Daily News Briefs, September 25, 2023

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Replacing The Cape Fear Bridge Has Priority In Wilmington, NC, Transportation Planning

In Wilmington, the urban center of “one of the fastest-growing parts of North Carolina and the U.S., every mode of transportation is under scrutiny,” according to WilmingtonBiz.com. The condition of the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and the certainty it needs replacement at an estimated cost of $400 million get prominent attention in the article. It’s noted that officials and consultants are “working on a traffic and revenue study analyzing the impact of a toll” as part of a lengthy planning process. A recommendation to finance the new span with tolls was initially rejected by metro Wilmington’s MPO in 2021. However, by late 2022, state transportation budget realities and the cost of keeping the current span maintained convinced local leaders to reevaluate their openness to a toll funding strategy.

Company and Agency Financial Issues And Reports Highway-Tunnel-Bridge Maintenance North Carolina North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) North Carolina Turnpike Authority


Landmark Washington State Funding Law Withstands Trial Court Challenge

The Columbian reports, on Friday, a Washington State trial judge dismissed an attempt to invalidate a landmark 2022 transportation funding law that allocated $17 billion for a wide array of public projects –including I-5 Bridge replacement — through 2038. The action, brought by a fiscal watchdog organization on behalf of a resident and a trucking firm, alleged that the law violated a state constitutional prohibition of bills that address more than one subject. The court ruled that lawmakers may propose and enact “broad omnibus bills that cover a general topic as the Legislature did here.” In a statement expressing disappointment over the decision, the watchdog group’s executive director said, “Because this ruling is at odds with other court decisions striking down legislation dealing with transportation on single subject grounds, we are considering every option, including and especially, direct appeal to the State Supreme Court.”

Company and Agency Financial Issues And Reports Issues of Law Washington State Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT)


Editorial: Maryland Leaders Need To Give Serious Thought To Hiking Tolls

The Baltimore Sun editorial board recently observed that, once inflation’s effects are factored in, Maryland residents holding an E-ZPass actually pay less to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge today than they did when its first span opened in 1952. “That stunning, yet often forgotten, circumstance is worth keeping in mind as the Transportation Revenue and Infrastructure Needs Commission” — or TRAIN, the special study group created by legislation — “continues its deliberations over how best to finance Maryland’s transportation requirements in the future.” The editors note that Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) chief Joseph Sagal suggested during the commission’s last meeting that statewide toll rates — which actually dropped over the past decade — may be overdue for an increase. Although they recognize that hiking toll rates isn’t politically expedient for state leaders, the editors maintain it may well be necessary as part of a responsible policy for funding the transportation system.

Cecil Whig  and WBOC weigh initial public reaction to Sagal’s message about possible future MDTA rate adjustments.

Company and Agency Financial Issues And Reports Economic & Social Considerations Affecting Transportation ETC Systems Maryland Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Toll Rate Changes


Maryland Law Foreclosing Automated Work Zone Speed Enforcement May Change

WBAL reports, a special Maryland state committee is continuing to study how to improve highway work zone safety by compelling drivers to reduce speed before they enter an active construction area. The group’s chair, Lieutenant Governor Aruna Miller, tells WBAL one solution involves changing a state law that requires a speed camera to be operated by a person, foreclosing the possibility of automated enforcement. Other measures under consideration include increasing speeding fines and modernizing work zone material technology. “The Work Zone Safety Work Group was formed in April after six construction workers were killed on the Baltimore beltway. According to a news release, there are an average of 1,000 roadway workers at more than 300 work sites in Maryland on any given day.”

Automated Enforcement of Speed Limits Highway-Tunnel-Bridge Maintenance Highway-Tunnel-Bridge Safety (Includes COVID-19 Impacts) Intelligent Transportation Systems Maryland Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT)


These are just some of the toll industry developments TRN is following.

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