Daily News Briefs, July 14, 2017

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CFX Showcases $500 Million in "Fixes for Chronic Traffic Jams"

Orlando Sentinel reports, “The Central Florida Expressway Authority showcased on Thursday more than a half-billion dollars in fixes for chronic traffic jams even as the agency also advanced a proposal to bring thousands of more cars each day into Orange County from south Lake County. . . . The expressway agency also went on to emphasize eight initiatives aimed at markedly easing traffic tie-ups within a few years.” [Link inserted.]

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) Florida


CFX Approves Feasibility Study for Lake County Toll Connector

WKMG reports, “The Central Florida Expressway Authority approved a feasibility study Thursday to help better connect Lake County to Orlando. The board had three possible routes, overwhelmingly supporting the third ‘Southern Alignment’ example. That route would connect State Road 429 [link revised] at the existing Schofield Road interchange to US 27. It would also generate $50 million through a toll road.”

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) Florida


Improvements Are in the Works for Chicago's Lakeside Highway, and Express Toll Lanes Are Being Considered

Associated Press reports, “Illinois and Chicago officials are looking into ways to improve the city’s 80-year-old [Lake Shore Drive] highway.” The report adds, “Reserving lanes for buses, high-occupancy vehicles or express toll lanes is also being considered.”

Chicago Tribune reports in depth.

Chicago Metro Area Illinois Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)


CA Lawmakers Approve Preliminary Project List, Move Forward Bill for Bay Area Toll Increase Referendum

Marin Independent Journal reports, “A connector between northbound Highway 101 and the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge and SMART rail service to Windsor are among the projects on a preliminary list for funding if voters approve a $3 toll increase next year. The list was approved on a 10-0 vote Thursday by the state Assembly’s Transportation Committee. Senate Bill 595 — which would allow the ballot measure to move forward — is working its way through the Legislature and still needs more approvals and the governor’s signature, but transportation officials liked what they saw.” [Link inserted.]

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


SRTA Is Working on Interoperability Agreement with South Carolina

Fast Copy News Service (via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution) reports that Georgia’s State Road and Tollway Authority is working on a toll collection interoperability agreement with South Carolina and anticipates achieving interoperability in the first half of 2018.

Interoperability South Carolina State Road and Tollway Authority (GA)


Tampa Area Bridge Reaches End of Lifespan and Replacement May Include Toll Lanes

Tampa Bay Times reports, “The original Howard Frankland Bridge opened in 1960 and a new southbound span was finished in 1991. Now the original span has reached the end of its lifespan and a new bridge must be built in the next decade.” The new span could include toll lanes, according to this article supplemented with video on the bridge design.

Florida Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Tampa Bay Next (TBN)


TCA Board Chair Pushes Back on Congressman Issa's Comments about 241 Toll Road Extension Options

MyNewsLA.com reports that Ed Sachs, chairman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency board, “sent a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, Wednesday that said Issa’s concerns about an extension of the 241 toll road through southern Orange County were premature. ” According to the website, Sachs’ letter indicates that “any of the proposals submitted from the public so far will undergo lengthy vetting” and misinformation about the proposals is in circulation.

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


A Reported First: Self-Driving Car Successfully Passes through Toll Plaza in Full Autonomous Mode

French Automaker Groupe PSA announced, “[O]n Wednesday, on the VINCI Autoroutes motorway network, an autonomous car crossed a tollgate in a full autonomous mode, for the first time. [A self-driving] Citroën C4 Picasso . . . crossed through the toll station at Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines (France, Paris area) – the biggest one in Europe – without driver’s assistance thanks to a specific communication between the vehicle and the infrastructure.”

France Self-Driving Vehicles


Wisconsin GOP Lawmakers Propose "Sweeping Changes" to WISDOT Amid Budget Impasse

The Capital Times reports, “A group of Republican lawmakers on Thursday introduced a package of legislative proposals aimed at making the state Department of Transportation more efficient and accountable.” The report adds, “Under the bill, DOT would have more options for project delivery to bring down costs and shorten completion times. The bill would also create a Technical Review Committee to review contract proposals, and create incentives to use Wisconsin-based contractors.” The proposal comes as the legislature is still grappling with a $1 billion transportation fund deficit and a state budget that is overdue.

Wisconsin Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT)


Indiana Governor Holcomb Releases Five-Year, $4.7 Billion Road Plan without Toll Revenues

The Indianapolis Star reports, “Gov. Eric Holcomb on Thursday released the state’s five-year, $4.7 billion road maintenance and construction plan.” The report adds, “The five-year plan does not include revenue from tolls. During the legislative session, lawmakers emphasized the state would need to look at tolls in the future if Indiana wants to maintain a sustainable road-funding plan. Tolling could help pay for expanding I-65 and I-70 to three lanes in both directions,” which is a top INDOT priority.

Indiana Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT)


CTRMA's $109 Million SH 45SW Project Advances

Community Impact Newspaper reports, “Work is proceeding on SH 45 SW, a $109 million, 3.6-mile toll road project that started Nov. 8 to connect Loop 1 with FM 1626 in Hays County.” The report adds, “The highway is projected to be complete in three years, according to the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority.”

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Texas


US Senate Committee Focuses on TIFIA, Innovative Financing

The US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a hearing on the use of TIFIA and Innovative Financing July 12, and panelists testifying included Anne Mayer, executive director of the Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission, and Jennifer Aument of Transurban North America. Mayer, in written testimony, told the Committee, “Congress must continue its strong support of TIFIA and encourage innovative financing while simultaneously increasing its grant funding commitments, just as many states throughout the nation, including California, have done in recent years.”

Infrastructure Investment Trends Riverside County (CA) Transportation Commission (RCTC) Transurban


Tolls on Vancouver's Golden Ears Bridge Head Up Slightly

TransLink announced, “Effective July 15, 2017, tolls on the Golden Ears Bridge will be increasing to cover the rise in the Consumer Price Index. The increases range between 5-15 cents, depending on the size of the vehicle and type of account.” New toll rates are posted online.

British Columbia Canada Toll Rate Changes


Hong Kong Toll Roads to Offer Credit Card, Contactless Smart Card Payment Options

South China Morning Post reports that Hong Kong motorists will be able to use contactless smart cards or credit cards to pay tunnel or highway tolls beginning later this month, and the change is expected to cut the wait time at toll plazas in half.



Some Scofflaws Are More Creative Than Others

UPI reports on a dash cam video that caught an Australian  motorcyclist “avoiding a highway toll using a simple method — reaching back and covering his license plate with his hand.” But Aussie toll cheats are mere amateurs as the San Francisco Chronicle shows  in its account of a motorist who was pulled over in a carpool lane “when a CHP officer . . . observed that the woman in the passenger seat was, in fact, a mannequin wearing sunglasses.” (Yes, there’s a photo of the sunglass-wearing dummy. That’s the mannequin, not the motorist.)

Australia California Scofflaws


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