Daily News Briefs, June 15, 2017

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FDOT Says No Dice on Tolling US 1 through the Keys

FLKeysNews.com reports, “The Florida Department of Transportation strongly opposed efforts in 2010 to 2012 to consider a Florida Keys [US 1] toll,” and it continues to maintain that position. “Under current federal and state law, the existing lanes of U.S. 1 in the Keys cannot be tolled,” an FDOT spokeswoman tells the website. The Monroe County Commission has a resolution under consideration that calls for a study of US 1 tolls that only non-resident motorists would pay.

Florida Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Monroe County, Florida


IL Tollway Committee Votes to Switch Consulting Engineers, Approving an $84.5 Million Contract with WSP USA

Daily Herald reports, “The Illinois tollway is closing in on a deal with a consulting engineer after protests from its current firm [AECOM] for not renewing a contract. Committee members on Wednesday approved an $84.5 million, 4½-year contract with WSP USA Inc., formerly Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc., for the consulting job. The full board will vote on the decision next week.”

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


RFK Bridge Goes Cashless Today, Continuing MTA's Transition to a "No Cash, No Problem" Tolling Approach

WABC reports, “The RFK Bridge will make the switch to cashless tolls Thursday, that latest MTA crossing to adopt a no cash, no problem approach. The agency plans to remove toll booths from all its New York City bridges and tunnels over the next year.”

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


Indiana P3 Project Will Deliver New Cline Avenue Toll Bridge by 2019

The Times of Northwest Indiana reports that an East Chicago, Indiana, P3 project will deliver the new Cline Avenue Bridge by 2019, according to remarks by the Figg Bridge Group’s CEO, Linda Figg. “The bridge will have two lanes of traffic when it opens,” and “expand to four lanes if and when traffic on the toll bridge warrants it,” the newspaper says. Figg said tolls will be collected electronically, and the rate for cars will be in the range of $2.25 to $2.50.

Indiana P3 & Privatization


Miami-Dade Mayor Tries to Revive Dolphin Expressway Extension Plan

Miami Herald reports, “A day after concerns about westward growth sunk a request to extend the 836 expressway into Kendall, Miami-Dade’s mayor stepped in to try to revive the proposal . . . . Mayor Carlos Gimenez called for the [county] commission to reconsider Tuesday’s 3-2 committee vote against the proposed extension.”

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


NTTA Reaches Agreement to Crack Down on Collin County Scofflaws

The Dallas Morning News reports, “Toll-road scofflaws beware. Beginning Sept. 1, Collin County residents who do not pay their toll bills will no longer be able to renew their vehicle registrations. An agreement approved on [June 12] will close a loophole that has allowed those with delinquent accounts to continue registering their vehicles in person at county offices. The decision targets Collin County residents, who have a higher rate of scofflaws per population than any other North Texas county.”

North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Scofflaws Texas


Budget Impasse Could Shut Down All Illinois DOT Roadwork

Chicago Sun-Times reports, “Roadwork projects across Illinois could be on the chopping block as the state’s historic budget impasse continues. The Illinois Department of Transportation will shut down roadwork statewide if lawmakers don’t pass a budget by the end of the month, officials announced Wednesday [June 14].”

Illinois Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT)


Maine Turnpike Forms Advisory Committee to Lay Groundwork for Major Widening Project

Portland Press Herald reports, “The Maine Turnpike Authority has started a process to relieve congestion between Scarborough and Falmouth that could include widening that section of the highway to six lanes.” The report adds, “A newly created public advisory committee charged with assisting the authority in assessing the corridor’s needs will hold its first meeting on June 28. It is open to the public.” (Link inserted.)

Maine Maine Turnpike Authority


New York State Bridge Authority Traffic Was Up in April, Down Slightly Year-to-Date

The Daily Freeman reports, “April traffic on four of the five Mid-Hudson Valley bridges operated by the New York State Bridge Authority was up over the same month last year, according to the latest statistics from the agency.” The report adds, “Year to date, traffic fell 1.3 percent system-wide, while revenue declined by 1.9 percent.”

New York New York State Bridge Authority (NYSBA)


Bay City (Michigan) to Host Public Meeting on Proposed P3 and Tolling of City Bridges

MLive.com reports, “The public has an opportunity to learn more about a private firm’s proposal to build a new bridge and take over another in Bay City, and then charge a toll to cross the spans. Earlier this month, the Bay City Commission heard a pitch from United Bridge Partners on building a new Independence Bridge and taking over Liberty Bridge. The company [link inserted] would handle all operations and maintenance of the structures at no cost to the city.” (The article includes an online survey for readers.)

Michigan P3 & Privatization


Truck Stop Operators and Trucking Firms Push Lawmakers to Reject Trump's Proposal to Commercialize Interstate Rest Areas

Chattanooga Times Free Press reports, “A national coalition of truck stop and travel plaza operators, restaurants, trucking firms and others are urging key federal lawmakers to oppose Trump administration efforts to commercialize interstate rest areas as Congress develops an infrastructure bill. Among groups in the coalition is the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, whose board members include Jimmy Haslam, CEO of Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest chain of travel centers.” Haslam’s brother, Bill, is Tennessee’s Republican governor.

Trump Administration Infrastructure Plan


FDOT Kicks Off Barrier Islands Traffic Study. Some Locals See Potential for Congestion Relief in a Toll Road.

YourObserver.com reports that FDOT has started a $675,000 “Sarasota-Manatee Barrier Islands Traffic Study,” which focuses on Longboat Key, Anna Maria Island and Lido Key. Some locals want the department to recommend a major infrastructure project such as a bridge, tunnel or toll road to alleviate congestion problems.

Florida Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)


Wyoming Newspaper Urges Public to Support WYDOT's I-80 Study

The Casper Star-Tribune editorial board comments on WYDOT’s $500,000, year-long I-80 study, which includes the topic of toll lanes, writing that, “Wyomingites should support this study [and its eventual findings]. . . . Safe and clear roads are a public priority . . . . But safety has a price tag. Whether the study leans in the direction of tolling, tapping revenue streams to widen the highway to three lanes through the state or some other tactic entirely, Wyomingites should remember that the costs will never be as painful as the preventable injuries and deaths that will continue if decisive action isn’t taken soon.”

Wyoming Wyoming Department of Transportation (WYDOT)


Minnesota Funding Law Requires a Study of Statewide Tolling

Valley News Live catches up on the news that Minnesota’s new transportation funding bill requires a toll roads study that must be delivered early next year. “Having to pay extra to drive on highways each weekend to and from lakes country: that could be a reality sooner than you think.”



Bond Insurers Back Lawsuit over Puerto Rico Debt and Toll Revenue

Reuters reports that three insurers of more than $2.6 billion of Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority bonds have “called for coordinated court proceedings involving a dispute over the U.S. commonwealth’s toll revenue as they aligned themselves with an investment firm that has sued the island over the issue.”

Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority


IFM Investors Buys UK's M6 Toll Road

BBC reports, “The M6 Toll has been sold, the BBC has learnt. The 27-mile route . . . in the West Midlands opened in 2003 but has always lost money. It was put up for sale for nearly £2bn [US$2.55 billion] last year after a consortium of 27 banks effectively took ownership from Midlands Expressway Ltd.” A BBC transportation correspondent suggests the toll facility will probably “move into profit under its new owners instead of losing an estimated £25m [about US$31.9 million] on average each year.” (Link inserted.)

Acquisitions and Mergers Infrastructure Investment Trends United Kingdom