The US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on September 30 used a loophole to uphold the legality of Massachusetts Turnpike toll road rates that discriminate against most out-of-state drivers. Those participating in the “Fast Lane” program, almost always residents of Massachusetts, receive a 25 cent discount on Allston-Brighton tolls and a 50 cent discount at the Sumner and Ted Williams tunnels. Regular commuters would save between $250 and $500 a year.
Tag: toll road
The race for the Republican nomination for Alabama governor grew heated last week as a leading candidate faced questions over his involvement in a toll road deal. Tim James, 48, is running for the nod as a leading businessman and the son of former Governor Fob James, Jr. His opponent, Bradley Byrne, 55, is a former state senator and chancellor of the Alabama College System. Byrne and James traded verbal blows over the Foley Beach Express, a 13.5-mile four-lane route from the city of Foley to Orange Beach meant to bypass the congested Highway 59 for those willing to pay a $3.50 toll.
The first public-private partnership toll road established as a not-for-profit corporation has gone bust. The Connector 2000 Association, which operates a sixteen-mile, four-lane toll road linking Interstates 85 and 385 in southern Greenville County, South Carolina, announced last week that it was in default on its financial obligations.
“Traffic on the Southern Connector was inadequate to permit the association to collect sufficient toll revenues to pay debt service on the bonds which came due January 1, 2010,” a Connector 2000 Association statement explained. “The association has been advised that the trustee has made no payment of any such debt service. An event of default currently exists… The association is actively negotiating the restructuring of its bonded indebtedness with the trustee, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), and certain owners of large blocks of the bonds.”
Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (D) has not given up on his dream of adding toll booths on Interstate 80, a freeway that serves as a vital commercial link between New York and Chicago. On October 30, state officials filed an official memorandum to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) reopening the application for permission to toll the 311 mile route in order to help balance the state’s budget. “Without tolls on I-80, state lawmakers and the administration would have to plug a $473 million gap in next year’s budget, and that gap will steadily widen,” Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission Chief Executive Joe Brimmeier said in a statement.