Daily News Briefs, January 18, 2017

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VDOT's "Long-Controversial" US 460 Project Is Dead

The Virginian-Pilot reports, “The U.S. 460 expansion project from Suffolk to Zuni is dead. The long-controversial plan, which was significantly pared down from prior plans, was too costly to score well in the new state transportation funding plan.” The report adds, “The original project, a 55-mile toll road from Suffolk to Petersburg, was scrapped in 2014 after it was pushed through a contracting process without first getting an environmental permit from the Army Corps of Engineers.”

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


Hampton Roads Projects Ace VDOT Scoring Test for Funding

The Virginian-Pilot reports, “Expansion of the High-Rise Bridge in Chesapeake and improvements to Laskin Road and the Interstate 64/264 interchange are among the projects that would be funded under a plan put together by Virginia Department of Transportation staff and released Tuesday [January 17].” The report adds that the first phase of the High-Rise Bridge expansion “will expand nearly nine miles of I-64 to six lanes by adding a high-occupancy toll lane in each direction.”

Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


Trump Is Polling at Historic Low, but a Plan to Use Tolls to Pay for Infrastructure Polls Even Lower

ABC News reports, “Donald Trump enters office as the most unpopular of at least the last seven newly elected presidents, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds.” The report adds that, in terms of policy goals, “Opposition peaks, at 66 percent, to another idea, providing tax breaks for privately funded roads, bridges and transportation projects that would then charge tolls for people who use them.”

The Washington Post’s report takes note of Trump’s plan to set up a new panel chaired by real estate developers Steven Roth and Richard LeFrak to review “how the $1 trillion he expects to raise” for infrastructure projects will be spent.


I-66 HOT Lane Gantries Going Up

The Washington Post reports, “Activation of the high-occupancy toll lanes system on Interstate 66 is months away, but over the next few days, drivers inside the Capital Beltway will notice some changes that are part of the set-up. The first of eight gantries for the HOT lanes operation are scheduled to be hoisted into place overnight Tuesday into early Wednesday [January 17-18].”

Express Lanes Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Washington (DC) Metro Region


Bestpass Is Processing RiverLink Accounts

Bestpass announces that the company has already processed more than $140,000 in Ohio River Bridges tolls during RiverLink’s first 15 days of toll operations. The release adds, “’Our early volume . . . indicates that we are serving a real need for our customers,’ said John Andrews, president and CEO of Bestpass. ‘We already cover nearly every tolling facility in the country, and extending our coverage to the Ohio River bridges system is yet another way that we can add value and continue to provide a comprehensive tolling solution for our commercial fleets.’”

Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges


Joliet City Council Considers Hiring Project Manager for Houbolt Road Interchange

The Herald-News reports, “The Joliet City Council . . . will consider hiring a project manager for the Houbolt Road interchange, one of the first steps on the road to construction, but one that could cost the city nearly $400,000.” The city is undertaking the I-80 interchange construction as part of the estimated $171 million-to-$191 million Houbolt Road toll bridge P3 project.

Illinois P3 & Privatization


NJ Lawmaker Urges PANYNJ to Delay Vote on $32 Billion Capital Plan

The Record reports, “Citing fears over insufficient funds and a lack of will to build a new midtown Manhattan bus terminal, New Jersey state Sen. Bob Gordon on Tuesday [January 17] called on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to delay its vote on a $32 billion capital plan. Port Authority commissioners are due to vote on the spending plan on Feb. 16.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


New E-ZPass-Only Garden State Parkway Interchange Rankles Some Local Officials

Greater Media Newspapers reports that some local officials were caught unaware that a new Garden State Parkway interchange will accept E-ZPass and motorists without a transponder will receive a violation notice.

E-ZPass New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)


CT Lawmakers Follow Ritual and Will Debate Tolling State Highways Once Again

The Advocate reports, “The General Assembly will again consider installing electronic tolls on state highways, renewing a debate that’s becoming an annual ritual at the state Capitol. State Rep. Henry Genga, D-East Hartford, has submitted a bill that would bring electronic tolls to an unspecified number of highways and state Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Branford, a rising star in the Democratic Party, is pushing the idea at various forums.”



VA Transportation Board to Vote on Extending I-95 Express Lanes

WTOP reports, ” Toll lanes are expanding rapidly in Virginia, and the Commonwealth Transportation Board is scheduled to give additional approvals [today, January 18] to extending the lanes along the Interstate 95 corridor.” [Link added.]

Express Lanes Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


Public Radio Station's Question of the Day: Is TBX a Solution to Urban Traffic or a "Waste of Taxpayer Money?"

WUSF posts a report on the Tampa Bay Express project and asks, “Is it time for the Tampa Bay area to create express toll lanes to speed up urban traffic? Or is it a waste of taxpayer money and an affront to historic neighborhoods?

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Tampa Bay Express


IN Governor Holcomb Recommends Tax Hike for Roads, Bridges

The Herald Bulletin reports, “Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb recommended a tax hike to fund roads and bridges, one of his new administration’s five pillars he presented during his first State of the State speech Tuesday [January 17].” The report adds, “Concerning a proposed 10-cent gasoline tax and $15 annual registration fee to improve Indiana’s road network, Holcomb said he was open to a menu of options.” (No mention of tolling.)



PA, MI and OH Form "Smart Belt Coalition" to Foster Self-Driving Technology

The Beaver County Times reports, “[PennDOT] has partnered with its sister agencies in Ohio and Michigan in an effort to collaborate on self-driving vehicle technologies. Called the ‘Smart Belt Coalition,’ the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is also part of the group that will bring together transportation, academic and industry leaders in the autonomous driving community.”

Michigan Ohio Pennsylvania Self-Driving Vehicles


Lyft Pushes Congestion Pricing Plan to Relieve Urban Gridlock

The Washington Post reports, “Lyft President John Zimmer laid out an ambitious vision Tuesday [January 17] for solving the traffic woes of the nation’s cities. In a Medium post penned with co-founder Logan Green, Zimmer said companies like Lyft can work with the federal government to adopt a series of initiatives aimed at staving off gridlock — starting with congestion-priced roads.”


NC County's Municipalities Have a Hard Time Replacing Transportation Planning Organization in Wake of I-77 Toll Lanes Battle

The Charlotte Observer reports that Mecklenburg County municipalities are having trouble forming an organization to replace a transportation planning commission they criticized for supporting the I-77 Express project.

I-77 Express Lanes (NC) North Carolina