On your editor's one visit to Mexico he walked, and paid a pedestrian toll at the Gateway to the Americas, a City of Laredo bridge over the Rio Grande to the Mexican twin city Nuevo Laredo. It's a short walk and more relaxing that driving, given the extra scrutiny border inspection officials give to cars. Bridge I carries cars as well as pedestrians but no trucks.
The TX/I-635 LBJ Freeway toll lanes has gone to financial close, so - at last - construction can begin. Good news that a very large project, not without its risks, can still be financed in today's economy. It is the first major private sector road financing this year. Construction is due to begin early 2011 for completion by 2016.
Central Texas RMA are increasing tolls 15% at their Park Street mainline toll point Jan 1. Transponder or TxTag tolls rise from $1.35 to $1.55 while camera-based tolls for non-transponder equipped vehicles - Pay By Mail they call it there - goes from $1.80 to $2.07.
Good news from the North Tarrant Express (NTE) toll project in the Dallas TX area.
TxDOT's three month-long 90%-amnesty program on outstanding toll penalty fees garnered about 1.25% of scofflaw debt - $767k out of $61.6m. The recovery of unpaid tolls was much higher - $265k out of $3.2m or 8.3%. Recovery of violation fees was $501k out of $58.4m or about 0.9%.
10,580 people who took advantage of the 90% forgiveness program represented just over 7% of about 150,000 people with serious toll and penalty debts.
Central Texas RMA, the Austin TX toller had estimates from PBS&J their general engineering consultants that their Manor Expressway (290Toll) first phase would cost around $120m when the project was in the early stages of design in 2006-2007.
North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) are breaking with their practice of relying heavily on contracted consultant firms for legal, engineering, planning and financial services in favor of hiring staff. And they plan to recompete consulting contracts in place for years by periodic negotiation.
The Turnpike division of TxDOT is doing something unusual in the US at least - classifying vehicles entirely with overhead equipment using volumetric laser profilers. No loops.
DFW Connector, a huge new expressway complex on the northern and northwestern edge of Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will have a small toll component, but construction of the $1.02b project is being financed with tax revenues.
NTTA and TxDOT are opening the first segment of the State Highway 161 (SH161 or TX161) main toll lanes August 1. The new tollroad built by TxDOT will be operated by North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA), the regional public toll authority in the Dallas Fort Worth metro area.