Daily News Briefs, March 10, 2017

This is a Subscribers-Only area. If you are a subscriber, please login. If not...

Become a Subscriber Today »

PA, NJ Turnpikes Announce Reopening of the Delaware River Bridge

Bucks County Courier Times reports, “The Delaware River Bridge that connects the Pennsylvania and New Jersey turnpikes reopened Thursday night [March 9] after being closed for almost two months.” The report adds, “Two improperly drilled holes — each about one inch in diameter and filled with weld material — were identified as the primary factors in the fracture, Bradley Heigel, the PA Turnpike Commission’s chief engineer, confirmed Thursday. The holes were likely not the only triggers, according to bridge experts. Air temperature, high winds and heavy loads traveling over the bridge also could have contributed to the fracture.” In a joint news release, Pennsylvania Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said, “Without a doubt, this incident was a bad dream for the two turnpike agencies and the contractors and consultants on our team, but a nightmare for customers and neighbors.”

New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA) Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Lawmaker Files Bill to "Simplify the Texas Toll Road System"

Community Impact Newspaper reports, “After hearing the frustrations of many of his constituents, surrounded by Hwy. 130, Hwy. 290 and I-45, Georgetown Sen. Charles Schwertner filed a bill to simplify the Texas toll road system.” (Link added.) SB 1437 applies to all toll road operators in the state. According to the newspaper, they would be required “to offer a pay-by-mail option, clearly distinguish between invoices and impending bills and check online for a TxTag account prior to sending a paper invoice to the driver. The bill would also offer all toll customers the option of invoicing payments online before paying their bill via mail.”

Texas Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Oregon Mayors Push for Infrastructure Funding and Tolling

The Oregonian reports, “A group of Oregon mayors say they want legislators to pass a large, statewide transportation funding package that includes money for transit, bike and pedestrian infrastructure. But they acknowledge there won’t be enough money with current sources like bonds, gas taxes and federal funds. So, some say it’s time to consider another method: tolling.”

Infrastructure Investment Trends Oregon


Pushback on Georgia Bill Authorizing SRTA to Use Tolls to Regulate Traffic

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports that the Georgia House Transportation Committee “heard pushback” on March 9 regarding a bill that would allow the State Road and Tollway Authority (SRTA) to charge tolls indefinitely for traffic management purposes. SB 183, approved by the Georgia Senate last month, would allow SRTA to continue tolling a highway after it repays construction financing bonds if the tolls are used to relieve congestion and improve mobility. The newspaper notes, “Both committee members and opponents who testified questioned what the state would do with excess toll revenue collected after the bonds on a project are paid off.”

Congestion Pricing Express Lanes State Road and Tollway Authority (Georgia)


CFX Studies Takeover of Osceola County Expressway Authority Projects

Orlando Sentinel reports, “The Central Florida Expressway Authority launched a study Thursday [March 9] to consider taking over several road proposals of Osceola County, including one stirring backlash from environmentalists. An eastward extension of the Osceola Parkway would veer into Orange County near the Orlando International Airport and across Split Oak forest, which was bought with local dollars in the mid-1990s.”

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) Florida Osceola County Expressway Authority


IL Lawmaker Proposes Toll Increase at Tri-State Tollway Interchange to Fund New Trauma Center

The Register-Mail reports that an Illinois lawmaker’s bill, HB 477, would add a dollar to the toll at the Tri-State Tollway’s Plaza 47 (and two cents to a state cellphone service surcharge) to fund construction of a new trauma center in Chicago’s south suburbs. “The current IPASS charge at the toll is 45 cents, so the increase would cause drivers to pay $1.45 for passing through,” the newspaper notes.

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


PA Turnpike Outlines Southern Beltway Expansion Project at Public Meeting

Observer-Reporter reports, “Pennsylvania Turnpike officials and contractors outlined plans for a 3.2-mile section of the Southern Beltway expansion through Robinson and Cecil townships and along the line between Allegheny and Washington counties.” The report adds that the project, with a total cost of $800 million, includes nine sections of construction in total.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Chip, the Bay Bridge Traffic-Stopping Chicken, to Be Honored . . . (you know you're going to click)

KGO reports that “Chip,” the errant chicken who stopped traffic on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 2015 after escaping from a car, is being honored. (Why? We don’t know, and we don’t make this stuff up.)

San Francisco Bay Area (CA)


GDOT's I-75 and I-575 Express Lanes Project Is on Schedule

WXIA’s “Commuter Dude” reports that construction of the I-75 and I-575 express lanes through Cobb and Cherokee Counties is seventy-percent complete and “on track to open next summer.”

Express Lanes Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT)


Mary Murphy, Former NJTA Official, Is Essex County "Irishwoman of the Year"

The Record reports that Mary K. Murphy, executive director of the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and former NJTA deputy executive director for planning and operations, has been named Essex County’s “Irishwoman of the Year.”

New Jersey


Some GOP State Lawmakers Aren't Waiting for Trump Infrastructure Plan

Bloomberg reports, “Republican leaders from at least six states are pushing to raise gasoline taxes or other fees to pay for upgrading roads and bridges, saying they can’t count on President Donald Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan to deliver what they need. ‘If a giant golden goose with a red and white and blue flag on it flies over Indiana and drops a golden egg, first we’re going to make sure it’s a golden egg and not some other dropping,’ said state Representative Ed Soliday of Indiana.” (Soliday is the author of a state transportation funding proposal that includes a study of expanded highway tolling.)

Infrastructure Investment Trends


WA Lawmaker's Proposals for Tolled Bypass and P3 Districts Get Little Support in Key Area

Beaverton Valley Times reports that Washington State Representative Richard Vial’s proposal to build a tolled bypass around the west side of Portland is “meeting lukewarm support, or outright opposition, in Washington County, which lies at the heart of the ambitious scheme.” In support of the bypass plan, Vial introduced legislation (HB 3231) that would allow local governments to create special districts for mounting P3 projects.

P3 & Privatization Washington State


Bertha Nears Seattle Tunnel's Finish Line

KING5 reports that, as big Bertha enters the final stretch, WSDOT has posted a 360-degree video tour of the SR 99 tunnel project. Bertha is two blocks away from the finish line.

Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


Korea Expressway Corporation Expands Traffic Capacity for 2018 Winter Olympic Games

“BusinessKorea” reports that Korea Expressway Corporation has announced plans to expand traffic capacity at several interchanges in anticipation of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The company’s project involves construction of an extension, resurfacing work, safety improvements and rest area food service changes.

Korea Expressway Corporation South Korea


PANYNJ Arrest Another Alleged Major Toll Scofflaw

NBC New York reports that port authority police arrested the owner of a Jersey City trucking company on theft charges after discovering he has 3,250 alleged toll violations representing $308,600 in tolls and fees. Officers checked the man’s record when he came to the Lincoln Tunnel to claim an impounded truck.

PANYNJ Scofflaws


Long-Lost "Bullitt" Mustang Is Found

KGO reports, “The long lost ‘Bullitt’ Mustang made famous by its role in the San Francisco cop classic has turned up in a Mexican junkyard. The 1968 Mustang fastback was part of the movie’s iconic car chase through the city’s steepest streets.” Click here to check out the chase. (Still a classic, but we honestly didn’t know the car was reported missing.)