Daily News Briefs, January 19, 2017

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NY Conservative Party Wants New Tappan Zee Named after Three Victims of 1981 Brinks Robbery-Murder

The Journal News reports, “The people behind the new Tappan Zee Bridge are notoriously uninterested in talking about the new $3.9 billion project’s future name, but the state’s Conservative Party wants them to honor those killed in the 1981 Brinks robbery. The [third-party organization] wants the [Thruway] Authority to name it the Brown Paige O’Grady Bridge, after Nyack police Sgt. Edward O’Grady, Officer Waverly “Chipper” Brown and Brinks guard Peter Paige. The party launched a petition to stoke support for the name earlier this week.”

Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee Replacement Bridge)


Aggie Expressway Divides Two MCTRA Members as Funding Questions Loom

San Antonio Express-News reports, “The Aggie Expressway has divided two Texas A&M alums” — Commissioner James Noack and County Judge Craig Doyal — “who serve on Montgomery County Commissioners Court. The project includes a 3.6-mile stretch in Montgomery County that is being overseen by the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority, which is the same individuals who serve on Commissioners Court. The Aggie Expressway, also known as the Texas 249 tollway, among other names, goes from Houston to College Station.”

Montgomery County (TX) Toll Road Authority Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Hawaii House Speaker Proposes Tolling Study

Associated Press reports, “Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki says he wants to study whether it would make sense to install tolls on roads to reduce heavy traffic.”

KHON, in its coverage of the speaker’s opening remarks to the house, reports, “He proposed a feasibility study to see if elevated toll roads would make sense for Honolulu.”



A "Changing of the Guard" for TCA Board Seat

The Capistrano Dispatch reports, “Despite her wish to serve another year on the Transportation Corridor Agencies board, Mayor Kerry Ferguson lost her TCA seat to District 5 Councilman Brian Maryott in a unanimous vote of the City Council on Jan. 12.” [Link added.]

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


Can Trump Fix the Brent Spence Bridge?

WCPO asks, “Can Trump deliver on campaign promise to fix aging Brent Spence Bridge?” The report notes The Hill’s 2016 article calling Brent Spence the top US “infrastructure emergency.”

Brent Spence Bridge (Cincinnati OH-Northern KY) Kentucky Ohio


Governors Have Long Lists of Shovel-Ready Projects for Trump Team

KUOW  reports that about 40 governors — including Washington’s and Oregon’s — have responded to the Trump transition team’s request (conveyed through the National Governors Association) for a “list of shovel-ready projects in each of the states that could benefit from a federal infrastructure package.”


NY's Tougher Scofflaw Measure Takes Effect

Democrat & Chronicle reports, “Motorists who repeatedly do not pay their tolls will now have their registration suspended by the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The regulation took effect Wednesday [January 18]. It allows the DMV to suspend the registration of a motorist who has failed to pay three or more toll violations in a five-year period or of a commercial vehicle owner who has not paid $200 or more in tolls within the same period.”

Click here to read Governor Andrew Cuomo’s news release about the regulation.


AET (All-Electronic Tolling) New York Scofflaws


Massive Growth Fuels Need for New CFX Beachline Expressway Interchange

News 13 (Central Florida) reports that the Central Florida Expressway Authority has begun work on a new Beachline Expressway interchange in east Orange County, and notes that, “The purpose of the project is to prepare the area for people — lots of people.” Click here for a project fact sheet.

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX)


StreetsblogNYC: "Cuomo Backpedals on Removing I-81 from Downtown Syracuse"

StreetsblogNYC reports, “The removal of I-81 from downtown Syracuse could be a transformative city-building project that heals neighborhoods and burnishes the legacy of Governor Andrew Cuomo. But Cuomo is waffling.”

New York


Bridgegate Prosecutors Urge Judge to Reject Request for a New Trial

NJ.com reports, “Federal prosecutors in the high-profile Bridgegate case reject defense claims that improper jury instructions led to the convictions of the two former members of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle, asking a judge to deny a request for a new trial.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


TN Governor Haslam Proposes Gas Tax Increase

WCYB reports, “Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced Wednesday [January 18] a proposal to raise the state’s gasoline tax by 7 cents to generate more funding for road construction needs.” In remarks about his proposal, the governor said a tax hike “would still keep Tennessee as a pay-as-you-go state for transportation needs with debt free roads.” He estimates the tax increase will cost “the average motorist” an extra $4.00 per month.



WI Funding Debate Continues as House Speaker Concedes a Gas Tax Increase Is Unlikely

The Journal Times reports, “Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos conceded Wednesday [January 18] that gas taxes ‘probably’ aren’t going to be increased to pay for road improvements, given Gov. Scott Walker’s opposition to that approach.” (The report notes that Vos backs tolling as an option.)



Poll Shows Canadians Back Tolling

The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) announced that, “A recent survey conducted by Nanos Research says 64% of Canadians prefer paying tolls rather than higher taxes or going into debt in order to cover the costs of public infrastructure.” CCPPP, a not-for-profit, non-partisan advocacy group, commissioned the survey, which was taken after Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his expressway tolling plan in November 2016.

Toronto Sun columnist Jerry Agar takes a dim view of the survey’s methodology.

Canada Ontario P3 & Privatization


Nova Scotia to Hold Public Meetings on Proposal to Toll Provincial Highways

The Chronicle Herald reports that the Province of Nova Scotia will hold a series of public meetings to gauge the public’s attitude to a proposal to impose tolls on several highways to finance safety upgrades.

Canada Nova Scotia