Daily News Briefs, July 3, 2017

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SF Chronicle: "Bay Area Voters May Be Asked to OK Bridge Toll Hike of up to $3"

San Francisco Chronicle reports, “Lawmakers, business leaders and staffers at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission have been quietly meeting at the state Capitol in an effort to draw up a proposal for a toll increase of $2 to $3 on the Bay Area’s seven state-run bridges. The goal is to have the measure in front of voters either in next year’s June primary election or on the November general election ballot.” (The Golden Gate Bridge, which is operated by an independent authority, is not one of the seven bridges.)

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


Golden Gate Bridge Tolls Increase This Morning

The Mercury News reports, “The price to cross the Golden Gate Bridge will tick up by 25 cents [this morning], bringing the toll to $7.75 for some drivers. . . . With all-electronic tolls now on the bridge — toll takers were eliminated in March 2013 — the cost to cross can increase by less than whole-dollar increments without fear of a traffic backup, because no change has to be made.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) California Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District (GGBHTD) Toll Rate Changes


Cuomo Declares State of Emergency over MTA's "Dysfunctional" Subway Operations, Demands a Reorganization Plan

“Wired”  reports that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency over MTA’s “dysfunctional” subway operations, which allows him to “ease the strict guidelines dictating how the MTA hires contractors and procures supplies. . . . He also pledged to pump another $1 billion into the system, and gave the MTA 30 days to submit a reorganization plan.” New funding, “Wired” suggests, could come from a “rejigger” of bridge and tunnel tolls.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York New York City


FDOT Continues to Buy Land for Tampa Bay Next while Project Is on Hold

Tampa Bay Times reports, “[T]he Florida Department of Transportation continues to buy land intended for the toll lanes and other aspects of the [Tampa Bay Next project] that are supposed to be on hold. Critics say those property buys make it hard to believe the state has any intention of considering alternatives to easing the interstate bottleneck from Ybor City through downtown Tampa and into the West Shore business district.” FDOT tells the newspaper it is not currently allocating money for properties located in the area that is the focus of expansion project protests.

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


Lee County (FL) Officials are Developing Their Plans to Spend a $48.9 Million Toll Revenue Surplus

The News-Press reports that Lee County, Florida has a $48.9 million revenue surplus derived from tolls paid on three of its bridges. As for spending plans, the county’s fiscal manager, Eileen Webster, tells the newspaper “the county is holding workshops to decide what its next big project on the 5-year infrastructure plan will be. Webster said the westbound span for the Cape Coral [toll] bridge . . . is likely to be the recommendation from county staff to the commissioners.”

Florida Lee County (Florida)


Oregon Lawmakers to Vote on Funding Package That Includes Toll Projects

OregonLive.com reports, “During a rare weekend meeting, state lawmakers on Saturday [July 1] voted to send a slimmed-down, $5.3 billion proposal to raise taxes and fees to pay for transportation projects to the House floor for a full vote.” The newspaper adds: the bill includes a plan to request federal permission for tolling I-5 and I-205 through Portland; and “projects to widen I-205 and replace the Abernethy Bridge near West Linn would be funded by tolls, if approved by the federal government.”



Wisconsin Lawmakers Continue to Battle over Road Funding. Proposed Fee for Heavy Trucks Loses Support.

WXOW reports, “Disagreements over how to pay for Wisconsin roads have caused the senate and assembly to miss the state budget’s July 1st deadline. Lawmakers are trying to cover a billion dollar defect in transportation funding. Friday [June 30], a heavy truck fee proposal meant to bridge the GOP’s divide lost support in the senate.”



PA Turnpike Issues Registration Suspension Warning as Effective Date of New Toll Enforcement Law Nears

York Daily Record reports, “Do you have outstanding toll violations in Pennsylvania? Better pay up now, or risk your vehicle registration being suspended. Warning notices have been inserted with motor vehicle registration renewals about the new state law that takes effect on Aug. 4. The threat of suspension applies to anyone who has six or more outstanding toll violations or unpaid tolls totaling $500 or more.”

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


TX Lawmaker Gets Credit for State's Decision to Not Toll a Section of the SH 249 Toll Road

KBTX  is giving State Representative Leighton Schubert (R-13) credit for convincing the Texas Transportation Commission to vote against tolling a Grimes County section of the SH 249 toll project. “I didn’t think it was very viable to have a toll road in rural Grimes County and that’s one of the reasons we’ve been out and trying to get this into a non-tolled project from day one,” said Schubert.



Motorist Dies after Crashing into PA Turnpike Tollbooth

WFMJ reports, “A Lawrence County man was killed on [July 1] after his car crashed into a [Pennsylvania Turnpike] toll booth.” State police say the motorist “was speeding on Interstate 376 when he slammed into a concrete barrier separating the toll lanes,” and “the impact sent his car into the air, landing one lane over.”

Pennsylvania Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


NTTA Toll Rates Go Up

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that on July 1, North Texas Tollway Authority toll rates increased by about one cent per mile. TollTag users now pay 18.01 cents, up from 17.06 cents, and drivers who don’t have TollTags pay about 50 percent more, according to the report. The article adds, “Since 2009, the tollway authority has automatically raised toll rates every two years, using a formula to offset the cost of maintenance and debt service.”

North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Toll Rate Changes


Tolls Rise on WSDOT's SR 520 Floating Bridge and Free Overnight Trips Are No More

KING5 reports that toll rates increased five percent on WSDOT’s State Route 520 floating bridge as of July 1. The station adds, “The free ride is also over for drivers who use the span overnight. [It was] free to drive the bridge between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The state will now start charging overnight drivers $1.25 with a ‘Good to Go’ pass.”

Toll Rate Changes Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


Facebook Posts Could Prove Pivotal in Campaign to Eliminate the NY Thruway's Grand Island Tollbooths

The Buffalo News reports on how a “Facebook alliance” may be the decisive factor in locals’ long-running campaign to bring down tollbooths on the New York Thruway’s Grand Island Bridges.

New York New York State Thruway Authority


NY Post Praises and, Well, Buries Governor Cuomo over Tappan Zee Bridge Project

The New York Post editorial board takes on Governor Andrew Cuomo and his successful push to have the new Tappan Zee replacement bridge named after his late father, Governor Mario M. Cuomo, writing, “Cuomo’s relentless will got the project started — and moving rapidly to completion — where past governors had thrown up their hands at the issues that bedevil modern public megaprojects, from financing to lawsuits to red tape. But the project also bears another trademark Andrew Cuomo stamp: Its full cost is still a mystery, as is how it’ll be financed.”

Governor Mario Cuomo Bridge (Tappan Zee Replacement Bridge) New York New York State Thruway Authority


Leader of Group that Led Opposition to NCDOT's I-77 Toll Lanes Announces Run for Local Office

Fox 46 Charlotte reports that Kurt Naas, anti-toll activist and leader of Widen I-77, the group that opposes the I-77 Express project, announced his candidacy for election to the Cornelius, North Carolina, town board.

North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)