Daily News Briefs, November 4, 2016

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VA Taps Cintra-Meridiam Team for I-66 Outside the Beltway HOT Lanes P3

The Washington Post reports, “Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced [yesterday afternoon, November 3] that the state has picked a private partner to construct and operate HOT lanes on Interstate 66 outside the Capital Beltway, and for the first time in Northern Virginia, the Transurban company is not part of the deal. The winning group is called I-66 Express Mobility Partners, which consists of the Cintra, Meridiam, Ferrovial and Allan Myers companies. The unsuccessful bidder was Express Partners, formed by the Transurban and Skanska companies.”

The report adds that VDOT Secretary Aubrey Layne “said an important part of the deal is the $800 million in financing that will become available over the next half century to support travel options such as carpooling and commuter buses that allow travelers to leave their cars behind for the trip on I-66. Also included are improvements for bikers and walkers. In addition, Express Mobility Partners is to provide $350 million over the same term to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority in support of other projects to reduce congestion in the I-66 corridor.”

In a statement, Belen Marcos, United States president of Cintra, says, “Our consortium is proud to be bringing our experience delivering state of the art infrastructure projects that connect people to their home, work and communities.”

Transurban tells The Post, “While disappointed with the outcome, Transurban remains committed to its partnership with the Virginia Department of Transportation and to travelers in the Commonwealth.”

P3 & Privatization Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Washington (DC) Metro Region


I-66 Project Terms Signal New P3 Approach for Virginia

The Daily Press reports, “Virginia jumped back into the public-private-partnership game in a major way [on November 3], announcing the expansion of a key commuter route just outside of Washington, D.C. Domino effects from the deal could free up funding for transportation projects around the state, including Hampton Roads, using a reworked ‘P3’ model. . . . The plan is for private financing and construction groups to widen I-66 . . . and charge tolls, uncapped by the state, on the new lanes for 50 years. In return, the consortium will pay all construction and maintenance costs . . ., make hundreds of millions in other upgrades along the corridor and cut the state a check next year for $500 million. . . .”

P3 & Privatization Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)


MA Turnpike Toll Plaza Demolition Continues Ahead of Schedule

MassLive.com reports, “Demolition of toll plazas and reconstruction of some areas on the Mass. Turnpike is ahead of schedule, as much as two and a half weeks ahead, said officials with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Highway workers have been knocking down the toll plazas and reconstructing the areas in 23 zones between Boston and the New York border. Eighty-one percent of the 155 toll plazas are gone, according to MassDOT.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Turnpike


Bridgegate: As Jury Deliberates, Defense Lawyer Files Motion for Mistrial

NJ.com reports that the presiding judge in the Bridgegate trial “denied a request to re-instruct jurors on whether they should consider motive in determining the guilt or innocence of two former Christie administration insiders for their roles in shutting down the George Washington Bridge. But she did not rule on a separate request for a mistrial that has been filed under seal. [On Thursday, November 3], defense attorney Michael Baldassare moved for a mistrial in the high-profile political case, but his filing was redacted of any information that would give a clue as to what was at stake. The U.S. Attorney’s office also filed a motion in connection with the request, asking that it all remain under seal.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


James Fattorini Reappointed to Burlington County Bridge Commission

Burlington County Times reports, “James Fattorini has been reappointed to the Burlington County Bridge Commission. The Burlington County Board of Freeholders appointed Fattorini to his third three-year term on Oct. 26.” The report adds, “Going forward, Fattorini said he’d like to see the commission keep up with smart technology. ‘I think with the smart technology we have instituted in our bridges — around the country, not a lot of bridges have what we have,’ he said.”

Burlington County (NJ) Bridge Commission


Escambia County (FL) Commissioners Vote to Convert Bob Sikes Bridge to AET

Pensacola News Journal reports, “Effective Feb. 1, the Bob Sikes Bridge toll plaza will convert to an all-electronic tolling format and cease accepting cash. The Escambia County Board of County Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday night [October 3] to move to a fully electronic, toll-by-plate system in hopes of alleviating the traffic congestion that has caused long delays leading onto Pensacola Beach.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling)


RI Truck Tolling Dominates a State Senate Race

The Valley Breeze reports, “As the campaign season wraps up this week, truck tolls continued to take center stage in the Senate District 19 race. Incumbent Sen. Ryan Pearson continued to charge that challenger Bill Charette’s ‘entire campaign has been advocating for saving out-of-state trucking companies money and making the average resident pay for it.’” The two candidates are sparring over the impact of the RhodeWorks program and the contributors to their respective campaigns.

Rhode Island


CTRMA Says New MoPac Toll Lane Is Speeding Up Commutes

KXAN News reports that the MoPac Improvement Project’s new express lane is improving mobility. “A spokesperson for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority says in general, about 3,000 drivers are using the northbound toll lane . . . every weekday. During normal peak hours from about 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. the agency is processing about 800 vehicles per hour.”

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Express Lanes


Overview of HCTRA's Ongoing and Anticipated Hardy Toll Road Construction

KTRK News reports, “The Hardy Toll Road is about to get wider and longer.” The station provides a series of video reports on the present extension project and the Harris County Toll Road Authority’s “bigger plans” moving forward.

Harris County Toll Road Authority (HCTRA)


Officials Release More Details on Pontchartrain Causeway Incident

The Times-Picayune updates its reporting on last week’s strange incident in which a motorist forced his way through a closed Lake Pontchartrain Causeway toll lane, crashed after being pursued by police and then shot himself. (The report includes tollbooth and pursuit video.)


PANYNJ Police Nab Alleged Scofflaw with $74,000 in Outstanding Tolls and Fees

SILive.com reports, “A truck driver who attempted to cross the Goethals Bridge [on November 2] with an invalid E-ZPass tag was found to owe $74,375 in tolls and fees [representing 712 violations], authorities allege. The Queens resident is facing “charges of obstruction of governmental administration, petit larceny and license plate violation in connection with the incident, according to a Port Authority Police Department spokesman.”

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


Fitch on TIFIA Loans for TxDOT's I-35E Toll Lanes Project

Fitch Ratings “has assigned a rating of ‘BBB’ to a $285 million subordinated loan granted under the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA), entered into by the Texas Transportation Commission. . . . The Rating Outlook is Stable.” The loan provides funds for TxDOT’s I-35E toll lanes project.



Moody's Rates PANYNJ Bonds

Moody’s Investors Service “has assigned a Aa3 to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s . . . Consolidated Bonds, One Hundred Ninety-Ninth Series. The 199th Series bonds are being issued in the amount of $236 million, while the sale amount of 197th Series was reduced to $238 million from $433 million. The par amount of 198th Series is unchanged at $350 million. Moody’s maintains the Aa3 rating on all outstanding parity consolidated bonds. The outlook is stable.”

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ)


Canadian Experts Ponder Private-Sector Investment in Infrastructure

The Globe and Mail reports, “Canadians need to be sold on the economic benefits of private-sector investment in infrastructure – and the fees and tolls that may come with that, the chair of the federal government’s council on growth says.

The Globe and Mail also reports, “The head of Canada Pension Plan Investment Board [CPPIB] is taking a cautious approach to infrastructure investments in Canada as it retools its portfolio to manage the challenging investment environment.” CPPIB officials spoke to a parliamentary finance committee earlier this week about the organization’s investment strategy and the proposal for a national infrastructure bank.



Northwestern University Daily Provides Top Notch, Crackerjack, Intern-Hiring-Worthy Analysis of Transportation Lockbox Referendum

The Daily Northwestern reports, “The Illinois Transportation Taxes and Fees Lockbox Amendment is up for a referendum vote in this month’s election. If the measure is approved, the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution will be amended to include a line that does away with legislators’ ability to allocate funds intended for transportation to other uses.” (Curious about the headline? Note the Daily Northwestern reporter’s byline.)