Daily News Briefs, June 16, 2017

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Search for New PANYNJ CEO "Has Come Up Empty"

Associated Press reports, “The search for a CEO for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has come up empty. The bistate organization began the search after a 2014 special panel recommended a restructuring in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal and other missteps. Board chairman John Degnan told a business conference [on June 14] that the search hasn’t yielded a candidate who has been acceptable to the governors of both states.”



Lee County (FL) Has a Pretty Good Headache: How to Spend a $37 Million Toll Revenue Surplus?

WFTX reports that the Lee County (Florida) Department of Transportation “is trying to figure out” how to spend a $37 million toll revenue surplus. “In the last 18 months, drivers have spent more than $83 million on tolls at the Cape Coral and Midpoint bridges. The Transportation Advisory Commission is now considering using that money to fund various projects across the county.”

Florida Lee County (Florida)


Seattle Times: "Life Without I-90 Express Lanes: Traditional Commutes Longer, Reverse Commutes Shorter"

The Seattle Times reports, “In the first week without Interstate 90 express lanes, the traditional commute to and from Seattle took longer, while reverse commutes to and from Eastside jobs improved. So says INRIX, the international traffic-data company based in Kirkland, after crunching its own numbers. Severe congestion, reflecting slower speeds and longer travel times, appeared across Mercer Island in the morning drive westbound.”

Express Lanes Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


NY Senate Passes Bill to Exempt Some Syracuse Commuters from Paying Thruway Tolls

WSTM reports, “The push to get rid of some Thruway tolls in Onondaga County has taken another step forward. Senator John DeFrancisco . . . says the State Senate passed a bill [S2205] that would allow drivers to obtain a permit to commute between Thruway exits [34A and 39] . . . at no cost [except an initial permit fee]. The Thruway Authority would also have the ability to restrict the use of the permits to what it deems to be peak commuting hours.”

New York New York State Thruway Authority


Indiana Allows ITR Concession Company to Seek New Revenue from Advertising, Leases

The Journal Gazette reports, “The Indiana Finance Authority agreed Thursday [June 15] to give the lease-owner of the Indiana Toll Road the right to make money off cell towers, advertising and more. The board also codified various amendments made during the last decade into one lease again and removed a few requirements for the concessionaire.” The newspaper adds that the amended lease “allows for a 30-day notice of toll increases, which can only go up once a year, instead of 60 days.”

Indiana Finance Authority (IFA) Indiana Toll Road Concession Company (ITRCC)


Four Firms Compete to Design $50 Million Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Shoulder Project

The Times-Picayune catches up on the recent announcement that the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway Commission chose AECOM, Design Engineering Inc., Modjeski & Masters Inc., and Volkert Inc. to participate in a design competition for bridge shoulder sections to be built at an estimated cost of $50 million.

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (Metro New Orleans) Louisiana


NCDOT Fines I-77 Express Contractor for Post-Accident, Daytime Lane Closures

WFAE reports, “NCDOT has fined the lead contractor on the I-77 toll lanes project $412,500 for daytime lane closures.” Workers caused a “day-long traffic jam” by closing two of three lanes near Exit 31 on May 12 after a construction vehicle struck an overhead sign. The report adds, “The DOT notified I-77 Mobility Partners of the penalty in a letter Thursday [June 15],” and a spokesperson for the company declined to comment.

I-77 Express Lanes (NC) North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)


Atlanta Journal-Constitution Traffic Guru Takes a Deep Dive into SRTA's I-75 South Metro Express Lanes

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Gridlock Guy, Doug Turnbull, takes a look at usage of the State Road and Tollway Authority’s new I-75 South Metro Express Lanes and notes that the project has not passed “the naked eye test to most passersby.” However, after looking at facts supplied by SRTA’s Chris Tomlinson, he acknowledges “possibly the narrative changes some. And then remember that success is measured over a much larger sample than six months.”

Express Lanes State Road and Tollway Authority (GA)


Cape May County (NJ) Toll Bridge Closed by Cracked Supporting Pier Could Soon Reopen

Associated Press reports, “A shuttered bridge that connects two New Jersey shore towns could soon be reopened. The Townsends Inlet toll bridge has been closed since April due to a crack in one of its supporting piers. It’s a major thoroughfare that connects Sea Isle City and Avalon.” AP adds that “workers encountered an obstruction while installing a bridge pile,” and they have been forced to make underwater repairs to a three-pile cluster.”

Cape May County (NJ) Bridge Commission New Jersey


CFX Opens a Third E-PASS Reload Lane

WOFL reports that as of last month, “Motorists now have three Reload Lane locations on Central Florida expressways, offering drive-up convenience to open an E-PASS account or ‘reload’ an existing account with added funds.”

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX)


MTA's Verrazano Bridge Carpool Discount Will Continue after Next Week's AET Conversion

SILive.com reports, “Once the switch is made to cashless tolls [on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge], those using the carpool discount will be able to continue using it electronically. Refunds will be issued for unused paper tickets [carpool drivers currently must use].” The Verrazano Bridge is the only MTA crossing that offers a carpool toll-discount plan. The article provides detailed instructions for motorists affected by the change.

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


Atlantia Is Considering a Full Cash Offer for Abertis

Reuters reports that Atlantia has “opened the door to considering a full cash offer for Spain’s Abertis.” Atlantia made a cash-and-share offer for Abertis last month, aiming to create the world’s largest toll road company.

Acquisitions and Mergers


Ending or Capping Toll Rates on Vancouver Bridges Would Leave the Province with Billions in Debt Repayments

Vancouver Sun reports, “Capping or eliminating tolls on two major Metro Vancouver bridges will force the province and TransLink to figure out how to cover billions of dollars in debt repayments. Where the money will come from, however, remains unclear.” The newspaper notes that if the New Democratic Party fulfills its recent campaign pledge to eliminate tolls, British Columbia will face a huge debt repayment and “could also be on the hook for penalties resulting from breaking tolling-related contracts.”

British Columbia Canada


HPTE Closes on Bonds and Loan for Colorado DOT's C-470 Express Lanes Project

The Bond Buyer (subscription required) reports that Colorado’s High Performance Transportation Enterprise closed on $161.7 million of revenue bonds and a $106.9 million loan from the federal government to obtain funding for CDOT’s C-470 Express Lanes project.

Colorado Colorado Department of Transportation Denver CO Metro Region


In India, Entrepreneurs Arrested for Opening Unauthorized Toll Road through Dry Section of River (Video Added)

The Hindu reports (under the headline, “‘Toll gate’ in the middle of river!”) that a “handful of ‘entrepreneurial’ private individuals” created an unauthorized toll road across a dry section of the Krishna River in Andhra Pradesh State. An official contacted by the newspaper said the operation has been shut down and the entrepreneurs arrested. (Click here for video clip.)