Daily News Briefs, February 14, 2017

Trump and Trudeau Affirm Commitment to the Gordie Howe Bridge Project as Canadian Work Advances

Windsor Star reports, “U.S. President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled their commitment to the Gordie Howe International Bridge Monday [February 13] in a joint statement that said they ‘look forward to the expeditious completion’ of the project.” The newspaper adds, “The planned six-lane Howe bridge should see construction begin some time in 2018 after a project contractor is selected at the end of this year” by the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority.

CTV reports, “Despite the thin layer of snow capping the project site, officials say plenty of progress is still taking place on the Canadian side of the Gordie Howe International Bridge site. ‘We’ve had a good winter season,’ says Mark Butler, Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority spokesperson. ‘There’s still construction going on today.’

Canada Gordie Howe Int'l Bridge Michigan

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PANYNY Set to Open New Elevated Roadway and AET System on Bayonne Bridge

SILive.com reports, “There are big changes in the weeks ahead for motorists who travel over the Bayonne Bridge. Drivers will soon be traveling over the bridge’s new elevated roadway — part of the ‘Raise the Roadway’ construction project — which began in 2013. The opening of the new elevated roadway will go hand in hand with a new cashless tolling system.”

AET Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)

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PANYNJ Reports 91 Percent E-ZPass Usage on Bayonne Bridge

NJ.com reports that Allison de Cerreño, the port authority’s assistant director of tunnels, bridges and terminals, “said 91 percent of people who use the Bayonne Bridge use E-Z Pass, while only 9 percent pay with cash.” The bridge’s conversion to cashless tolling is expected to yield long- and short-term operating cost savings for PANYNJ.

AET Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)

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FL Lawmakers Push for Expansion of CFX District and Board

FLORIDA TODAY reports, “Brevard County officials are pushing to have a seat on the Central Florida Expressway Authority board as a way to have more input in road projects that connect the Space Coast to Central Florida. Two members of the Brevard delegation to the Florida Legislature . . . have introduced bills [SB 720 and HB 299]  to add a 10th member to the authority board. That member would be a member of the Brevard County Commission and would be appointed by the County Commission chair.” The legislation would also make county residents eligible to serve as “citizen members” of the board.

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX)

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CFX to Unveil Five Options for East-West Expressway Expansion, and All Routes Go Through East Orange County

Florida Politics reports, “Five possible corridors are being unveiled publicly to possibly expand Central Florida Expressway Authority’s East-West Expressway eastward toward Brevard County and none of them can avoid going through the environmentally- and politically-sensitive area of East Orange County. The expressway authority will unveil the five” on Thursday night, February 16, at a Public Corridor Meeting in Orlando.

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX)

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CT House Speaker Talks Up Tolling, Calls Border Tolls the "Number One Priority"

New Britain Herald talks infrastructure funding with Connecticut House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz, who says, “Our bridges are in poor condition and our roads are unable to serve the traffic needs of today. We need to make some investments. For every dollar spent on infrastructure, we see a $2 return. Tolls are a good idea, I think, to help fund this and they will put hardworking people to work. Border tolls would be our number one priority but others would have to be in some other areas.”

Connecticut

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TX Lawmakers Eye Transportation Cash for Other Needs

The Texas Tribune reports, “More than a year after Texas voters approved routing billions in state sales taxes to roads and bridges, some lawmakers are questioning whether the first payment of $5 billion should move forward as planned.” The report adds, “[I]n an unusually tightfisted legislative session, some Texas lawmakers are raising the prospect of reducing that initial cash infusion to free up money for other state programs. No one has publicly backed such a move, but key budget writers have privately discussed the option.”

Texas TxDOT

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Cintra and Plenary Form New Venture to Compete for Australia Tollway Projects

The Australian Financial Review reports that Cintra and Plenary “have created a private company, Netflow, to bid for new road projects including Sydney’s $16.8 billion WestConnex motorway.” [Link added.] Netflow will compete with the country’s dominant toll road developer, Transurban. Plenary’s CEO, Paul Oppenheim, tells the newspaper, “Whenever we talk to governments around the country there is no question that they would like to see more competition in the concession part of the market.”

Australia Transurban

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Storms Close a "Persistently Swamped" CA Highway 37. An Elevated, Tolled Causeway Is the Favored Solution.

San Francisco Chronicle reports, “Persistently swamped Highway 37 — historically a sore spot for motorists — is rapidly becoming one of the Bay Area’s most pressing issues as heavy storms keep rolling through this winter, forcing repeated closures of a crucial transportation link.” The Chronicle notes that the favored solution is “to build a raised, four-lane causeway that would stretch 11 miles between Highway 121 and Mare Island,” and tolling is a practical financing method under consideration.

Caltrans (CA Department of Transportation) San Francisco Bay Area (CA)

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Two Interim Board Members Appointed to Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority

Infrastructure Canada announced two interim appointments to the Board of Directors of the Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority (WDBA). Marie Campagna and André Juneau “will provide strategic guidance and oversight to the organization on the administration for the Gordie Howe International Bridge project” for up to one year.

Appointments and Promotions Canada Gordie Howe Int'l Bridge

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US Senator Brown Eyes Trump Infrastructure Plan and the Brent Spence Bridge

FOX19 Cincinnati reports that US Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio is touting the Brent Spence Bridge as a “way to take advantage of the Trump Administration’s proposal to spend $1 trillion on the nation’s infrastructure.” He wants $200 billion devoted to a “Vital Infrastructure Program” that would fund “projects of ‘critical national significance.’ Brown said the Brent Spence Bridge is one of those projects.” The report adds, “A new Brent Spence Bridge is expected to cost an estimated $2.6 billion.”

Kentucky Ohio

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GW Bridge Security in Focus in Wake of Guilty Pleas to Terrorism Charges and Another Suicide

The Record reports, “Days before officials are due to issue a report on work conditions for private security guards at the George Washington Bridge, a second man has jumped from the span and landed close to an area patrolled by the guards.” The article focuses on overall security concerns at the span and notes, “The bridge’s attractiveness as a terror target was underlined on [February 10] when two New York City men pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in federal court in Brooklyn. [Link added.] One of the men, Munther Omar Saleh, 21, was questioned in 2015 after he was spotted by Port Authority police officers loitering on the George Washington Bridge on two consecutive days.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)

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WV Lawmakers, Residents Grapple with Crumbling Roads

The State Journal reports, “Ask state residents what some of West Virginia’s biggest problems are, and they’ll likely put the condition of the Mountain State’s crumbling roads near the top of the list. Ask a member of the House of Delegates or Senate, and they’ll likely agree.” The article cites Governor Jim Justice’s proposal to raise turnpike tolls and use the revenue to fund other road and bridge projects.

West Virginia Department of Transportation (WVDOT) West Virginia Parkways Authority (West Virginia Turnpike)

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Staten Island Columnist Makes Case for Revisiting Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Two-Way Tolling

SILive.com columnist Tom Wrobleski suggests that it is time to reexamine Verrazano-Narrows Bridge two-way tolling, noting that “[e]limination of toll collection on the Brooklyn-bound side basically created a free roadway for trucks and other vehicles traveling to Manhattan, Brooklyn and beyond.”

AET Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

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MTA, E-470 Bonds Scheduled for Pricing This Week

The New York Times reports that issues scheduled for pricing this week include New York MTA’s $350 million of dedicated tax fund green bonds and E-470 Public Highway Authority’s $66.1 million of senior revenue bonds.

E-470 Public Highway Authority Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

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