As part of its Eastside Corridor Tolling study of I-405 and SR 167, WashDOT will hold public meetings next week on Aug. 18, 19 and 20 in Auburn, Bellevue and Renton. Due to increased population and employment over recent decades, the north-south highway corridor of I-405 and SR 167 serving suburban cities south and east of Seattle already suffers major peak hour congestion which would worsen without intervention as growth continues. Up to two (electronic, variably-priced) express toll lanes in each direction are being contemplated for I-405 along with the addition of another lane in each direction to SR 167, each of those likely to be similarly managed.
(Article as published at Crosscut) When California recently resolved its mammoth budget deficit, it presciently moved to ease restrictions on transportation public-private partnerships, which over the long run could help control costs to taxpayers of improving overloaded roads, rails and freight facilities. P3s, as the arrangements are called, draw from among construction, engineering, highway management firms – plus infrastructure investment groups often funded partly by public employee and building trades union pension funds – to form consortiums that get important transportation projects built more efficiently, and sooner versus later or never. A P3 consortium may provide consolidated services such as designing and building a toll bridge or highway section, and can also provide upfront capital if public funds are constricted, Read More ›
A committee hearing is schedule today for a bill (HB2211) introduced in the Washington State House of Representatives to effectively exclude the Interstate 90 bridge from an east-west bridge corridor tolling plan that would help fund replacement of the dangerously windstorm-prone and earthquake-prone parallel State Route 520 Bridge. The bridge replacement is estimated by the state to cost between $4.6 and $6.6 billion, as the Seattle Times has reported. Both the I-90 and SR 520 bridges connect Seattle with major Eastside job centers and will have to shoulder more traffic in coming years as population and employment grow, even if transit and vehicle trip reduction gain market share. Dropping I-90 from the corridor tolling plan is something with which the Read More ›
President-elect Barack Obama Friday is to name retiring Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood the next U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary. Though he has served on the House Transportation Committee, moderate Republican LaHood’s upside is his well established role as a bipartisan diplomat with close ties to Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, as the Chicago Tribune reports. He’ll need to use well the relationships he’s built in seven congressional terms. The surface transportation landscape poses big challenges and real opportunities for establishing a new way of doing business. This article about LaHood’s appointment, from the New York Times, highlights several important menu items. Mr. LaHood…has overseen major spending projects as a member of the House Appropriations Committee….The next transportation secretary will Read More ›