Daily News Briefs, March 3, 2017

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MTA Will Launch AET on Another Bridge on April 30

Queens Chronicle reports that the MTA “is preparing to implement cashless tolling on both sides of the Cross Bay Veterans Memorial Bridge starting April 30.” The newspaper adds, “Broad Channel and Rockaway residents will continue to be able to cross the bridge for free as part of the rebate program included in the state budget. . . .” As the newspaper notes, MTA has already introduced cashless tolling at the Queens-Midtown Tunnel, the Hugh L. Carey Tunnel and the Henry Hudson Bridge.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City


Ohio House Approves Budget Bill that Relies on Turnpike Tolls to Fund Other State Transportation Projects

The Blade reports, “The Ohio House on Wednesday [March 1] overwhelmingly supported a $7.8 billion, two-year transportation and public safety budget that would experiment with varying speed limits to regulate traffic flow on selected highways.” The newspaper adds, “The measure appropriates the funding for road projects across the state using revenue from the gas tax, the federal highway fund, and turnpike tolls. It does not raise the state’s gas tax.”

Ohio Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission


Locals Push NY Thruway: Either End Grand Island Bridges Tolls or Go with AET

WKBW reports, “Going through the Grand Island toll booths is second nature to many in Western New York, but a number of lawmakers are pushing to get rid of the tolls. Grand Island Town Supervisor Nathan McMurray is one [of] many pushing the New York State Thruway Authority to remove the tolls, or replace them with something more efficient. ‘High speed tolling is something that’s being implemented in other parts of the State,’ McMurray said. ‘Grand Island should not be left behind.’”

The Buffalo News also reports on this story.

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) New York State Thruway Authority


Tulsa Strikes Deal to Have Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Build $230 Million West Leg of Gilcrease Expressway

NewsOn6 reports, “The City of Tulsa has an agreement with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to build the west leg of the Gilcrease Expressway – including a new bridge over the Arkansas River. The City expects the Gilcrease Turnpike to open by 2020, and will announce the specifics soon.” Tulsa’s mayor tells the station the $230 million project will relieve traffic congestion on highways that pass through the city and create new opportunities for economic development.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA)


Tuscaloosa Council President Proposes City Purchase Toll Bridge

The Tuscaloosa News reports that city council president Harrison Taylor wants the county and state to help the city purchase the privately owned Tuscaloosa By-Pass toll bridge and make it toll-free. “Taylor believes doing so would open Joe Mallisham Parkway to new projects, from restaurants to hotels,” the newspaper reports.



Kansas Turnpike Topeka Toll Plaza Project Set to Begin

WIBW reports that major Topeka toll plaza construction work will begin on Monday, March 6.  The KTA project “will improve the toll plaza, create longer acceleration and deceleration lanes coming to and from the interchange, realign the northbound exit ramp, improve drainage, [and] widen and re-deck the I-470/KTA bridges which cross over Topeka Boulevard and the BNSF railroad.”

Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA)


Feds Push Prison Sentence for Bridgegate Defendant Samson Despite His Health Issues

NJ.com reports, “Federal prosecutors say despite his age and serious health problems, former Port Authority chairman David Samson deserves to go to prison for abusing his position in the shakedown of one of the nation’s largest airlines. In a strongly worded court filing on Thursday [March 2], the U.S. Attorney’s office recommended a sentence of 24 months’ imprisonment which it called ‘just and appropriate.’”

New Jersey Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


DRJTBC Hires Architecture Firm for New Office Building

Bucks County Courier Times updates progress on the project to construct a new Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission headquarters building. The article notes that the commission this week hired USA Architects, Planners & Interior Designers to provide architectural, engineering, landscape architecture and interior design consulting and services.

Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission (DRJTBC)


Gordie Howe Int'l Bridge Wins Engineering Project of the Year Award

Windsor Star reports, “Even though it is still in the final bidding stage to find [a] contractor, the Gordie Howe International Bridge project has been named the winner of a 2017 Engineering Project of the Year award. The award was presented [March 2] as part of the CG/LA’s Project of the Year Awards at the 10th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in Montreal.”

The award comes as CTV News reports, “Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to use the new cross-border Gordie Howe International Bridge. . . . The announcement of a ‘dedicated multi-use path’ for cyclists and pedestrians was made Wednesday [March 1] during a news event at Bike Windsor-Essex.”

Canada Gordie Howe Int'l Bridge Michigan


Proposal to Build $300 Million-Plus Alaska Toll Road for Mining Vehicles Advances

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports, “The state’s Ambler Road Project took another step forward this week when the Bureau of Land Management opened a 90-day public comment period to gather input on the proposed 211-mile industrial access road.” [Link added.] Available only to mining company vehicles and financed primarily with toll revenue, the road would cost an estimated $304.9 million to $346.5 million to build and would “be expected to collect between $988.1 million and $1.1 billion in tolls” over its lifetime.



Oregon Lawmaker's Proposal to Create Special Districts for P3 Toll Projects Stirs Interest

The Columbian reports on Oregon State Representative Rich Vial’s proposal to build a “Northwest Passage” around Portland. Vial has introduced a bill (HB 3231) to enable its construction that “would allow local jurisdictions to create special districts to build and operate highways” that would be “financed through tolls or local taxes and not rely on state or federal money.”

Oregon P3 & Privatization


Express-News Digs into Cibolo (TX) Private Toll Road Project

San Antonio Express-News catches up on the announcement that the Cibolo (TX) City Council has given its approval for a Dallas company affiliated with the Texas Turnpike Corporation to move forward with its proposal to build and operate a private toll road, the “Cibolo Parkway.” The newspaper looks at details of the project, the development agreement between the builder and the city, and some criticism leveled by tolling opposition groups.

Texas Texas Turnpike Corp.


Motorists Getting an Early Look at MDX's Diverging Diamond Interchange

Miami’s Community Newspapers looks at the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority’s construction of an “innovative traffic solution called a ‘Diverging Diamond Interchange’” at the SR 836/Dolphin Expressway. Juan Toledo, MDX Deputy Director/Director of Engineering, tells the newspaper site, “The DDI interchanges will reduce congestion caused by expressway traffic in these areas.” Click here for more information about the project.

Florida Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)


Vancouver Mayors Push for Mobility Pricing

Vancouver Sun reports, “Metro Vancouver mayors are urging the B.C. government to seriously discuss mobility pricing, as losses mount at the Port Mann Bridge and work begins on a new George Massey crossing. Several mayors say the financial problems at the Port Mann — in which more drivers than expected are detouring to free bridges to avoid paying the toll — show the need for immediate discussions on a region-wide, mobility-pricing strategy.”

British Columbia Canada


Canadian Toll Rates on Blue Water Bridge to Remain Flat

BlackburnNews.com reports, “Canadian toll rates at the Blue Water Bridge will remain the same following the latest review. [Link added.] The Federal Bridge Corporation says the rates are reviewed semi-annually based on traffic levels, economic forecasts and funding needs for long-term capital requirements.”

Canada Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. (Canada)


According to Fourth Quarter Earnings Reports, Highway 407 Is Generating Higher Returns for SNC-Lavalin

Toronto Star reports, “SNC-Lavalin is projecting higher profits from most of its operations this year despite a soft end to 2016.” The report notes that, “Its investment in [Highway 407 ETR], a toll highway near Toronto, is also expected to generate higher returns, SNC-Lavalin said.” The report adds, “SNC-Lavalin also provided a brief update [in its 4th quarter filings] on the status of its corruption and fraud case, saying a preliminary inquiry scheduled to begin in September 2018 may be expedited to late 2017. SNC-Lavalin, its construction division and its international subsidiary have pleaded not guilty to one count each of fraud and corruption.”

407 ETR Concession Canada


County Prosecutor in KY Fired for Going Easy on Speeders

Courier-Journal reports, “Continuing on the warpath against speeders, fiery [Jefferson] County Attorney Mike O’Connell has terminated one veteran prosecutor, suspended a second and reprimanded a third for striking sweetheart deals with motorists clocked at 100 mph or more.” (Just doesn’t seem right. . . .)

Crime Beat Kentucky