On Wednesday, October 2nd, Transportation California Executive Director, Will Kempton joined government officials at the Donner Summit rest area to celebrate the completion of I-80. Caltrans finished rebuilding 90 miles of the highway which included restructuring seven bridges, improving lighting and drainage and adding new traffic monitoring systems. The 15 year project accumulated a total of $820 million with $76 million deriving from Proposition 1B. To get more information on the completed project, click here.
As cited in a recent report by TRIP, a national transportation research group, more than a quarter of the nation’s major urban roadways – highways and major streets that are the main routes for commuters and commerce – are in poor condition. These critical links in the nation’s transportation system carry 78 percent of the approximately 2 trillion miles driven annually in urban America. With state and local governments unable to adequately fund road repairs and with the current federal surface transportation program set to expire on September 30, 2014, road conditions could get even worse in the future. California is no stranger to these problems and even features the top 3 worst urban areas for roadway deterioration. Click Here to Read the TRIP Report.
JOC - U.S. cross-border traffic with Canada via truck saw increases in both directions in July, following two months of year-over-year declines in truck imports and exports, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Rail exports dropped this month, while imports continued to show growth.
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Starting this year, DMV will begin notifying Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) through a postcard instead of a letter. The Unified Carrier Registration (UCR) requires individual and companies that operate commercial motor vehicles in interstate or international commerce to register their business with California and pay an annual fee based on the size of their fleet.
To view the postcard, click here.
The American Association of State HIghway and Transportation (AASHTO) officials awarded two photographs of laborers working on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge for the Grand Prize and the People's Choice Award in the Faces of Transportation competition. About 19,000 voted online deciding the People's Choice award winner and a judge selected the Grand Prize winner.
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Sen. Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate committee that oversees transportation policy announced Tuesday of his uncertainty about Congress’s ability to increase funding for road and transit projects. As current funding for transportation projects is scheduled to expire in September 2014 – lawmakers are exploring various solutions to close the $20 billion shortfall.
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In recent months, tolls have increased on roads in states such as Main, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and many more. Brad Tuttle of TIME discusses why tolling is becoming a prominent option to fund crumbling national interstate highway systems and what Americans can expect in the next few years.
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By: Evan Lockridge
Trucking Info - A recent report by the Government Accountability Office report on bi-state tolling authorities that control some of the nation’s most heavily travelled routes, could set the stage for federal oversight of these groups, including when it comes to setting toll rates.
The federal watchdog agency says the report, entitled “Interstate Compacts: Transparency and Oversight of Bi-state Tolling Authorities Could be Enhanced,” was performed as bi-state tolling authorities have come under scrutiny for toll increases and other concerns, and it was asked to review their toll-setting decisions and oversight framework.
GAO found these tolling authorities have broad authority to set toll rates and use revenues for a range of purposes, but “a federal statute requiring bridge tolls to be ‘just and reasonable’ has less influence on tolling decisions, in part, because no federal agency has authority to enforce the standard.”
In their most recent toll increases, GAO found the bi-state authorities generally provided the public limited opportunities to learn about and comment on proposed toll rates before they were approved, including one bi-state authority did not hold any public toll hearings, while another provided one day for hearings.
External oversight of the bi-state authorities is limited, as only one of the four authorities has been regularly audited by a state audit entity, according to GAO, and of those that were performed “uncovered areas of concern.”
GAO says does not make recommendations to non-federal entities, but noting “nonetheless the authorities could benefit from greater transparency in public involvement and clearer lines of external oversight.”
For the report, GAO examined practices by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Delaware River Port Authority and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which together control 16 bridges and two tunnels.
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President Woodrow Wilson became the first member of the Lincoln Highway Association. That Detroit-based association, which had just been formally set up the previous July, planned to hold dedication ceremonies nationwide for its efforts on October 31. The group decided to use memberships to further publicize the idea of building a transcontinental route for motor vehicles.
Wilson's interest in the development of highways was anything but casual. He deeply appreciated the benefits of an improved system of roads nationwide, a view he reflected not only by joining the LHA but also when meeting with representatives of the American Association of State Highway Officials on the same day that association was established in 1914 and signing into law in 1916 the act that launched the federal-aid highway program.
The No. 1 membership card (or "contributors ticket") sent to Wilson was signed and dated by the association's secretary A.R. Pardington.
"The holder of this card is a contributor to the funds of the Lincoln Highway Association," read the language included on that card, "whose object is to immediately promote and procure the establishment of a continuous, improved highway from the Atlantic to the Pacific, open to lawful traffic of all descriptions without toll charges: and to be of concrete wherever practicable."
Wilson paid five dollars to join the association and the LHA, which arranged for that donation through a member of Congress, widely and eagerly promoted the first person to officially become one of its members. The card and the envelope in which it was sent can now be found in the Smithsonian Institution.
On a more personal level, Wilson very much enjoyed traveling in automobiles and did not let his job as president keep him away from leisurely drives on a regular basis. "No more ardent motorist ever occupied the White House than President Wilson," reported an article that appeared in the September 1916 edition of the periodical Northwestern Motorist. "Mr. Wilson probably has spent an average of two hours a day in an automobile since he became president."
In addition, Wilson's involvement with the LHA went beyond just becoming its first member. In 1916, for example, he agreed to have some photographs of himself taken on the White House grounds for inclusion in a film promoting the coast-to-coast enterprise ("President Movie Actor for Lincoln Highway," announced one newspaper headline).
Transportation TV - America's freight transportation network moved nearly $19 trillion worth of goods in 2011. Freight mobility is critical to America's economy and that's precisely why more than a hundred stakeholders attended the AASHTO and FHWA 5th Biannual Partnership meeting July 31 -- August 2. In this video we provide special coverage of the event which includes comments from USDOT Deputy Sec. John Porcari and an interview with Illinois DOT Sec. Ann Schneider, chair of the National Freight Advisory Committee. Find out what industry leaders say must be done today, to head off major problems in the not too distant future.