Daily News Briefs, February 7, 2024

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MTA Could Start Collecting Manhattan Congestion Tolls By Mid-June

BNN Bloomberg reports, “New York could start charging drivers $15 to enter Manhattan as soon as mid-June, a lawyer for the state’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority told a [federal] judge at a hearing on New Jersey’s lawsuit to block the plan. The MTA may decide on the final tolling structure by the end of March, attorney Mark Chertok told Judge Leo Gordon during a status conference [yesterday] in Newark. That would lead to several further steps in the approval process.” According to MTA’s lawyer, once MTA adopts a tolling structure, it will be reviewed by FHWA to ensure its compliance with the program’s environmental assessment, and federal and state officials will then enter an agreement to allow tolling to start. In view of the timeline suggested by counsel, Judge Gordon — he was recently assigned the case — scheduled oral arguments to begin as soon as April 3. However, there is still a possibility that litigation may disrupt MTA’s implementation schedule.

Congestion Pricing ETC Systems Issues of Law Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New Jersey New York New York City


Shawn Wilson Joins WSP To Coordinate US Transportation And Infrastructure Agency Relations

WSP USA announced this morning that Dr. Shawn Wilson has joined the firm as “national agency coordination leader for transportation and infrastructure.” From a base in Baton Rouge, he will “network within the transportation and infrastructure industry; identify strategic growth opportunities; and support communication efforts with state and federal governments across the US.” Dr. Wilson is a prominent and respected figure in the transportation industry, having served as AASHTO president for the 2021-2022 term and also as chair of the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Executive Committee. He was the secretary of Louisiana’s transportation department (LaDOTD) during the final seven years of his 16-year agency career. Sofia Berger, WSP’s US transportation and infrastructure national business line executive, commented, “I’ve long admired Shawn’s leadership in the transportation industry. His legacy at LaDOTD is impressive, with a track record of innovative thinking and commitment to project delivery across multiple administrations.”

In 2023, Dr. Wilson was the Democratic candidate in Louisiana’s gubernatorial  election.

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Appointments-Promotions-Retirements Louisiana Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Transportation Research Board WSP


US EPA Finalizes Stricter Air Quality Standard Opposed By Many Businesses

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced it has finalized “a significantly stronger air quality standard that will better protect America’s families, workers, and communities from the dangerous and costly health effects of fine particle pollution, also known as soot.” The agency expects the updated standard “will save lives — preventing up to 4,500 premature deaths and 290,000 lost workdays, yielding up to $46 billion in net health benefits in 2032. For every $1 spent from this action, there could be as much as $77 in human health benefits in 2032.” The standard targets fine particulate matter that enters the atmosphere through industrial activity, such as manufacturing, power generation and construction, as well as  emissions from older diesel engines. EPA notes that particles can also be “formed in the atmosphere in complex chemical reactions with other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides that are emitted from power plants, gasoline and diesel engines, and certain industrial processes.” The agency pledges to help states and Tribal Nations to achieve compliance with the standard over a series of years, “including through complementary EPA standards to reduce pollution from power plants, vehicles, and industrial facilities, paired with historic investments under President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

The New York Times reports on the EPA action and the likelihood it will be challenged in court by business groups that maintain it will hinder domestic manufacturing and the attainment of ambitious infrastructure renewal goals set by the Biden administration.

NJ Spotlight News also covers this story.

Economic & Social Considerations Affecting Transportation Environmental Protection Policies Procedures And Initiatives Highway-Tunnel-Bridge Maintenance US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) US Infrastructure Funding And Financing Initiatives


Indonesia Opens Two More Trans-Sumatra Toll Road Segments

“Tempo” reports, Indonesia’s chief executive, Joko Widodo, presided at today’s opening of two more North Sumatra segments of the Trans-Sumatra Toll Road, the 20.4-kilometer (12.7-mile) Tebing Tinggi-Indrapura section, built at a cost of IDR 3.06 trillion (USD 195.5 million) and the 15.6-kilometer (9.7-mile) Indrapura-Limapuluh section, which cost IDR 1.67 trillion (USD 106.7 million). Widodo said the new facilities will reduce inter-regional travel times and encourage economic development, particularly in the tourist industry. The new highways are also expected to reduce logistics costs at two commercial centers, the Kuala Tanjung Port and the Sei Mangkei Special Economic Zone.

The Trans-Sumatra Toll Road is under the development and management of Hutama Karya, a state-owned enterprise.

ETC Systems Indonesia Trans-Sumatra Toll Road


These are just some of the toll industry developments TRN is following.

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