Daily News Briefs, May 10, 2017

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

Become a Subscriber Today »

Reuters: Atlantia to Make Bid for Abertis within Days

Reuters reports, “Italian toll road operator Atlantia (ATL.MI) is planning to submit a takeover bid for Spanish rival Abertis (ABE.MC) within days, two sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday [May 9], hoping to bridge differences over price that have held up negotiations in the past few weeks.”

Acquisitions and Mergers


Working Group for OTA's Gilcrease Expressway Meets -- Absent One Key Player

Tulsa World reports, “Engineers, project managers, executive directors, team leaders and elected officials all sat down Tuesday [May 9] for the first working-group meeting on the Gilcrease Expressway turnpike project. But one $100 million-plus seat at the proverbial table sat empty, and none of Oklahoma’s top transportation officials know yet who will occupy it. Tim Gatz, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority executive director, said the project to complete the western stretch of the Gilcrease is unique and filling the role of a private partner in the proposed public-private partnership is obviously a piece of the puzzle.”

Oklahoma Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) P3 & Privatization


KDKA: PA Turnpike is "Mad as Hell" at Scofflaws as New Enforcement Law Is Set to Take Effect This August

KDKA reports, “With a nod to a classic movie, ‘the Pennsylvania Turnpike is mad as &*%$ and it’s not going to take it anymore.’ For as long as tolls have been collected on the turnpike, there have been drivers trying to evade the tolls and the lost dollars are adding up.” Turnpike CEO Mark Compton tells the station that last year, the agency was ‘chasing $40 million and we wrote off $5.4 million [in tolls and fees].’” The report looks at a state law providing the agency with more enforcement authority that takes effect in August.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) Scofflaws


San Clemente City Council, Residents Mount "Intense Opposition" to TCA Efforts to Extend 241 Toll Road

The Orange County Register reports, “If the Transportation Corridor Agency in Orange County tries to extend the 241 Toll Road south from Oso Parkway, it can count on intense opposition from residents along any of four potential routes. San Clemente is mobilizing a fight against any path slicing through San Clemente. The City Council is already on record and has produced a video to rally the town. Residents have gathered more than 2,200 signatures and 700 comments on a change.org petition against either of two potential routes on the table.”

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


Key Vote on Possible Dolphin Expressway Expansion Is Delayed

Miami Herald reports, “It will take at least another month before Miami-Dade considers extending the Dolphin Expressway into Kendall, after county commissioners postponed a key committee vote on the controversial plan.” The report adds, “The long-debated plan to extend the toll road 15 miles into Kendall and rural parts of Southwest Miami-Dade still hasn’t been finalized by the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority, the toll board that operates the expressway.”

Florida Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)


PANYNJ Will Issue RFP to Study Rail Freight Tunnel Connecting NJ and Brooklyn

Brooklyn Daily Eagle reports, “The Port Authority will soon be issuing an RFP (Request for Proposals) for a ‘Tier II’ Environmental Impact Study to explore the impact and feasibility of the long-contemplated Cross-Harbor Rail Freight Tunnel connecting Brooklyn to New Jersey.” A joint news release by Governor Andrew Cuomo and US Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-10) says PANYNJ “has committed up to $35 million for the study and has available up to another $35 million for further design and engineering.”



Peak Cost to Drive on DC's 495 Express Lanes Continues to Grow with Increased Motorist Use

WJLA reports, “Earlier this year, a funny thing started happening on the way to work for a group commuters in the DC region. They began noticing higher prices in the 495 Express Lanes, going from $18 to $24, and all the way up to $29 and $30.” Mike McGurk, a spokesman for Transurban, tells the station “prices are rising because traffic is getting heavier and he says fewer people are taking Metro. Despite the increases, McGurk says use of the 495 Express Lanes has jumped 20 percent in the past year, ‘So while folks are paying higher tolls they’re actually saving more time too.’”

Express Lanes Transurban Washington (DC) Metro Region


TX Transportation Commission Approves Toll Rates for New I-35 TEXpress Toll Lanes

Denton Record-Chronicle reports, “Drivers looking to bypass traffic backed up for miles between Denton and Dallas counties during weekday morning and afternoon commutes on Interstate 35E will soon have the option to pay about $5 and travel along managed toll lanes. Recently, the Texas Transportation Commission approved pricing rates for the new TEXpress toll lanes between Corinth and Dallas.” [Link inserted.]

Express Lanes Texas


Hood River-White Salmon Bridge Toll Hike Gets Consideration

Hood River News reports, “Passage on the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge may become more expensive in the coming years, according to pending budgeting plans by the Port of Hood River [Oregon]. [Link inserted.] Port staff and budget committee members have requested that the port district’s 2017-2018 fiscal year budget include a toll hike option. It would require separate action by the elected port commission — after the budgeting process — to roll out.” The port’s executive director, Michael McElwee, tells the newspaper “the toll hike addresses existing maintenance needs as well as the possibility of replacing the bridge.”

Oregon Port of Hood River (Oregon) Washington State


Oregon Lawmakers' "Massive" 10-Year Transportation Plan Envisions Tolling

Associated Press reports, “Lawmakers in Salem rolled out a massive 10-year transportation package this week that’d raise $8.2 billion from Oregonians through new taxes and fees when they visit the gas pump, buy a new car and cash-in their monthly paychecks.” The report adds that “Local commuters could also pay tolls for the first time when driving on certain highways, and Oregonians who prefer more eco-friendly methods of getting around could pay a bit more when registering their fuel-efficient cars, which would see higher fee increases than regular vehicles. . . .”



WSDOT's I-405 Shoulder Lane Is Speeding Up Commutes

Bothell-Kenmore Reporter reports, “A new shoulder lane on northbound Interstate 405 has helped speed the evening commute in its first two weeks. Now, drivers hope those quicker travel times become a trend.” The report adds, “In the first four days of operation, drivers saw travel time improvements of between 5 minutes and 15 minutes, depending on how far they went, said Craig Smiley, a WSDOT spokesman. ‘However, it is too soon to tell whether these trends will hold for the long-term,’ Smiley added.”

Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


As Battle over Toll Plaza Continues, Grassroots Group Wants MTA to Update AET Data

Seacoastonline.com reports, “The town and citizens’ group Think Again believe data in a 2014 report that led the Maine Turnpike Authority to reject all-electronic tolling is outdated, and they have asked the state to require the MTA to come up with updated figures. Meanwhile, the MTA said it would cost $100,000 and force a six-month delay in the proposed York toll plaza relocation project in order to comply.” 

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Maine Maine Turnpike Authority


Legislation to Create the $35 Billion Canada Infrastructure Bank Is on a Fast Track. A Very Fast Track.

The Globe and Mail reports, “Legislation to create a $35-billion Canada Infrastructure Bank is scheduled to receive just one day of dedicated committee scrutiny as the federal government rushes to complete all hearings on the budget bill before the end of next week.” [Link inserted.]



As CT Tolling Debate Continues, Lawmaker Says Tolls Would Be "Akin to Another Tax"

WTNH reports, “Bringing tolls back along some highways in our state has been an ongoing conversation here in Connecticut. The wheels are essentially in motion to do just that. This topic will be up for discussion [today, May 10] at the Capitol.”

HamletHub.com posts a column by State Rep. John Frey (R-111) who is skeptical of highway tolling, especially in the absence of a constitutional lockbox provision. Frey writes, “Tolls would be akin to another tax, yes, and an added inconvenience for drivers here, as well.”



PANYNJ Police Nab Another Alleged Scofflaw

NJ.com reports, “Another alleged toll cheat has been arrested trying to cross the George Washington Bridge without paying, Port Authority police said.” The 25-year-old motorist “has 54 violations and owes more than $3,490, a records check showed.”

PANYNJ Scofflaws