Daily News Briefs, February 23, 2017

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407 ETR Highway, a "Holy Grail" of Tolling, "Has Stood the Test of Time"

Driving reports, “When Torontonians drive through the gantries of the 407 ETR Highway, rather than feeling that tinge of frustration that comes with paying to use the city’s only toll road, they should instead consider how they’re taking part in what was once a marvel of modern technology. After all, since it opened in 1999, city planners, politicians and developers from every corner of the planet have travelled to Toronto to draw inspiration from the world’s first toll road that utilized cameras instead of roadside operators. ‘It was as though we found the holy grail of tolling, and the world came to see it,’ explained Kevin Sack, the vice president of marketing, communications and government relations for the 407 ETR Concession Company.”

407 ETR Concession Canada


FL Lawmakers Advance Bill to Expand CFX Territory

Florida Politics reports, “State Rep. Tom Goodson‘s effort [HB 299] to expand the Central Florida Expressway Authority into Brevard County cleared a Florida House subcommittee Wednesday [February 22] after Goodson told members that roads from the tollroad agency’s region already extend into Brevard County.”

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX)


MTC Board Elects New Chair and Vice Chair

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission announces that it unanimously elected Jake Mackenzie, Mayor of Rohnert Park (CA), to a two-year term as chairman. “Mackenzie has served for the past two years as MTC’s vice chair, and has represented Sonoma County on the Commission since 2008.” Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty (who is also a member of the Alameda County Transportation Commission and other regional transportation agency boards) was elected vice chair of the Bay Area agency. MTC’s news release details other membership changes, noting that one-third of the commission’s 21 seats have changed hands in recent months.

California Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC)


GA House Passes Bill to Crack Down on Scofflaws by Withholding Vehicle Registrations and Tax Refunds

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, “Drivers who use toll lanes or benefit from a Peach Pass without providing payment could face increased consequences under a bill that the state House passed Wednesday. House Bill 150, recommended for passage by the Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, would place holds on motor vehicle registration for drivers who fail to pay tolls and would allow the Department of Revenue to withhold tax refunds for violators to set off debt owed.” [Link added.]

Georgia Scofflaws


SANDAG Reports "Significant Progress" on $128 million South Bay Rapid Transit Project

The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that “significant progress” has been made on SANDAG’s $128 million South Bay rapid transit construction project. “The 26-mile rapid bus route will run between the Otay Mesa port of entry and downtown San Diego,” the newspaper says. It adds, “At the heart of the project is a dedicated bridge, a nearly six-mile-long, transit-only lane under construction in the median of East Palomar Street and along Eastlake Parkway. The bridge will allow rapid transit vehicles to cross the state Route 125 toll road without stopping or slowing down.”

California San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)


Kapsch Names Jeffrey Adler as VP of ITS and Solution Consulting Practice

Kapsch TrafficCom North America announced the appointment of Jeffrey Adler, PhD, PE, to the position of Vice President of ITS and Solution Consulting practice. “Jeff will be responsible for leading Kapsch’s growing Consulting practice for federal, state, and local agencies across North America. The ITS and Solution Consulting group partners with transportation agencies to improve operational efficiency and enhance traveler mobility with smart technology and services,” the company noted in its announcement.



MoPac Express Lane Project Completion Date Could Slide Back Once Again

Community Impact Newspaper reports, “A newly set completion date of June for the MoPac express lane project could change again, the contractor told the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority board Wednesday morning [February 22].” According to the article, CH2M said its current target completion date of mid-June could be extended “because of two construction issues it discovered” since the beginning of the year.

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)


Bids for FTE's SunTrax Test Facility Expected to be Issued in March

News Chief reports, “City Commissioners’ update on the planned SunTrax Test Facility was packed with information about three upcoming projects. The update came from Paul Satchfield, program-management administrator with Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, during a commission meeting Monday evening [February 20].” The newspaper adds, “Bids are expected to be let in mid-March for the oval-track construction with work to start by late summer and completion in December 2018.” [Link added.]

Florida Florida's Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)


Fair Warning: I-66 HOT Lanes Construction Will Be Disruptive

The Washington Post’s Dr. Gridlock alerts readers to the several years of traffic disruption that will accompany construction of the I-66 HOT lanes. “The impact of the construction on travel,” he writes, “is likely to be as dramatic as that of the finished product. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the private consortium called I-66 Express Mobility Partners have not announced a plan for how they intend to maintain traffic along the work zone.”

Express Lanes Washington (DC) Metro Region


Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates Gears Up to Battle Trump and State Funding Proposals

Transport Topics reports, “An infrastructure funding measure reliant on private capital coming from the Trump White House is worrisome to the country’s top anti-tolling group. The Alliance for Toll-Free Interstates, a coalition of carriers and businesses, is mobilizing against highway funding plans that advance tolls nationwide, especially ones on existing interstates, [said] Stephanie Kane, the group’s spokesperson. . . . She is expecting a busy year fending off federal and state proposals.”


IL Lawmakers File Bills to Rename Highways after Obama

WLS reports that proposals are being floated in the Illinois state capital to rename a section of I-55 and the I-294 toll road in honor of President Barack Obama.



RI Governor Raimondo Marks Year One of RhodeWorks Program, but "Barely Mentions" Truck Tolls

WPRI reports, “In a review of the RhodeWorks law by Gov. Gina Raimondo and RIDOT’s director on [February 22], successful bridge maintenance was mentioned, but progress on the truck tolls barely was. RhodeWorks is a plan to spend $4.8 billion on state infrastructure over the next decade.” The report adds, “In December, RIDOT began seeking proposals by companies looking to design, build and operate the tolls. The tolls will likely be completed by the end of 2018, according to RIDOT.”

Rhode Island Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT)


SRTA Is Pleased with I-75 South Express Lanes Usage

CBS46 reports that, almost one month after it started, usage of Georgia’s I-75 South Express Lanes is meeting the State Toll and Roadway Authority’s expectations.

Express Lanes State Road and Tollway Authority (GA)


Newspaper Calls Central Florida an Ideal Spot for Launching Smartphone Toll Payment Apps

Orlando Business Journal reports, “A California-made app that allows users to pay tolls via smartphone is proving why Central Florida is among the best places to launch mobile technology for transportation.”



An Oregon Take on WA Lawmakers' Push to Replace the I-5 Columbia River Bridge

Oregon Public Broadcasting catches up on news that Washington State lawmakers are trying to revive the effort to replace the I-5 Columbia River Bridge connecting Portland and Vancouver (WA).

Oregon Washington State


Macquarie Atlas Takes Full Ownership of Dulles Greenway

The Australian Financial Review reports, “Macquarie Atlas Roads will pay $US445 million ($577 million) to acquire the remaining 50 per cent of US toll road Dulles Greenway from Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, the tollroad group said as it reported a 165 per cent rise in annual net profits to $225.1 million.”

Dulles Greenway Macquarie Group