Daily News Briefs, June 14, 2017

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Tampa MPO Approves Tampa Bay Next Project, Prospect of 90 Miles of New Toll Lanes, after Marathon Session

Tampa Bay Times reports, “Hiillsborough County leaders voted Tuesday [June 13] to move forward with a plan to add 90 miles of toll lanes to Tampa Bay’s interstates despite continued opposition from people who would live near them. The Hillsborough County Metropolitan Planning Organization . . . listened to more than three-and-a-half hours of public comment on its Transportation Improvement Program, which lists the county’s priorities for the next five years. Though the TIP includes dozens of projects . . . the evening’s debate centered around only one of those: Tampa Bay Next, the interstate expansion plan formerly known as Tampa Bay Express.” {Link inserted.)

Florida Tampa Bay Next (TBN)


Miami-Dade Commissioners' Committee Rejects Push to Extend the Dolphin Expressway

Miami Herald reports, “The bid to extend the Dolphin Expressway into Kendall hit a major roadblock on Tuesday [June 13] when a panel of Miami-Dade commissioners rejected the proposal, saying they couldn’t let the highway grow past the western edge of urban development.” The report adds, “The proposal died in a 3-2 vote by the commission’s Government Operations committee. But it does not kill the push to create a southwest beltway for the Dolphin, a tolled expressway known as State Road 836. But the vote gave environmentalists an early win in blocking the extension. . . . “

Florida Miami-Dade County Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)


WI Lawmakers Consider Per-Mile Fee on Heavy Trucks to Pay for Road Damage -- and Break Budget Impasse

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports, “Wisconsin could break a budget stalemate, avoid toll roads and raise more than $250 million for highways over the next two years by using a little-known approach being floated by a key Republican lawmaker. Wisconsin would join four other states in placing a per mile fee on the kinds of heavy trucks that do more damage to roads. . . .” According to the newspaper, the proposal “faces an uncertain path forward” because it is little-known and “a key industry group is not inclined to back it.”



SRTA's I-75 Toll Lanes Are Surpassing Expectations

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports, “The toll lanes the state opened in January [2017] along Interstate 75 south of Atlanta are surpassing expectations, the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) reported [on June 13]. An average of 7,600 commuters traveled in the I-75 South Metro Express Lanes each weekday in May, well above the 6,000 trips per weekday the agency had projected.” The article notes that Peach Pass registrations are also on the increase, according to SRTA.

State Road and Tollway Authority (GA)


Cuomo Administration Forms "Special Interagency Team" to Accelerate MTA Bridge, Tunnel Projects

Newsday reports that a “special interagency team, composed of the governor’s office, the Department of Transportation and the MTA” is overseeing the accelerated schedule of bridge and tunnel construction work that Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 12. Cuomo ordered the completion of several projects (AET conversions included) by July 8, to ease congestion that is expected to result from temporary, maintenance-related cuts in commuter rail service.

“Fleet Owner” reports that as part of the governor’s congestion reduction program, “Truckers entering New York City by bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will receive a 50 percent discount on tolls during overnight hours this summer [from July 10 through September 1].”

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York New York City Toll Rate Changes


Cashless Tolling, New HOV Lane on Deck for the Verrazano Bridge

SILive.com reports, “The new HOV lane on the upper level of the Verrazano Bridge will open the week of June 19, and cashless tolling will begin on July 8, [Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on June 12].” The report adds, “The new Brooklyn-bound bus/HOV lane on the upper level will be open for a continuous 14-mile stretch from Staten Island to lower Manhattan. It is expected to improve traffic flow and provide up to 15 minutes reduction in travel time.”

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


IL Tollway and Transit Agency Win Props for "Innovative" Pedestrian Bridge at Jane Addams Tollway

Daily Herald reports, “Normally, pedestrians and thousands of cars, SUVs and semitrailers a day don’t mix, but an exception to the rule is being built at the Jane Addams Tollway (I-90) and Barrington Road. A glass-paneled bridge will carry pedestrians across the teeming toll road to free parking lots and express buses on both sides of I-90 when it’s complete late this year. The innovative project is part of an upgrade of transit along the Jane Addams corridor by Pace in collaboration with the Illinois tollway.”

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Real News on TCA's Huge Fake Boulder

KABC looks at the backstory of a huge fake rock that sits off the TCA’s 241 Toll Road. “It’s a replacement for the real rock that stood here during construction of the toll road. The toll road’s chief engineer, Jerry Bennett, wanted to preserve it,” according to the report, which adds, “’For the last 20 years, I don’t think we’ve had anyone call in to the toll road and say that’s a fake rock up there,’ [TCA engineer Paul] Bopp said. ‘It really looks like an original rock.’”

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


CTRMA Takes Design-Build Approach to 183 North Toll Project. TxDOT Works on Streamlining Contractor Selection.

Corridor News reports, “Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) officials plan to use the same design/build process previously used for the 183 South toll project for the new 183 North toll project in northwest Austin.” The report adds that TxDOT “is working to improve the process to assess and select the winning proposal to avoid issues and delays faced in the project to build an express lane on MoPac,” according to Justin Word, CTRMA’s engineering director.

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA)


FTE and CFX Compete over Control of New Orange County Toll Road Project

Orlando Sentinel reports that the residents of the unincorporated hamlet of Bithlo, 20 miles east of Orlando, “have become wary as a state agency and a local authority roll out plans to build a toll road across east Orange County.” The article details the competition between CFX and FTE over which agency will undertake the project, and speculation about the eventual tollway route.

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) Florida Florida Turnpike Enterprise (FTE)


Governor Christie Says Trump Will Fund NY/NJ Rail Tunnel Project

NBC News New York reports, “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he’s confident a project to build a rail tunnel between New Jersey and New York will continue even though a plan to fund it isn’t part of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget. The Republican governor said Tuesday [June 13] he had a good conversation with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao last week. He says he believes New Jersey will partner with the federal government and New York and the project won’t be delayed.”

New Jersey New York PANYNJ


VDOT Rolls Out Latest Designs for New I-66 Toll Lanes This Week

WTOP reports that VDOT is presenting to the public this week the “latest design changes to the plans for new toll lanes on Interstate 66 outside the Beltway.” One alteration involves a return to the diverging diamond originally proposed for the Nutley Street interchange. The station adds, “Following this week’s meetings, the next step in the process will be design public hearings scheduled for this fall.”

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


Montgomery County (TX) Commissioners Agree with Themselves and Support MCTRA-Approved Toll Project

Community Impact Newspaper reports that Montgomery County Commissioners, who also comprise the county toll road authority, narrowly approved a resolution in support of building an extension of SH 249 as a toll road.

Montgomery County (TX) Toll Road Authority Texas


Express Bus Service Is Coming to the 91 Freeway Toll Lanes

The Press-Enterprise looks at RapidLink, a new Riverside Transit Agency express bus service, the forerunner of a commuter bus line that will run from San Bernardino to Orange County on the new 91 Freeway toll lanes starting next year.



Florida Toll Bridge Installs Gates to Help "Distracted" Drivers

PalmCoastObserver.com reports on a Hammock Dunes Bridge toll plaza upgrade: “bars that raise and lower with each car.” According to the article, “The need for the bars stems from motorists who don’t stop for the toll booths. ‘Now, we won’t have people plowing through,’ [bridge manager William Kowaloff] said. Kowaloff said even residents who use the express card program have been seen, distracted and going through without stopping.”

Dunes Community Development District (Flagler County, FL) Florida


NY Thruway's Latest Rest Stop-Welcome Center Draws Editorial Scorn

The Daily Gazette editorial board hammers the state and the New York Thruway for investing $12 million on the new Mohawk Valley Welcome Center, writing, “Call it whatever you want. But it’s still just a Thruway rest stop. . . . Yet the state not only thought it fitting to initially spend $7.5 million on the original project, but decided only weeks after the grand opening that the structure and surrounding property needed a $4.5 million upgrade that included solar panels, a car-charging station, pet potty area and an Erie Canal-themed playground. Read that sentence out loud and see how ridiculous it sounds.”

New York New York State Thruway Authority