Daily News Briefs, May 16, 2017

TV Station Hammers HCTRA and "Secretive" Court over Toll Violation Collections Process

KPRC reports, “Expired credit cards have thousands of Houstonians stuck with big bills after being caught unexpectedly in the cross hairs of the Harris County Toll Road Authority. [KPRC] Consumer expert Amy Davis discovered many drivers are remanded to a little known court where, some say, the deck is stacked against them.”

Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA) Scofflaws Texas

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Controversy Mars Selection of Contractor for Miami "Signature Bridge" Project, an $800 Million P3

Curbed Miami reports, “After years of chatter, the design for a state-funded ‘signature bridge’ at Miami’s core has been chosen,” however there is controversy surrounding the vendor selection process. According to Curbed, on May 12, FDOT selected a proposal submitted by a joint venture team led by Archer Western and The de Moya Group, which edged out its closest competitor by a mere half a point. The $800 million P3 project, an FDOT-MDX collaboration, involves the bridge construction and reconstruction of parts of I-395 and SR 836.

Florida Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX)

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State Budget Includes $630 Million for Northeast Florida Projects, Continued Funding for the First Coast Expressway

The Florida Times-Union reports, “Dozens of road and infrastructure projects in Northeast Florida worth $630.9 million are included in the state budget for the upcoming year. Part of the Department of Transportation’s $10.9 billion Work Program this year, the projects include continued construction of the First Coast Expressway in Clay County. . . .” [Link inserted.]

Florida Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)

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TxDOT's $340 Million SH 360 South Toll Project Is Set to Clear Another Milestone

CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports, “Another milestone is coming up for the Highway 360 South project, the new toll road that will run along the borders of South Arlington, Grand Prairie and Mansfield.” [Link inserted.]

Texas TxDOT

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IL Tollway's $4 Billion Tri-State Tollway Widening Project Stirs Neighbors' Concerns

Daily Herald reports on neighboring residents’ concerns about the Illinois Tollway’s $4 billion plan to widen and improve the Central Tri-State Tollway (I-294). One homeowner tells the newspaper, “I don’t think anyone’s going to look the other way and let them run over us.”

Illinois Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)

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VDOT's Layne and OTA's Gatz Testify on P3s Today before US Senate Committee

The Virginian-Pilot reports that Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne will be one of the panelists testifying today before the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. He will discuss the state’s “experience with public-private partnerships as the Trump administration looks to jump-start infrastructure spending. Layne has seen the positive and negative sides of such ‘P3’ deals in Virginia.” Another scheduled panelist is Oklahoma Turnpike executive director Tim Gatz.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) P3 Virginia Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)

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Former WSDOT Secretary MacDonald Speculates about a Tolled I-5

MYNorthwest.com  reports, “What will I-5 through Seattle look like in 10 years? It’s a question that would keep former Washington State Transportation Secretary Doug MacDonald awake at night if he was still on the job.” MacDonald said in a KIRO Radio interview that “I-5 can’t look like it does today and can’t be fixed in a reasonable time or with the money that people think is going to be available.” Among the potential solutions mentioned by MacDonald was “charging people for using the freeway.”

Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)

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CA Lawmaker Presses His Case against a $3.2 Billion Tunnel to Close the 710 Freeway Extension Gap

Pasadena Now reports, “Following an unsuccessful legislative effort to prohibit building a tunnel to close the 6.2-mile gap of the 710 Freeway Extension between the 10 and 210 freeways, Assemblymember Chris Holden now has set his sights on convincing the [LA Metro Board] to officially no longer consider the tunnel as a viable alternative. Metro is one of the two lead agencies, along with Caltrans, in charge of the proposed tunnel.” The project is a potential tolled P3.

California P3

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Truck Alliance, Inc., Aims to Bring Smartphone Age to China's "Convoluted Trucking Industry"

Bloomberg Technology  looks at Truck Alliance Inc., “an Uber-like service for [China’s] convoluted trucking industry.” The company is “trying to bring the smartphone age to a trillion-dollar industry that carries 80 percent of the country’s cargo, yet has haulers standing empty almost half the time.” One aspect of the company’s plan is “to sell users toll cards, gasoline, tires and second-hand vehicles via deals brokered through its platform.”

China

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PANYNJ Marks Construction Safety Week with Rescue Training

NJ.com  reports, “The Port Authority Emergency Service Unit in partnership with New York City and Bayonne first responders performed rescue trainings at the Bayonne Bridge last week. The safety exercises were done as part of construction safety week, the agency said in a release.”

PANYNJ

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Is a Third Span for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Feasible?

Capital Gazette  publishes a letter by former county councilman Richard Ladd in which he maintains, “The Capital’s coverage of the future of the Bay Bridge postulated a key question: Is it financially feasible to build a third span?” Ladd suggests that the state’s $5 million bridge study needs to determine “what is the best way to provide additional bay crossing capacity, how to fund it, where and when,” and he says timely answers are required.

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

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RITBA Pell Bridge Project Delayed Due to Weather

WPRI  reports, “A significant, multi-phase project, set to get underway on the Newport Pell Bridge, has been delayed because of weather. The work was scheduled to begin [yesterday morning, May 15], with traffic being limited to one lane in each direction on the Newport side. The Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority decided to postpone that work early Monday. It’s not clear when work will begin.”

Rhode Island Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority (RITBA)

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Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority Starts Reopening of Peace Bridge Lane

WIVB reports that by the end of this week, “all three lanes of the Peace Bridge will be open for the Summer season. The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority started the process of reopening the third lane [yesterday, May 15]. ‘The improvements we are making . . . are necessary for a 90 year old bridge and will ensure the long-term viability of the Peace Bridge as a premier regional and international corridor for travel, tourism and trade,’ Tim Clutterbuck, Chairman of the PBA Board of Directors, said.”

Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority New York

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RI Lawmakers Will Consider Bill to Ban "Lallygagging" in the Left-Most Lane

Associated Press reports, “Rhode Island lawmakers are considering a bill [H 5398] that would ban highway drivers from lingering in the leftmost lane unless they’re passing another vehicle. The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to move the bill forward to the full House of Representatives.”

Rhode Island

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One MP Dubs Trudeau Government's Controversial Infrastructure Bank Proposal a "Reverse Robin Hood Scheme"

Toronto Sun columnist Tom Parkin writes, “A barrage of criticism from think-tanks, economists and opposition MPs is tearing into a Liberal plan for a private Infrastructure Bank — but the Trudeau government is fast-tracking what NDP MP Guy Caron calls a reverse Robin Hood scheme.’

Canada Infrastructure Investment Trends

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