Oakland, across the Bay Bridge (he did not stop to pay the toll), into San Francisco and south on Highway 101 before being apprehended.

Crime Beat San Francisco Bay Area (CA)