Florida Watchdog » A decade-long, multi-billion dollar plan to build a toll turnpike and extend two others got a subcommittee’s unanimous approval during the first week of the legislative session, but faces scrutiny from two other Senate panels before it reaches chamber floors. SB 7068 calls for $45 million in fiscal year 2020 and $90 million in fiscal year 2021 and then $135 million annually through 2030 from the STTF, totaling more than $1.3 billion, to finance a state turnpike bond to pay for the bulk of the project.
The New York Times » Long before the Morandi Bridge collapsed in Genoa, Italy, last year, killing 43 people, an economics professor named Marco Ponti took aim at the private company that managed the structure, raising two fundamental concerns. One was money. Mr. Ponti argued that Autostrade per l’Italia, or Highways for Italy, which managed the bridge and more than half of Italy’s 4,000 miles of toll roads, made “abnormal” profits. The other was the lopsided power balance between Autostrade and the Italian government. Mr. Ponti, who served on an expert panel advising the government, said ministries did too little to regulate the company. Taxpayers were being shorn “like flocks of sheep,” Mr. Ponti said in a newspaper interview in 2003.
Agrinews » The “Build America Fund” would increase gas taxes for gasoline and diesel by 20 cents per gallon. The plan would phase in the tax increases, starting with a 5-cent increase and then moving to the full 20-cent increase by 2021 and continuing at 20 cents until 2027. The tax would be collected on motor fuel at the wholesale terminal rack, before the fuels reach the retail level. The American Trucking Association is promoting the tax increase as an alternative to increased tolling.
The Washington Post » Gov. Ralph Northam announced Friday that Virginia has selected a contractor to build two new tunnels and widen a major highway in Hampton Roads. The $3.3 billion price tag — funded by regional gas and sales taxes, tolls and other sources — makes it one of the two biggest transportation projects in commonwealth history.