Daily News Briefs, September 8, 2016

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Judge Rejects Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit over Texas 45 SW, South MoPac

Austin American-Statesman reports, “U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel has decided not to dismiss the case filed by the Save Our Springs Alliance and others who say the Texas Department of Transportation and Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority’s plans for Texas 45 Southwest, along with the proposed addition of toll lanes on South MoPac Boulevard and two MoPac intersection projects should have all been examined under a single environmental study. Instead, the lawsuit will go to trial. . . .”

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Issues of Law Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT)


Osceola County Expressway Authority Reports on Initial Poinciana Parkway Revenue

Osceola News-Gazette reports, “The Osceola County Expressway Authority recently made history. For the first time in its six-year history, OCX reported income it generated itself and not from state or federal transportation grants. With the northern segment of the Poinciana Parkway open and collecting a $1.75 toll north of Marigold Avenue as of June 1, the county’s toll-road authority announced it collected $157,745 in revenues during June.” [Link added.] The report adds, “AECOM Project Manager Jan Everett reported traffic counts of over 5,000 on weekdays, with a high of 6,200 on Aug. 12. The number on Aug. 15, the first day of school in Osceola County, was 5,738, the highest number on a Monday since collections began.”

Osceola County Expressway Authority


Federal Appeals Court: Bridgegate Unindicted Co-Conspirators' Names Can Remain Secret

The Wall Street Journal reports, “A federal appeals court on Wednesday [September 7] blocked a court order that would have revealed a list of people prosecutors call ‘unindicted co-conspirators’ in the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal.” Click here to read the court’s opinion.

NJ.com reports that the group of news organizations that tried to compel federal prosecutors to disclose the names expressed disappointment with the ruling. “We continue to believe that the public is entitled to the list of unindicted coconspirators under the First Amendment,” an attorney for the group said.

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


San Clemente Officials to TCA: No Dice on Extending 241 Toll Road

The Orange County Register reports, “The City Council says it’s fine with Orange County’s tollway agency pondering ways to improve mobility, as long as the options don’t include double-tracking the coastal rail corridor or extending the 241 Toll Road into San Clemente.” The report adds, “The council voted 5-0 [on September 6] to inform the Transportation Corridor Agencies that the city will oppose any attempt to . . . cut through San Clemente with the 241 or extend the 241 south from Oso Parkway to the inland terminus of Avenida Pico.” [Link added.]

California Transportation Corridor Agencies (CA)


PA Turnpike Connection to I-95 Project Advancing

CBS News Philadelphia reports, “Crews are preparing to start another phase of the construction project that will connect Interstate 95 with the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Bucks County.” The report adds, “The bridge construction and I-95 connections with the Turnpike are expected to be completed by May 2019.” The $1.4 billion project will provide an unbroken I-95 between Maine and Florida.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC)


Push for PA Pike Toll Enforcement Legislation Gains Traction

York Daily Record’s editorial board supports “common-sense reforms” that state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called for in an audit released earlier this week. “The auditor general’s office recommended that the turnpike commission be granted the authority to suspend vehicle registrations and set fines for repeat offenders.” The editors add, “It’s also absurd that the commonwealth does not have agreements with surrounding states to enforce one another’s toll laws.”

Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission


WI Republicans Eye User Fees, Toll Roads

WISC News (Madison) reports, “Republicans who control the Wisconsin state Assembly said their priorities for next year include raising user fees and possibly implementing toll roads to plug the state’s transportation funding shortfall. . . .”



For MoPac Express, the End is Nigh. Honest.

Austin American-Statesman reports, “The MoPac construction project — like ‘Modern Family,’ childhood and the presidential election — has to end sometime. That time is finally nearing, road officials said Wednesday [September 7]. Really.” CTRMA’s Jeff Dailey tells the newspaper, “We’re weeks away” from opening an interim, northbound segment of the MoPac Express north of RM 2222.

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) Texas


City Council Fights MnDOT's Proposed I-35W Pay Lane Project

Star Tribune reports, “The Lino Lakes City Council held off giving the Minnesota Department of Transportation municipal consent for the 35W expansion project, which would add a MnPass lane in each direction from Roseville to Blaine, at its Aug. 22 meeting.” [Link added.]

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) (MnPASS)


TN Newspaper Backs Mileage Tax, Tolls, or Fees on "Heavier Trucks" to Fund Transportation

The Tennessean editorial board urges lawmakers to tackle the issue of long-term transportation funding, writing, “However, there are numerous options the state could and should explore. Why not look at a financing structure that puts the burden on the drivers who use the roads the most? A mileage tax or tolls or a fee on heavier vehicles could address that.” (Governor Bill Haslam has called a special session of the legislature to prevent the loss of $60 million in federal funds due to a state law that does not conform to the national blood-alcohol level standard.)



DelDOT Says 2016 Labor Day Weekend Traffic and Revenue Were Down

Delaware Public Media reports, “Fewer motorists drove through Delaware’s toll plazas over the Labor Day weekend, according to data from the Delaware Department of Transportation. Labor Day weekend saw just over 888,000 drivers pass through the First State’s three major toll plazas on I-95 and Route 1. That’s about 52,000 less than 2015’s four-day holiday weekend.” The report adds that revenue was also down $200,000 to $2.4 million.

Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT)


$143 Million NJ Turnpike Bridge Project Is on Schedule Despite Fire

The Press of Atlantic City reports that a September 6 fire on the Beesleys Point Bridge did not endanger the public and will not affect the schedule for the bridge’s demolition. “The NJTA is undertaking the demolition as part of a $143 million contract to reconstruct the southbound Garden State Parkway bridge over the Great Egg Harbor,” the newspaper reports.

New Jersey Turnpike Authority (NJTA)


KTA Huddles with NWS over Weather Alerts

KSN News reports that officials from the Kansas Turnpike Authority and the National Weather Service met after the authority recently issued tweets alerting drivers to a tornado warning, despite the fact that the National Weather Service did not issue a tornado warning for the location. KTA has been disseminating weather warnings obtained from Accuweather, a private forecasting company. The report adds, “KTA released this statement to KSN: ‘Our goal remains that we want to provide customers with accurate weather information as it pertains to their drive on the Kansas Turnpike so they can make the best travel decisions.’”

Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA)


KTA Winter Expo Attendance Doubles, Job Fair for 300 High School Students Slated for Today

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports, “Attendance at the Kansas Turnpike Authority’s Winter Expo has doubled from that of its first year, the event’s coordinator said Wednesday [September 7].” The report adds that today’s final, half-day session includes a job fair. “[Doug Walbridge, maintenance supervisor for the north end of the Kansas Turnpike and coordinator of the expo] said eight high schools will bring about 300 students involved in local chapters of the National FFA Organization to meet with representatives of more than a dozen technical colleges, as well as vendors whose representatives can speak with them about the best education path for a career with their companies.”

Kansas Turnpike Authority (KTA)


Small Crowd for Latest Mass Pike AET Hearing

The Daily Item reports, “The auditorium at North Shore Community College was mostly empty on Wednesday night [September 7] when state officials briefed a handful of residents on how electronic tolling will impact North Shore commuters and more importantly, their wallet[s]. The good news for drivers is that with travel over the Tobin Bridge or through the Sumner/Callahan and Ted Williams tunnels, tolls will not rise when the state ends toll booth collection and goes electronic on Friday, Oct. 28.”

AET (All-Electronic Tolling) Massachusetts Turnpike