Daily News Briefs, March 14, 2017

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IL Tollway Delays Vote on Plan to Penalize I-PASS Account Holders for Not Using a Transponder

Daily Herald reports, “Illinois tollway directors Monday [March 13] postponed voting on a staff plan to impose a 50 percent transaction fee on I-PASS account holders who incur tolls without transponders in their vehicles. That could mean a 40-cent penalty on an 80-cent toll, for example, which would help cover costs of tracking down customers sans transponders, officials said. It would take 10 missed tolls a month per license plate to trigger the fee.”

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Storm Forces Delay of Sentencing for Bridgegate Defendants

NJ.com reports, “Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly will have to wait a little longer to learn their fate.” The Bridgegate trial judge has postponed the pair’s sentencing until March 29 due to an East Coast storm.



CA Lawmaker Files Bill to Reform "Embattled" SANDAG

KPBS reports, “Legislation that would introduce reforms to the embattled San Diego Association of Governments and two area transit agencies was introduced in the state Legislature [on March 13]. The bill by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego, would have the governing boards of SANDAG, the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District provide proportional representation based on member city populations. AB 805 would also require SANDAG, the regional planning agency comprised of local government leaders, to employ an independent auditor. The auditor would report to an Audit Committee made up of private citizens.”

California San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)


NTTA Launches Road Safety Crew Awareness Campaign: A Selfie for Rangers Tickets

Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports, “To raise the profile of the [North Texas Tollway Authority] Roadside Safety Services crews, the tollway authority . . . is giving away Texas Rangers baseball tickets. To be entered in the drawing for Rangers tickets, motorists can visit one of the authority’s TollTag stores on a given date and take a ‘selfie’ photo with one of the crew members. Or, North Texans may also enter the contest by simply posting [the roadside help line number] on a social media site such as Twitter. . . .”

North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA)


NC Turnpike Awards Toll Collection Systems Work to TransCore

TransCore announced that it has been selected “to design, build, and maintain advanced roadside toll collection systems” for two new North Carolina Turnpike facilities, the Monroe Expressway and the US 74 Express Lanes, both of which are scheduled to open in 2018.

North Carolina Turnpike Authority


Maryland Lawmakers Craft Compromise on Project Scoring Legislation

The Baltimore Sun reports, “A Maryland Senate committee has advanced a compromise measure that would delay implementation of a transportation project scoring law that Gov. Larry Hogan consistently pans as the ‘Road Kill Bill.’ The law, passed over Hogan’s veto last year, requires officials to study local transportation projects, rank them and offer an explanation if any project receives state funding over one that is ranked higher.”

Maryland Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)


Residents Oppose IL Tollway's Central Tri-State Tollway Widening Plan, Possible Loss of Oasis

Daily Herald reports, “Hinsdale-area residents pushed back against a plan to widen the Central Tri-State Tollway and possibly remove the village’s namesake oasis Monday [March 13]. The Illinois tollway is planning a reconstruction and possible expansion of its busiest road between Balmoral Avenue and 95th Street that could start in 2020.” The report adds, “Tollway Chairman Bob Schillerstrom said there is a possibility the oasis could go but stressed nothing has been decided yet, including the number of lanes to be widened.”

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Ohio Turnpike Presses Ahead with Plan to Grow the State's Self-Driving Vehicle Industry

WVXU reports, “Ohio has its foot on the gas accelerating an effort to grow its self-driving vehicle industry. After success last fall, The Ohio Turnpike and OTTO Motors are planning more tests this spring and summer for self-driving tractor trailers across Ohio’s northern corridor.” The report adds, “Randy Cole, the executive director of the Ohio Turnpike, is busy marketing what Ohio is doing. He met March 8 and 9, 2017 with Uber in Pittsburgh. Uber is using self-driving cars to pick up passengers there.” (An attached video shows Uber autonomous vehicles at work in the Steel City.)

Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Self-Driving Vehicles


Detroit Region's Self-Driving Vehicle Center Expected to Open in December

Detroit Free Press reports on the American Center for Mobility, the planned $80 million self-driving vehicle testing facility outside Detroit. “The planning for the center, which is expected to open in December, comes in the midst of a veritable frenzy of autonomous (driverless) vehicle announcements and as more semi-autonomous technologies, including parking assistance and crash avoidance systems, make their way into more vehicles.”

Michigan Self-Driving Vehicles


A 680-Foot-Tall Crane and 6,000-Pound Wrecking Ball Can't Take Down a Collapsing Caltrans Bridge

The Tribune reports, “Everyone was prepared for the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge to come falling down Monday evening {March 13], as Caltrans crews began demolition of the cracked Highway 1 bridge that connects Big Sur to the rest of the outside world. Unfortunately, the 6,000-pound wrecking ball and 23-foot-wide crane just weren’t getting the job done.”

Caltrans (CA Department of Transportation)


WSDOT Uses Marking Tape to Ease Lane Tweaks on I-405 Express

The Herald reports on WSDOT’s decision to use lane marking tape instead of permanent lane stripes on the I-405 express lanes. A department engineer tells the newspaper that the material “has allowed us to make over a dozen adjustments to the express toll lane access points between Bellevue and Lynnwood. This approach has given us the ability to respond to driver feedback and to our own observations of how drivers are using the express toll lanes.”

Express Lanes Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


FDOT and CFX Agree on Interchange Closure Needed for I-4 Ultimate Project

Orlando Sentinel reports that FDOT and CFX have agreed to a five-month-long SR 408 eastbound interchange closure that “could come as soon as May 2018.” The announcement came as the OCX board and FDOT officials reviewed plans for dealing with the traffic disruption expected to result from a future phase of I-4 Ultimate construction work.

Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)


Former NC Transportation Board Chair Sees More Tolling in State's Future

The Charlotte Observer interviews Ned Curran, former chair of the North Carolina Board of Transportation, about state transportation investment issues and the possibility of toll lanes coming to US 16 and I-85. Curran says, “The more you see vehicles being fuel efficient (and paying less in gas tax) and until we can implement alternative funding, tolling will have to be part of the solution.”

North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)


County Officials Back Mid-Currituck Bridge Toll Project

Inside Business features an op-ed in support of the Mid-Currituck Bridge toll project penned by Currituck County Manager Daniel Scanlon, who writes, “I’m convinced the bridge would ultimately emerge as a key part of the transportation system and a catalyst for economic development in a region that continues to grow, adapt and evolve.” Scanlon notes that the county commissioners recently voted to reaffirm their commitment to the bridge construction project.

North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)


SNC-Lavalin Projects Higher Profits in 2017

Canadian Press reports, “SNC-Lavalin is projecting higher profits from most of its operations this year despite a soft end to 2016. The Montreal-based company anticipates that performances from all segments aside from mining will drive a 13 to 32 per cent improvement in adjusted earnings from its core engineering and construction operations.”