Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
October 31, 2014

Posts in "Toll Roads"

October 24, 2014

A Look Back: Congestion Pricing, Fuel-Efficient Planes & Sand For Fracking

452912796 445x317 A Look Back: Congestion Pricing, Fuel Efficient Planes & Sand For Fracking

Falling prices for jet fuel won’t hurt demand for Boeing’s new fuel-efficient 787 airplanes, CEO Jim McNerney said this week. (Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

This week we took a look at congestion pricing, tolls that vary with the amount of traffic on a particular stretch of highway.

Can that market-based strategy reduce gridlock in some cities where it is most needed?

The problem: older highways such as the Schuylkill Expressway in Philadelphia, one of America’s most congested roads, have no adjacent space to add a new toll lane.

Full story

October 23, 2014

Can Congestion Pricing Work Where It’s Needed Most?

452281681 1 445x296 Can Congestion Pricing Work Where It’s Needed Most?

Can congestion pricing ease traffic on roads like this one in Chicago? (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Congestion pricing of highways, or “priced managed lanes,” is now used from Houston to San Jose.

The toll goes up when a highway is more congested. Only people who most want to use that highway will pay the toll. Others will defer trips to off-peak times or try to find another route.

But can congestion pricing work where it’s most needed?

Full story

October 22, 2014

Infrastructure Loan Fears Misguided, Reader Says

98925153 1 445x296 Infrastructure Loan Fears Misguided, Reader Says

A Staten Island ferry heads across New York harbor. New ferry terminals were built in 2005 with TIFIA loan backing (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

TIFIA is the federal loan program, which uses Treasury funds to help finance state and local governments’ infrastructure projects: bridges, ferry terminals, toll roads, etc.

Last week I mentioned that the new bridge across the Hudson River in New York is financed partly by a $1.6 billion TIFIA loan. TIFIA, which is run by the Department of Transportation, stands for Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act.

Full story

October 20, 2014

From Texas To Wisconsin, Voters To Determine Transportation Policy

In two weeks, voters decide which party will control the Senate and House, as well as choosing 36 governors and 6,049 state legislators.

In some places voters will also be making transportation policy directly through ballot initiatives and referenda.

A common factor in three states, Texas, Maryland and Wisconsin, is the attempt to ensure that some tax revenues are used only for transportation and aren’t diverted to other purposes.

Full story

October 17, 2014

The Container’s Friday Q&A: ARTBA’s Peter Ruane, Part Two

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Peter Ruane, president of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Here is the second part of our interview with Peter Ruane, president of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton is talking about a new sales tax on gasoline, in addition to the state’s 28.6 cents per gallon tax on gasoline. I think Virginia made a similar move last year.

What do you make of states trying to make some revenue changes on their own to pay for transportation projects?

We had seven states do this last year, on their own, either passed a state gasoline tax increase or some form of that, a sales tax, some creative ways to bring recurring revenue. That the key word: recurring.

If Minnesota goes in that direction, I think that’s outstanding. Some of that is a reflection of their lack of faith that the feds are going to do their job and come up with a solution to the [shortfall in] the Highway Trust Fund.

 

There’s a lot of talk now about vehicle-to-vehicle communications and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications.

For example, if you had a vehicle-to-infrastructure system, it could relay information about traffic patterns and potholes back to the transportation authority.

But Bob Poole at the Reason Foundation has said that if you’re talking about embedding information technology in highways, bridges, overpasses, etc., it’s an immensely expensive idea.

It is very topical and there’s an awful lot out there. All the big auto companies have put out a lot of information on this lately and have made commitments that they’re going to accelerate their research.

We welcome it. Those kind of improvements are going to lead to gains in the safety area: we will see fewer accidents and fewer lives lost.

But there was an article in the Wall Street Journal recently and the headline was “The Internet of Asphalt Will Take a Long Time to Pave.”

We are all in favor of ITS [intelligent transportation systems], but don’t use it as a red herring. Don’t let these sexy technological solutions distract us from the immediate thing in front of us. Let’s deal with the Trust Fund, deal with the urgent situation we have right now.

The Container’s Friday Q&A: ARTBA’s Peter Ruane, Part One

3064307 445x299 The Containers Friday Q&A: ARTBAs Peter Ruane, Part One

Congress is facing the need to come up with new revenue sources for highway funding. (Photo by William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)

Peter Ruane, president of the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, is one of Washington’s most forceful advocates for infrastructure spending.

We discussed with him whether Congress can devise a long-term solution to the nation’s infrastructure funding dilemma. Full story

October 16, 2014

For New Hudson River Span, Toll Prices Must Wait

456789084 445x309 For New Hudson River Span, Toll Prices Must Wait

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo attends a ceremony last week to welcome one of the world’s largest floating cranes to work on the replacement of the Tappan Zee Bridge. (Photo by Jim Alcorn/Getty Images)

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, is far ahead in the polls and cruising to what appears to be certain election on Nov. 4 for a second term.

He’s out with a new memoir, “All Things Possible: Setbacks and Success in Politics and Life.”

But he hasn’t yet told voters what the tolls will be on the Tappan Zee Bridge in order to help pay for a new span across the Hudson River.

Full story

October 2, 2014

Abbott Says His Wheelchair Can Beat A Car on Some Gridlocked Texas Roads

Highway gridlock is an issue, at least for a few moments, in a 2014 campaign.

In a recent television ad, Texas Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott maneuvers his wheelchair and tells viewers, “A guy in a wheelchair can move faster than traffic on some roads in Texas.”

Full story

September 26, 2014

A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG-Powered Ships

470901883 445x279 A Look Back: Toll Lanes, A Big Bankruptcy, Hedging Gone Bad & LNG Powered Ships

A Las Vegas highway interchange (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

This week on The Container, we reported on the role of toll lanes in the North Carolina Senate race where donors to the campaign of Republican Thom Tillis could benefit from a new exit being built as part of a project near Charlotte.

Tillis is challenging first-term Democrat Sen. Kay Hagan, as the GOP aims for at least 51 seats.

Full story

When Hedging Goes Awry, On The Road And Aloft

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United Airlines jets sit at gates at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Investors and firms use hedging strategies to try to protect themselves against movements in interest rates or commodity prices.

But hedging sometimes brings grief, as two documents this week showed. Full story

September 24, 2014

Toll Lanes May Become Issue In North Carolina Race

NCPOL14 069 050614 445x284 Toll Lanes May Become Issue In North Carolina Race

North Carolina Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis during May 6 primary election (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Charlotte, N.C., TV station WCNC is reporting that donors to Republican Senate candidate Thom Tillis’s campaign could profit from a new exit on Interstate 77, which will serve a property called Augustalee in Cornelius, N.C.

The exit will be part of a project, which Tillis, speaker of the North Carolina House, supports to add toll lanes to I-77 to reduce traffic congestion.

Full story

September 23, 2014

Lessons of the Indiana Toll Road Bankruptcy

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As governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels signed the Indiana Toll Road deal (Congressional Quarterly photo by Scott J. Ferrell)

Since we’ve written frequently about the contentious issue of toll roads, we can’t let pass without notice Monday’s news that the company operating the Indiana Toll Road has filed for bankruptcy.

Full story

Manufacturers Say Bigger Infrastructure Investment Would Boost Incomes

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The giant drill nicknamed “Harriet” bores a section of the Port of Miami tunnel last year. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The National Association of Manufacturers renewed its call Tuesday for more infrastructure spending, issuing a report saying that “infrastructure spending has been on a decade-long decline” and that “when measured in proportion to GDP, the downward trajectory of infrastructure investment becomes even more stark and worrisome.”

Full story

September 22, 2014

Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back

JulyVMT Vehicle Miles Driven Continues To Bounce Back The number of miles Americans traveled on the nation’s highways and roads increased in July by 1.5 percent, compared to last July, according to the Traffic Volume Trends monthly report issued by the Federal Highway Administration.

But July’s total miles driven, estimated to be 266.8 billion vehicle miles, still falls short of the miles driven in July of 2007.

Full story

September 17, 2014

Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

1duncan022702 258x335 Bipartisan House Report Sees Growing Role for Private Money in Infrastructure Deals

Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr., headed a special House panel on public-private partnerships.

There was bipartisan House agreement Wednesday that public-private investment partnerships, which combine state and federal grant money and bonds with Wall Street equity and debt financing, should be an important part of paying for new transportation infrastructure.

But there was partisan disagreement among members of a special P3 panel of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on how large a percentage of infrastructure funding will come from the P3.

Full story

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