Daily News Briefs, November 22, 2016

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MD Governor Hogan Announces $765 Million Replacement Plan for Nice Memorial Bridge

The Baltimore Sun reports that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) announced a plan on November 21 to complete a $765 million replacement of the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge, which carries US 301 over the Potomac River, by 2023. According to The Sun, “Administration officials said the state could trim costs by building a bridge lower to the water over a deeper river channel about 100 feet north of the [present bridge]. The replacement bridge will be paid for, in part, with toll revenue — which the state’s transportation secretary said is on the rise. Secretary Pete Rahn said last year’s toll cuts prompted a traffic increase, earning the state $62 million more than it expected. All of that money will be spent on the bridge.”

Maryland Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA)


IL Tollway's Route 390, the State's Newest Toll Road, is Crushing Traffic and Revenue Estimates

Daily Herald reports, “They might flinch at the 20-cent-per-mile rates, but drivers still are using Route 390, Illinois’ newest toll road. In August, a month after the former Elgin-O’Hare Expressway converted to a tollway between Lake Street and I-290, 4.6 million transactions cha-chinged into the [Illinois Tollway’s] coffers. . . . It’s 25 percent higher than the tollway estimated, and it brought in $2.9 million in tolls.” The tollway’s executive director, Greg Bedalov, tells the newspaper, “Every week more and more people are coming back to 390. . . . The numbers are continuing to grow. As we march east and make it a more valuable part of the system, we anticipate the numbers will be higher.”

Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (IL Tollway)


Christie Calls Reports Bridgegate May Cost Him Trump Administration Job "Crap"

NJ.com reports, “Gov. Chris Christie declined to say Monday night [November 21] if President-elect Donald Trump has offered him a job in the White House and downplayed the idea that he’d replace Reince [Priebus] as chairman of the Republican National Committee.” [Link deleted.] The report adds, “Asked to comment on reports that claimed Trump had become disappointed and angry with Christie over the Bridgegate convictions of his two former senior allies, the governor was unequivocal. ‘Crap,’ the governor insisted. ‘Crap.’ Christie made the comments during his monthly radio program.

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


On WSDOT's I-405 Express, Average Lane Speed Drops Below Required Threshold.

The Herald reports that the managers of WSDOT’s I-405 Express face a new challenge: “Traffic within the lanes is now moving at 45 mph or faster just 85 percent of the time. That’s below the required 90 percent threshold, which the state had been meeting across the 17-mile tolling corridor until June.” WSDOT’s toll operations director, Patty Rubstello, told state transportation commissioners last week, “We’re looking at a whole host of things to try to address that. We want to look at any operational things that we can further refine out there to bring [the average operating speed during peak hours] back up.”

Express Lanes Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


Blue Water Bridge Workers Strike

Sarnia Observer reports, “Close to 50 Blue Water Bridge workers hit the picket lines early Monday [November 21] in what’s believed to be the first strike of toll collectors, cleaners and other non-customs workers in the history of Canada’s second-busiest U.S. border crossing.”

From the US side of the border, The Times Herald reports the strike “is not expected to impact traffic” traffic on the international crossing and Federal Bridge Corporation management employees are covering the strikers’ duties.

Federal Bridge Corporation Ltd. (Canada)


Two Fatal Crashes on Maine's Turnpike Strand Motorists for Hours. MTA Officials Defend the Response.

Maine Public Radio reports, “State authorities have taken some flack for their handling of two crashes on the Maine Turnpike Friday [November 18] that left hundreds and maybe thousands of travelers stuck on the road for nearly five hours. They are acknowledging some shortfalls in communications with the public and apologizing for the inconvenience. But they are firmly holding that they had other priorities too: securing a potential crime scene, averting further accidents and showing respect for the man and young boy who were killed.”

Maine Turnpike Authority


CRRMA's César Chávez Express Toll Lanes Still Running a Deficit

KFOX14 reports that the Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority’s César Chávez Express Toll Lanes facility has a combined operating deficit of about $593,000. Although annual revenue increased between 2014 and 2016 (from approximately $107,000 to $331,000), operating expenses also grew (to about $502,500 in 2016). CRRMA executive director Raymond Telles tells the station, “You can expect those numbers to be lower because [the toll lanes] are not connecting to any other facilities,” but “Borderwest Expressway – the huge project, 639 million roughly – that’s being built from downtown [El Paso] to the west side will connect to César Chávez.”

Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority (CRRMA) Texas


Transurban Board Chairman Maxsted Could Be Moving On

The Australian Financial Review reports that Transurban may soon be looking for a new board chair. Lindsay Maxsted, the current chairman, appears to be the favorite to succeed to the chairmanship of BHP Billiton Ltd., the Australian natural resources development company.

Australia Transurban


ORB's RiverLink Toll System Will Activate Soon after Testing

WLKY reports that the start of Ohio River Bridges tolling, expected in December, will quickly follow the end of the cashless collection system’s testing. “There’s not going to be a lot of time when we make that announcement and tolling starts. Now is the time to open that [transponder] account,” ORB project spokesperson Mindy Peterson is quoted as telling the audience at a RiverLink toll system information meeting.

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges


Local Businesses Offer Toll Rebates Timed to RiverLink Launch

WHAS looks at how local businesses are gearing up for the launch of Ohio River Bridges tolling next month, reporting that, “Jim Epperson, Executive Director of the Clark and Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Campaign, said some Southern Indiana business owners will be offering toll rebates like food and drink specials, free dessert, or temporary price cuts. The deals are meant to entice their Louisville customers to continue patronizing their businesses.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges


AET Coming to MTA Bridges, Two Tunnels in January 2017

CBS News New York reports, “Two New York City tunnels and all Metropolitan Transit Authority bridges will be switching to cashless tolling in January 2017. E-Z Pass says the switch will eliminate the need for drivers to switch lanes to get to the right booth at the tolling plaza, which can often slow down traffic.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)


Maine Pike Opens Second ORT Tolling Location

Maine Turnpike Authority


Self-Driving Cars May Appear on OH Turnpike Within a Month

WVXU reports, “In the next month you could start seeing self-driving cars in Ohio. The state has been quietly marketing itself to car manufacturers as a ready, willing and able partner in the self-driving vehicle arena. According to the Executive Director of the Ohio Turnpike Randy Cole, companies have already done some preliminary mapping in central and northwest Ohio and are preparing to do more on the Ohio Turnpike and St. Rt. 33 between Columbus and Marysville.”

Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission Self-Driving Vehicles


NTTA Schedules November 29 Vendor Outreach Symposium

North Dallas Gazette reports, “The North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) will hold a Vendor Outreach Symposium (VOS) Tuesday, Nov. 29 at NTTA’s Collin County headquarters as an outreach to engage and educate disadvantaged, minority, woman-owned and small businesses on the process of doing business with NTTA. The symposium will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in NTTA’s Boardroom, located at 5900 W. Plano Parkway in Plano.”

North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) Transportation and Infrastructure Leadership And Workforce Diversity


TN Governor, Lawmakers Huddle on Transportation Funding, but Tolling Seems Unlikely

The Tennessean reports, “Gov. Bill Haslam said Monday [November 21] that discussions are beginning with legislators about a proposal to increase the state gas tax, but the details of the plan are still vague, at best. Haslam and Transportation Commissioner John Schroer met for an annual budget discussion, but Haslam offered little [sic] details about the proposal that has been on the table for months, but did say the way forward will require a new path.” The report adds, “Haslam has been a staunch opponent of toll roads and more than once used a farming analogy that suggests he wants to avoid passing any debt to the next administration.”



PANYNJ Sues Trucking Company over Unpaid Tolls

New York Post reports, “The Port Authority is suing a New Jersey trucking company because its drivers chronically blow through ­E-ZPass lanes without a tag, officials say. Drivers working for Alyssa Bus Transportation based in Union City used the lanes 360 times between September 2012 and February 2016 without paying tolls at bridges and tunnels, according to the Manhattan Supreme Court suit.” The report adds, “The suit seeks $10,000 for tolls and $17,000 for violations and administrative fees.”

E-ZPass Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) Scofflaws