Daily News Briefs, July 11, 2017

This is a Subscribers-Only area. If you are a subscriber, please login. If not...

Become a Subscriber Today »

ARDOT Lines Up for FHWA Tolling Pilot Program and Hires Consultant for I-49 Toll Feasibility Study

Arkansas News reports that the Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) “has positioned itself” to enter the federal government’s interstate highway tolling pilot program if another state withdraws, and it recently hired a consultant “to conduct a feasibility study for tolling a new section of I-49. . . .”



Residents Group Files Lawsuit to Block CDOT's $1.2 Billion I-70 Expansion Project

The Denver Post reports, “A group of community activists has filed an environmental lawsuit ahead of a Monday deadline for any remaining legal challenges to the $1.2 billion expansion of Interstate 70 through northeast Denver and Aurora. And late Monday, the Sierra Club and several community groups were expected to file a second new lawsuit against the I-70 project, based on concerns that the expanded highway will violate federal air-quality standards.”

Colorado Colorado Department of Transportation Denver CO Metro Region Issues of Law


Kansas Turnpike Advances Video Toll Enforcement Program and Partial ORT Implementation

The Wichita Eagle reports, “Rachel Bell, a Kansas Turnpike Authority spokeswoman, said the authority is moving out of the pilot phase of a video toll enforcement program that was started in late 2015. As of late June, the turnpike . . . now has video enforcement at 10 K-Tag lane locations.” Ms. Bell also discusses the progress toward KTA’s installation of its first open road tolling locations.

Kansas Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA) Open-Road Tolling


BancPass Awarded a US Patent for Mobile Payment Technology

BancPass announced on July 10 that it was awarded US Patent #9,691,061 for technology used in its development of the PToll® smartphone app for the payment of electronic tolls, among other purposes. The company’s news release notes that “PToll® was launched on the Google Play and Apple app stores to consumers, and has been operational since January of 2013 when it was implemented for the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT).”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Key Bridgegate Figure to Be Sentenced Tomorrow

NJ.com reports, “David Wildstein, a key figure in the Bridgegate scandal, is scheduled to be sentenced [tomorrow morning], two years after pleading guilty to his role in the bizarre scheme of political hardball that led to the convictions of two former members of Gov. Chris Christie’s inner circle. He could get up to 27 months in prison,” but NJ.com suggests “he is unlikely to serve anywhere near that — if he is imprisoned at all. . . .”

Crime Beat PANYNJ


Traffic Nightmare Sparked by MTA's Conversion of Whitestone Bridge to AET Continues

TimesLedger Newspapers reports that Queens residents and a legislator are still seeking relief from the traffic congestion caused by MTA’s conversion of the Whitestone Bridge to open road tolling. The newspaper notes that “closure of toll booths and lanes on the [bridge] has caused a traffic nightmare for Whitestone residents.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City


Verrazano Bridge Goes AET and SILive.com Has Video to Prove It

SILive.com posts a motorist’s-eye-video of the Verrazano Bridge’s new AET system on its first weekday of operation, July 10.

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City


ERC Will Now Charge a Flat Rate for Unpaid Tolls and Issue Monthly Statements to Motorists

WTKR reports that Elizabeth River Crossings continues to reform its billing practices, noting that the company’s fee for late payment of tolls “will now have a flat rate of $25 for every 30 days tolls remain unpaid.” ERC will also now provide monthly statements to motorists.

Elizabeth River Tunnels Virginia Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


PA Lawmakers Advance Bill for Pilot Project to Allow Cameras in Work Zones

Reading Eagle reports that the Pennsylvania Senate has approved SB 172, which would “establish a three-year pilot program for PennDOT to use speed cameras in active work zones on limited access highways to examine whether the additional $100 fine motorists would incur if they commit a violation within the automated enforcement zone would compel them to slow down when passing through the zone.” The measure now moves to the state House.

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Toll Dodging on I-580 (CA) Is Down

The Mercury News’ Gary Richards responds to a reader’s complaint about express lane toll dodgers by noting, “The cheating rate on the Interstate 580 toll lanes is around 20 percent. That is about half what it was the first few weeks after the lanes opened a year ago.”

Alameda County Transportation Commission San Francisco Bay Area (CA) Scofflaws


MTC Board Member Sees "Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity" to Ease Congestion, Develop Long-Range Transportation Vision

The Daily Journal publishes an op-ed column by county supervisor and MTC board member Warren Slocum, who writes, “It is clear that [Bay Area voters’] frustration with traffic has reached a breaking point. With the passage of Senate Bill 1 ($52 billion in state dollars), the potential for Regional Measure 3 (the bridge toll increase), a potential half-cent sales tax plan in San Mateo County, along with federal dollars, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a transportation network that will significantly ease our current traffic congestion and develop a long-range vision for the future.”

California Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) San Francisco Bay Area (CA)


Ann Arbor Emerges as a Driverless Car and V2X Research Hub

The New York Times reports, “As the world looks ahead to a future of interconnected, self-driving cars, this college town [Ann Arbor, MI] 40 miles west of Detroit has emerged as a one-of-a-kind, living laboratory for the technologies that will pave the way.” The report adds that as part of a “vast pilot project” run by the University of Michigan, “at any time of the day, some 1,500 cars — owned by university employees, businesses and local residents, and wired up by university researchers — radio their speed and direction to one another and to equipment like traffic lights and crosswalk signals.”

Intelligent Transportation Systems Michigan Self-Driving Vehicles V2X Technology


TX Lawmaker Files Bill to Allow School Buses to Use Toll Roads for Free

Houston Chronicle reports that among a flurry of bills introduced at the kick-off of a special legislative session called by Governor Greg Abbott is a measure (HB 60) to allow school buses to use toll roads for free.



Australia's Top-Performing Pension Fund Moves to Invest More in Toll Roads and Other Infrastructure

Bloomberg reports, “Australia’s top-performing pension fund over the past three years wants to invest in more toll roads and airports, betting infrastructure assets will offer among the most reliable returns over coming decades.” According to the article, the chief investment officer of Hostplus is seeking board approval to invest about 12 percent of the fund’s capital in infrastructure, an increase from the current 10 percent level.

Australia Infrastructure Investment Trends


Macquarie Group "Faces Asset Fire Sale," The Australian Reports

The Australian’s Business Review (subscription required) reports, “Macquarie Group, the world’s largest infrastructure manager, could be forced into a fire sale of ­assets as it comes under pressure from rising interest rates, big debts and stalled earnings, according to Citi.”



Expert Claims Sydney Toll Road Rates Need to Be Restructured

The Daily Telegraph reports, “A leading transport expert from the University of Sydney told The Daily Telegraph that drivers were being forced to pay on motorways regardless of whether the trip was quicker than a free road.” The article asserts that “a more benefit-based pricing system, with higher tolls for fast lanes and lower tolls for slower lanes” is needed.