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Author Topic: Corridor H  (Read 387557 times)

Beltway

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #975 on: August 15, 2017, 04:47:52 PM »

That is odd that it is designated as part of the ADHS, but those VA counties are not in the ARC --
https://www.arc.gov/program_areas/MapoftheADHS.asp
This is ridiculous -- by any geographical definition, those counties ARE in Appalachia. As I always understood it, the definition of the region for purposes of the ARC was all counties within the Appalachian Mountains, plus counties that border them. That's how Clark and Madison counties in Kentucky got to be eligible for ARC project funding -- they border true Appalachian counties.
Yet the ARC territory has been expanded to include a few counties in Kentucky, such as Green and Edmonson, that by no logical means could be considered to be in Appalachia.

I count 17 Virginia counties north of Lexington that are either on the Blue Ridge Mountains or on the foothills on either side -- that are NOT in the ARC.

Like you say from a geographical standpoint they within the Appalachian Mountains or the foothills.

Could imagine the reaction if Albemarle County demanded to be in the ARC so that they could build a US-29 freeway replacement?  That is laughter inducing and gag reflex inducing at the same time.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #976 on: August 15, 2017, 05:03:28 PM »

And Virginia would get more bang for the buck spending that money on track improvements (particularly along the I-81 corridor) or on I-81 itself.
Virginia's failure to upgrade I-81 is Virginia's fault (and the fault of the PEC, which has set up at least one front group to object to I-81 improvements).  And I-81 does not just belong to Virginia, as it is an Interstate highway, the construction of which was 90% funded by federal dollars.

It is mainly the 'fault' of what it would cost.  At today's rates $25 to $30 million or more per mile for Interstate major widening projects, so that would be $8.1 to $9.8 billion for the 325-mile-long route in Virginia.

Not much has been said about this yet, but I regret to say that any number of needed and desired highway projects, I predict will never be built due to the fantastic increase of highway construction costs over the last 10 years, and still climbing. 

Unless very large tolls are imposed, and I don't see the public agreeing to that, I don't see these ever getting built, using a few Virginia examples --
-- No more than a small fraction of widening I-81.  Christiansburg to Troutville may be the only section that gets widened.
-- I-73
-- No increase in capacity across Hampton Roads.  The $3.4 billion to widen the HRBT to six lanes??  Unfundable and not worth the cost.

In Maryland --
-- No new Chesapeake Bay Bridge
-- US-301 Potomac River bridge replacement -- iffy.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 05:12:59 PM by Beltway »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #977 on: August 15, 2017, 06:00:26 PM »

It is mainly the 'fault' of what it would cost.  At today's rates $25 to $30 million or more per mile for Interstate major widening projects, so that would be $8.1 to $9.8 billion for the 325-mile-long route in Virginia.

And the fault of Virginia's General Assembly, being terrified of raising taxes on motor fuel - or setting up some other funding mechanism to maintain and expand the highway network of the Commonwealth.

Not much has been said about this yet, but I regret to say that any number of needed and desired highway projects, I predict will never be built due to the fantastic increase of highway construction costs over the last 10 years, and still climbing.

Virginia tried a PPTA-type project in the I-81 corridor, and it failed miserably.

Unless very large tolls are imposed, and I don't see the public agreeing to that, I don't see these ever getting built, using a few Virginia examples --
-- No more than a small fraction of widening I-81.  Christiansburg to Troutville may be the only section that gets widened.
-- I-73
-- No increase in capacity across Hampton Roads.  The $3.4 billion to widen the HRBT to six lanes??  Unfundable and not worth the cost.

If the  forecasts are correct, then there's another (steep) toll coming - congestion - especially on I-81 (a corridor that should never be congested in Virginia unless there's a crash).

How much would motor fuel taxes have to be increased per-gallon to fund these?

In Maryland --
-- No new Chesapeake Bay Bridge
-- US-301 Potomac River bridge replacement -- iffy.

The Bay Bridge is still being "studied" (whatever that means).

The replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge on U.S. 301 is funded for construction - to be paid for with  MDTA toll revenue bonds, which will then be paid by the tolls collected on MDTA highways and crossings.  I understand that MDTA is either in the last stages of preliminary engineering, or may have started on final engineering and design, for the Harry Nice replacement.

As you probably know, the other big project that the MDTA has going right now (currently advertised for bids) is the replacement of the Canton  Viaduct on I-895.  Also toll-funded.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 06:58:01 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Beltway

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #978 on: August 15, 2017, 07:54:37 PM »

It is mainly the 'fault' of what it would cost.  At today's rates $25 to $30 million or more per mile for Interstate major widening projects, so that would be $8.1 to $9.8 billion for the 325-mile-long route in Virginia.
And the fault of Virginia's General Assembly, being terrified of raising taxes on motor fuel - or setting up some other funding mechanism to maintain and expand the highway network of the Commonwealth.

Oh please.  Virginia's transportation funding tax stream is now above average in the states.  VDOT now has a $5 billion annual budget.

That was just an example, of the type of project that few if any states will be able to fund.

"Setting up some other funding mechanism" means TOLLS.

Not much has been said about this yet, but I regret to say that any number of needed and desired highway projects, I predict will never be built due to the fantastic increase of highway construction costs over the last 10 years, and still climbing.
Virginia tried a PPTA-type project in the I-81 corridor, and it failed miserably.

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).

Unless very large tolls are imposed, and I don't see the public agreeing to that, I don't see these ever getting built, using a few Virginia examples --
-- No more than a small fraction of widening I-81.  Christiansburg to Troutville may be the only section that gets widened.
-- I-73
-- No increase in capacity across Hampton Roads.  The $3.4 billion to widen the HRBT to six lanes??  Unfundable and not worth the cost.
If the  forecasts are correct, then there's another (steep) toll coming - congestion - especially on I-81 (a corridor that should never be congested in Virginia unless there's a crash).
How much would motor fuel taxes have to be increased per-gallon to fund these?

No idea, it would be astronomical.  You tell me.

In Maryland --
-- No new Chesapeake Bay Bridge
-- US-301 Potomac River bridge replacement -- iffy.
The Bay Bridge is still being "studied" (whatever that means).

The replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge on U.S. 301 is funded for construction - to be paid for with  MDTA toll revenue bonds, which will then be paid by the tolls collected on MDTA highways and crossings.  I understand that MDTA is either in the last stages of preliminary engineering, or may have started on final engineering and design, for the Harry Nice replacement.

"Iffy", as I said, it is a $1.2 billion project, and MDTA has a lot of recently issued toll revenue bonds for the ICC and I-95 ETL, that need to be serviced.

As you probably know, the other big project that the MDTA has going right now (currently advertised for bids) is the replacement of the Canton  Viaduct on I-895.  Also toll-funded.

A $280 million project that if not built soon will lead to that I-895 segment being permanently closed to traffic.  It is a replacement project, not an expansion project.
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Bitmapped

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #979 on: August 15, 2017, 08:19:07 PM »

-Holy grades Batman! Some were pretty steep.

I don't think any of the four-lane parts of Corridor H are steeper than 6%.  Given the terrain, that's pretty good (and lots better than the roads that were there before, such as WV-55 and WV-42/WV-93 (that one is especially bad climbing or descending the Allegheny Front between Scheer and the intersection at the Liberty gas station).

There's a 7% downgrade westbound approaching the Middle Fork River on the Upshur/Barbour county line.


At least one 8% grade...the US 48 EB descent into Wardensville:  https://goo.gl/maps/8hpKfQUdhiE2

The US 48 WB descent to Patterson Creek Rd is also pretty stout (no GMSV yet to check actual grade) and it is very difficult to not be going 80 mph at the bottom of that one.  ISTR another grade like that EB leaving the Bismarck area.

At any rate, I may be driving it both directions on Saturday so I will try to pay attention to this...

Mainline Corridor H at Wardensville won't be 8% when it is built. The grade is on what will be a ramp when this is all done. The other grades are in the 5%-6% range.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #980 on: August 15, 2017, 10:31:17 PM »

It is mainly the 'fault' of what it would cost.  At today's rates $25 to $30 million or more per mile for Interstate major widening projects, so that would be $8.1 to $9.8 billion for the 325-mile-long route in Virginia.
And the fault of Virginia's General Assembly, being terrified of raising taxes on motor fuel - or setting up some other funding mechanism to maintain and expand the highway network of the Commonwealth.

Oh please.  Virginia's transportation funding tax stream is now above average in the states.  VDOT now has a $5 billion annual budget.

That was just an example, of the type of project that few if any states will be able to fund.

"Setting up some other funding mechanism" means TOLLS.

Stating that VDOT has a $5 billion budget is not relevant, and  I understand that the Central Office is still cutting back on some things even with the tax increase that was pushed through under McDonnell.

Not much has been said about this yet, but I regret to say that any number of needed and desired highway projects, I predict will never be built due to the fantastic increase of highway construction costs over the last 10 years, and still climbing.
Virginia tried a PPTA-type project in the I-81 corridor, and it failed miserably.

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).

They seem to think that low motor fuel taxes and toll-free roads means that the highways will improve themselves - for free.

Unless very large tolls are imposed, and I don't see the public agreeing to that, I don't see these ever getting built, using a few Virginia examples --
-- No more than a small fraction of widening I-81.  Christiansburg to Troutville may be the only section that gets widened.
-- I-73
-- No increase in capacity across Hampton Roads.  The $3.4 billion to widen the HRBT to six lanes??  Unfundable and not worth the cost.
If the  forecasts are correct, then there's another (steep) toll coming - congestion - especially on I-81 (a corridor that should never be congested in Virginia unless there's a crash).
How much would motor fuel taxes have to be increased per-gallon to fund these?

No idea, it would be astronomical.  You tell me.

FHWA has a pretty good formula for such things, but I am not going to use it in this discussion for a variety of reasons.

But you assert that VDOT's budget is $5 billion.  How much would the Virginia motor fuel tax rates have to go up to increase its annual budget to, say, $10 billion?

Per-gallon Virginia gasoline tax is currently $0.162 (not including local or regional taxes like the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission's WMATA subsidy tax).  So how about $0.32 or $0.33?

Diesel is $0.202.  $0.40 or $0.41?

Compare and contrast with Pennsylvania, where the tax on gasoline is currently $0.582 and Diesel fuel, currently $0.747 (!).  These are supposed to be the highest fuel taxes  in the  United States in 2017.

In Maryland --
-- No new Chesapeake Bay Bridge
-- US-301 Potomac River bridge replacement -- iffy.
The Bay Bridge is still being "studied" (whatever that means).

The replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge on U.S. 301 is funded for construction - to be paid for with  MDTA toll revenue bonds, which will then be paid by the tolls collected on MDTA highways and crossings.  I understand that MDTA is either in the last stages of preliminary engineering, or may have started on final engineering and design, for the Harry Nice replacement.

"Iffy", as I said, it is a $1.2 billion project, and MDTA has a lot of recently issued toll revenue bonds for the ICC and I-95 ETL, that need to be serviced.

The bonds sold for the ICC are being paid-off on schedule, and the revenue traffic on the road is enough to fund maintenance, operations and bonded indebtedness (not sure how much revenue traffic is using the I-95 ETLs). Though all MDTA bonds are secured by the "basket" of toll revenues from all of its toll projects around the state, with the possible exception of the U.S. 40 Hatem Bridge.

The HWN replacement project would not have advanced to construction if the money  was not there to pay for it.

As you probably know, the other big project that the MDTA has going right now (currently advertised for bids) is the replacement of the Canton  Viaduct on I-895.  Also toll-funded.

A $280 million project that if not built soon will lead to that I-895 segment being permanently closed to traffic.  It is a replacement project, not an expansion project.

The viaduct is original to the 1957 BHT, and the only structurally deficient bridge on MDTA's highway network.

HWN is also effectively a replacement project, even though the bridge is in reasonably good condition (and even now, MDTA is funding a significant repair and maintenance project on the old structure), it  is functionally obsolete (narrow lanes), and does not match  up with the four-lane U.S. 301 on both sides of the crossing.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 10:34:45 PM by cpzilliacus »
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Beltway

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #981 on: August 15, 2017, 11:20:16 PM »

Stating that VDOT has a $5 billion budget is not relevant, and  I understand that the Central Office is still cutting back on some things even with the tax increase that was pushed through under McDonnell.

It is relevant when compared to the $3.4 billion annual budget before the road tax increases.

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).
They seem to think that low motor fuel taxes and toll-free roads means that the highways will improve themselves - for free.

Well, that is what the public and local officials think in every state, there are limits on how much taxes and tolls they are willing to approve.

But you assert that VDOT's budget is $5 billion.  How much would the Virginia motor fuel tax rates have to go up to increase its annual budget to, say, $10 billion?
Per-gallon Virginia gasoline tax is currently $0.162 (not including local or regional taxes like the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission's WMATA subsidy tax).  So how about $0.32 or $0.33?
Diesel is $0.202.  $0.40 or $0.41?

Need to add the state and local sales tax increments that are dedicated to VDOT.

Compare and contrast with Pennsylvania, where the tax on gasoline is currently $0.582 and Diesel fuel, currently $0.747 (!).  These are supposed to be the highest fuel taxes  in the  United States in 2017.

They need it, based on where they were 40 years ago. 

Remember how in misc.transport.road how I was one of the biggest critics of Pennsylvania roads?  That was partly because I worked for PennDOT in the 1970s and was dismayed about the lack of awareness of people there as well as in the newspapers and among elected officials, as to the nature of the problem and what to do about it.

Notice how generally positive I am about Pennsylvania roads today?  They have gradually worked themselves out of the hole that they were in 40 years ago, paid down the massive debt they had back then, have recently completed several major corridors, have gotten their road maintenance generally good overall.  Sure there are some major deficient roads, but I give them credit for the progress they have made.  Even the Turnpike may reach 150 miles 6-laned by 2024 or so, and 80 miles of extensions.

The replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge on U.S. 301 is funded for construction - to be paid for with  MDTA toll revenue bonds, which will then be paid by the tolls collected on MDTA highways and crossings.  I understand that MDTA is either in the last stages of preliminary engineering, or may have started on final engineering and design, for the Harry Nice replacement.

As I said, it is a $1.2 billion project, but given that the current bridge is 78 years old and functionally obsolete, they are going to be forced to replace it or close it.

The bonds sold for the ICC are being paid-off on schedule, and the revenue traffic on the road is enough to fund maintenance, operations and bonded indebtedness (not sure how much revenue traffic is using the I-95 ETLs). Though all MDTA bonds are secured by the "basket" of toll revenues from all of its toll projects around the state, with the possible exception of the U.S. 40 Hatem Bridge.

Probably about $3 billion in bonds issued for the ICC and I-95 ETL.

Problem is after the new US-301 bridge where does the money come from to widen the rest of I-95 in NE Maryland and to build a third Bay Bridge?  Don't think they will be able to do it without a massive toll increase, and the tolls are already high.

A $280 million project that if not built soon will lead to that I-895 segment being permanently closed to traffic.  It is a replacement project, not an expansion project.
The viaduct is original to the 1957 BHT, and the only structurally deficient bridge on MDTA's highway network.

Problem is on old freeways we are getting more and more of these very expensive maintenance replacement projects needed.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 11:22:34 PM by Beltway »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #982 on: August 18, 2017, 04:44:03 PM »

Stating that VDOT has a $5 billion budget is not relevant, and  I understand that the Central Office is still cutting back on some things even with the tax increase that was pushed through under McDonnell.

It is relevant when compared to the $3.4 billion annual budget before the road tax increases.

Better, but not good enough, given that the rate had been the same since the 1980's.

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).
They seem to think that low motor fuel taxes and toll-free roads means that the highways will improve themselves - for free.

Well, that is what the public and local officials think in every state, there are limits on how much taxes and tolls they are willing to approve.

Sounds like a failure of leadership to me.  And eventually the bill comes due, as it has in Pennsylvania (and even non-Pennsylvania residents get to fund the transit systems of the state with excessive tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

But you assert that VDOT's budget is $5 billion.  How much would the Virginia motor fuel tax rates have to go up to increase its annual budget to, say, $10 billion?
Per-gallon Virginia gasoline tax is currently $0.162 (not including local or regional taxes like the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission's WMATA subsidy tax).  So how about $0.32 or $0.33?
Diesel is $0.202.  $0.40 or $0.41?

Need to add the state and local sales tax increments that are dedicated to VDOT.

I made reference to the NVTC tax, but am not going to look  up the others.

Compare and contrast with Pennsylvania, where the tax on gasoline is currently $0.582 and Diesel fuel, currently $0.747 (!).  These are supposed to be the highest fuel taxes  in the  United States in 2017.

They need it, based on where they were 40 years ago. 

Remember how in misc.transport.road how I was one of the biggest critics of Pennsylvania roads?

Not especially.  Most people with some understanding of the subject have been critical of Pennsylvania in general.

That was partly because I worked for PennDOT in the 1970s and was dismayed about the lack of awareness of people there as well as in the newspapers and among elected officials, as to the nature of the problem and what to do about it.

Notice how generally positive I am about Pennsylvania roads today?  They have gradually worked themselves out of the hole that they were in 40 years ago, paid down the massive debt they had back then, have recently completed several major corridors, have gotten their road maintenance generally good overall.  Sure there are some major deficient roads, but I give them credit for the progress they have made.  Even the Turnpike may reach 150 miles 6-laned by 2024 or so, and 80 miles of extensions.

I will give PennDOT credit for getting a big bridge repair and reconstruction effort under way with  those dollars.

The Pennsylvania legislature?  Not so much, since the awful Act 44/Act 69 is still bleeding the Turnpike Commission dry.

The replacement of the Gov. Harry W. Nice Memorial (Potomac River) Bridge on U.S. 301 is funded for construction - to be paid for with  MDTA toll revenue bonds, which will then be paid by the tolls collected on MDTA highways and crossings.  I understand that MDTA is either in the last stages of preliminary engineering, or may have started on final engineering and design, for the Harry Nice replacement.

As I said, it is a $1.2 billion project, but given that the current bridge is 78 years old and functionally obsolete, they are going to be forced to replace it or close it.

At one point, Gov. Larry Hogan, Jr. was going to do nothing, because the bridge is structurally sound.

The bonds sold for the ICC are being paid-off on schedule, and the revenue traffic on the road is enough to fund maintenance, operations and bonded indebtedness (not sure how much revenue traffic is using the I-95 ETLs). Though all MDTA bonds are secured by the "basket" of toll revenues from all of its toll projects around the state, with the possible exception of the U.S. 40 Hatem Bridge.

Probably about $3 billion in bonds issued for the ICC and I-95 ETL.

Problem is after the new US-301 bridge where does the money come from to widen the rest of I-95 in NE Maryland and to build a third Bay Bridge?  Don't think they will be able to do it without a massive toll increase, and the tolls are already high.

They could defy  the Harford County delegation to the General Assembly  and re-toll all of the toll-funded JFK Highway  part of I-95 with an ICC-style virtual ticket system.

A $280 million project that if not built soon will lead to that I-895 segment being permanently closed to traffic.  It is a replacement project, not an expansion project.
The viaduct is original to the 1957 BHT, and the only structurally deficient bridge on MDTA's highway network.

Problem is on old freeways we are getting more and more of these very expensive maintenance replacement projects needed.

I think that is the last big project of that kind on I-895 for a while.  Patapsco Flats is well under way, the "K" truss bridge south of the toll plaza over the CSX yard has had a lot of work  recently and the  Canton Viaduct is advertised for bids.  There is some bridge repair work to come north of the Canton Viaduct, but  that's relatively small by comparison.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #983 on: August 18, 2017, 10:39:52 PM »

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).
They seem to think that low motor fuel taxes and toll-free roads means that the highways will improve themselves - for free.
Well, that is what the public and local officials think in every state, there are limits on how much taxes and tolls they are willing to approve.
Sounds like a failure of leadership to me.  And eventually the bill comes due, as it has in Pennsylvania (and even non-Pennsylvania residents get to fund the transit systems of the state with excessive tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

I don't disagree that more highway funding is needed, you may recall on m.t.r that I supported the TEA-21 pilot program for tolling 3 mainline Interstate corridors, specifically the VA I-81 project that VDOT obtained preliminary upon.  A mix of road tax funding, toll revenue bond funding and private capital funding, with tolls to assist servicing the bonds and capital.  VDOT found in the Tier I EIS that the truck-only roadway concept would not result in effective balancing of traffic between the car-bus roadways and the truck roadways.  They could have pursued it as a conventional 3-3 and 4-4 widening, with tolls.  There was way too much opposition to tolling from many entities, so the TEA-21 pilot project was dropped, and moved to VA I-95 and that too met a similar fate a few years later.

I would support higher road use taxes and more tolling in the U.S., including tolling a few selected very high priority Interstate corridors.

My main point thru this thread is that I just don't that happening in the U.S., it seems like people, the public and the elected officials have nearly reached the limit on taxes and tolling.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #984 on: August 19, 2017, 11:27:27 PM »

For one main reason -- the public and local officials would not agree to tolling the corridor, again something that has not been approved anywhere (tolling a toll-free mainline Interstate corridor).
They seem to think that low motor fuel taxes and toll-free roads means that the highways will improve themselves - for free.
Well, that is what the public and local officials think in every state, there are limits on how much taxes and tolls they are willing to approve.
Sounds like a failure of leadership to me.  And eventually the bill comes due, as it has in Pennsylvania (and even non-Pennsylvania residents get to fund the transit systems of the state with excessive tolls on the Pennsylvania Turnpike).

I don't disagree that more highway funding is needed, you may recall on m.t.r that I supported the TEA-21 pilot program for tolling 3 mainline Interstate corridors, specifically the VA I-81 project that VDOT obtained preliminary upon.  A mix of road tax funding, toll revenue bond funding and private capital funding, with tolls to assist servicing the bonds and capital.  VDOT found in the Tier I EIS that the truck-only roadway concept would not result in effective balancing of traffic between the car-bus roadways and the truck roadways.  They could have pursued it as a conventional 3-3 and 4-4 widening, with tolls.  There was way too much opposition to tolling from many entities, so the TEA-21 pilot project was dropped, and moved to VA I-95 and that too met a similar fate a few years later.

I would support higher road use taxes and more tolling in the U.S., including tolling a few selected very high priority Interstate corridors.

My main point thru this thread is that I just don't that happening in the U.S., it seems like people, the public and the elected officials have nearly reached the limit on taxes and tolling.

There are a lot of people that  I have spoken to in Virginia that are not especially happy with the PPTA or otherwise private-sector toll concession projects, of which several have had to have their debt restructured (Pocahontas Parkway and Dulles Greenway being two), and appear to charge high (by  the  standards of what people are willing to pay) toll rates (perhaps the most complaining being directed at  Elizabeth River Crossings consortium, though the Greenway has been the target of (failed) litigation related to its tolls). 

Transurban in Northern Virginia, maybe not so much, since all of their projects involve express lanes with "free" (but often  severely congested) alternative routes, though it annoys me professionally that they disclose the absolute minimum to the public about how well their lanes are performing.

From my perspective, the Virginia General Assembly should have established a separate state agency responsible to the Secretary of Transportation (similar to MDTA) to run new and existing toll road projects, though there are more than a few members of that body that are obsessed with privatizing as much of Virginia's highway infrastructure as possible. 

The CBBTD has always been a subdivision of the Commonwealth, and as best as I can tell, they done a good job building and maintaining and improving their crossing with no help from state taxpayers (not so happy about the closure of the restaurant and gift shop on the southernmost island, but I understand why they have to do it).

MWAA has done a decent enough job with their part of VA-267, though the tolls have been increased enormously to provide the "surplus tolls" needed to pay for most of the Dulles Metrorail extension to VA-772 in Loudoun County.
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1995hoo

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #985 on: August 20, 2017, 10:41:39 AM »

Regarding the I-81 PPTA proposals cpzilliacus mentioned, I seem to recall (I may be misremembering) that a major sticking point as to one of them was the contractor's insistence on a pretty strict non-competition clause that could have been construed as prohibiting improvements to roads such as US-29.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #986 on: August 20, 2017, 03:53:56 PM »

Regarding the I-81 PPTA proposals cpzilliacus mentioned, I seem to recall (I may be misremembering) that a major sticking point as to one of them was the contractor's insistence on a pretty strict non-competition clause that could have been construed as prohibiting improvements to roads such as US-29.

I do not remember that in the context of I-81, though those clauses have been included in more than one private toll concession contract since such provisions became famous on the CA-91 Express project (HOV/toll lanes on CA-91 in Orange County, California), and were one reason why the project was eventually bought-out from its private owners by OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority).

I recall reading that the 95Express contract in Virginia has a non-compete clause too.
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1995hoo

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #987 on: August 20, 2017, 04:02:24 PM »

Regarding the I-81 PPTA proposals cpzilliacus mentioned, I seem to recall (I may be misremembering) that a major sticking point as to one of them was the contractor's insistence on a pretty strict non-competition clause that could have been construed as prohibiting improvements to roads such as US-29.

I do not remember that in the context of I-81, though those clauses have been included in more than one private toll concession contract since such provisions became famous on the CA-91 Express project (HOV/toll lanes on CA-91 in Orange County, California), and were one reason why the project was eventually bought-out from its private owners by OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority).

I recall reading that the 95Express contract in Virginia has a non-compete clause too.

I'm not finding a primary source at the moment, but I did find the following on AARoads:

Quote
The major concern with the first option was that creator of the plan to expand the freeway to eight lanes, Star Solutions, included a request for a "noncompete" clause in its contract. That meant that VDOT was disallowed from undertaking any new projects that would increase the capacity or overall improve any highways within the I-81 corridor for the 40-year life of the Interstate 81 bonds. This red tape would have impacted U.S. 11, U.S. 29 and Interstate 95 among other north-south routes in the state.

I'm sure Scott Kozel will recall far more detail about it than I ever knew!
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #988 on: August 28, 2017, 01:53:07 PM »

[Content may be paywalled]

Moorefield Examiner: Is Finishing Corridor H Still A State Priority?

Quote
Working to complete Corridor H was a top priority for Former Governor Earl Ray Tomblin, just as it had been for his predecessor, now U.S. Senator Joe Manchin.

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And in the current administration, Governor Jim Justice’s Secretary of Transportation, Tom Smith is emphatic about the status of completing Corridor H: “It’s absolutely one of our top priorities” he told the Examiner in a recent interview.

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Yet, when Governor Justice recently signed two bills that could ultimately deliver a windfall $2.8 billion of new money for road building in the state, finding Corridor H anywhere on the list of projects to be funded was tough, and it was not mentioned in the news coverage.

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Corridor H, of course, is the four-lane, divided interstate highway that, when finished, will span north-central West Virginia, running from Interstate 79 at Weston in the west to I-81 near Strasburg, Virginia, some 143 miles, all totaled.  It also bisects Hardy County, running through Moorefield with the four-lane portion currently ending at Wardensville.

Quote
Buried in the long list of projects, and scheduled for construction in the first phase, according to State Delegate Isaac Sponaugle, is the route 219 Connector to WV 72 (near Parsons), which will create a four lane stretch for Corridor H, costing approximately $90 million.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #989 on: August 28, 2017, 02:48:34 PM »

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SP Cook

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #990 on: August 28, 2017, 02:52:00 PM »

Two comments.

- Like many states, WV has a requirement that many types of public notices be published (at rediculious prices) in in-county newspapers.  This has led to a plethora of weekly county newspapers that are often non much more than a couple of people writing up a few stories to wrap around the ads.  The papers are also, often highly partsian.    You should view anything said in such a publication with a grain of salt. 

- Among the reasons Corridor H was not finished long ago is that prior to the great shift in WV politics in the last 10 years, the most Republcan part of the state was the area Corridor H will serve.  With the GOP now in charge, if anything, the project would, if anything, be a greater priority.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #991 on: August 28, 2017, 03:05:08 PM »

With the GOP now in charge, if anything, the project would, if anything, be a greater priority.

I'm not sure that I would agree that the GOP will make Corridor H any type of a priority.  Especially, after reading many of the recent articles about the GOP being dead set against the bond proposal on the ballot this fall.  Yes, I realize much of that is because they are against Justice.  But, many leaders see money being needed in other parts of the state as being a priority. 
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #992 on: August 29, 2017, 09:28:59 AM »

- Among the reasons Corridor H was not finished long ago is that prior to the great shift in WV politics in the last 10 years, the most Republcan part of the state was the area Corridor H will serve.  With the GOP now in charge, if anything, the project would, if anything, be a greater priority.

I do not really care who is in charge of the West Virginia state government, as I do not live in the Mountaineer State.  But if any  of that speeds-up the completion of Corridor H (and recall that Republicans in Washington proposed getting rid of funding for the ARC (and presumably funding for ADHS) in their preliminary budgets), I am all for it.

As a Marylander, I also believe Corridor H benefits my  state by improving access to the  "back door" of Garrett County  via U.S. 219 from both I-79 and I-81. 

As for assigning blame for delays in completing  Corridor H, there is plenty  to go around.  Ex-Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Virginia 10) was instrumental in objecting to Corridor H in Virginia, and forced a delay of years in getting the road engineered and designed between I-81 and Wardensville. Then there's Corridor H Alternatives, which sounds like a pretty standard anti-highway NIMBY group to me (at least some of its participants have addresses far from the route of Corridor H - the  Web site appears to not have been  updated since 2001). And finally, some credit has to go to ex-EPA Region 3 Administrator Peter H. Kostmayer (nominated to the post  by President Bill Clinton), who told his staff that their highest priority was to use the power of the EPA to get proposed highway projects in the Region 3 states (which includes West Virginia) cancelled.  Eventually, word got to the late  Senator Robert C. Byrd that Kostmayer was actively involved in "citizen" efforts to get Corridor H cancelled, and Clinton fired Kostmayer.

Then there's a great summary of the history of Corridor H online on Gribblenaton Conflict in the Mountains:
The Story of Corridor H in West Virginia
.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2017, 11:04:41 AM by cpzilliacus »
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SP Cook

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #993 on: August 29, 2017, 10:12:10 AM »

Corridor H Alternatives was just a typical BANANA treehugger group.  It is hard to say NIMBY, because almost none of them actually lived anywhere nearby (I get the feeling most lived in their mom's basement).  Oddly they had no actual "alternative" other than just put up with living in isolation and poverty, for THEY had a tree to look at once every year or so. 

Of course, with a good chunk of H now finished, and the 100s of 1000s of acres of other woodland nearby unaffected, it is important to look at their doom and gloom predictions of enviromental disaster, and to thus dismiss them, and similar groups, when they spew forth on other projects. 

What I was talking about was just assigning priorities among projects in the state, which over the whole history of modern road building, the state pretty much got completely backwards, often due to either partisan politics or the complex interplay between WVU and Marshall U.  And more particularly, from long ago, what the GOP termed "giving back" the money to build the less controvercial western part of H (west of Elkins) by WV's worst governor, Jay Rockefeller.  (What actually happened was Rockefeller has so bankrupted the state that it could not afford to put up the matching funds and let a federal appropriation for that part of H, and several other roads, expire, delaying these projects by almost a decade).

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #994 on: August 29, 2017, 12:40:23 PM »

^ It's easy for you to deride that group as a BANANA group and mix a few of the typical stereotypes in there, but from what I recall of their website, there were a couple good ideas that the state could have considered for Corridor H:

- Given low traffic volumes (even with the supposed "development" that the corridor would induce), they could have saved some money by going with an improved 2 lane route instead of a full 4 lane corridor.  This also would've gotten it built somewhat quicker.

- Routing the eastern part via US 50 instead of WV 55 would have A) connected it to routes with more traffic to justify a 4-lane route (even now, 2-lane US 50 has noticeably higher volumes east of US 220 than 4-lane US 48) and B) tied it into already-existing 4-lane on the Virginia side.

Obviously, water under the bridge at this point.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #995 on: August 29, 2017, 01:24:19 PM »

This crew of extremists did use the "fix local roads" as a slogan.  What these people meant by "fixing local roads" (which, they of course, never drove on, not living here) was about what was done to US 52 in the 1970s, which was take out a few curves.  The idea that they actually would not have objected to any project, even a 2 lane, is simply wrong.  They wanted to kill H, and every other road project in Appalachia and elsewhere.   They cared more about a "nature" (a nature we now know was unharmed by H) than people.  Sad. 

It is also important to remember the MASSIVE cost of fixing the mistake of building Corridor L's northern half as a 2 lane.  What a mistake.   Glad we did not make that one twice.

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Life in Paradise

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #996 on: August 29, 2017, 01:26:31 PM »

The NIMBYs and the environmentalist groups (sometimes the same people, other times not), raised the cost of the project due to increasing the mileage involved and orphaning 8 miles of already completed road east of Elkins.  I remember around the time my wife and I married, some of her family lived in Grant County.  There was hootin' and hollerin' by some about the road going through there, in which it was to go near Harman and around Petersburg.  Nevermind that it was a much straighter route, some of the road was done, and would have been a big plus for their tourism business (Caverns and Seneca Rocks) plus some other small industry... they pushed it away, and it took over a decade for the updated plans to go through to reroute the road north of Elkins to its current plan.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #997 on: August 29, 2017, 02:31:42 PM »

^ It's easy for you to deride that group as a BANANA group and mix a few of the typical stereotypes in there, but from what I recall of their website, there were a couple good ideas that the state could have considered for Corridor H:

- Given low traffic volumes (even with the supposed "development" that the corridor would induce), they could have saved some money by going with an improved 2 lane route instead of a full 4 lane corridor.  This also would've gotten it built somewhat quicker.

Network redundancy.  There's no good (high-speed east-west highway across the mountains between the I-79  and I-81 corridors except I-68 to the north and  I-64 to the south.

Even had the road been built as an  upgraded 2-lane road, it would have had to be  three or four lanes in many places because of the steep uphill (and maybe downhill) grades.

Remember that one of the goals of ADHS is to induce demand.  For that reason, four divided lanes is better than two, even as a Super-2 type of road.

- Routing the eastern part via US 50 instead of WV 55 would have A) connected it to routes with more traffic to justify a 4-lane route (even now, 2-lane US 50 has noticeably higher volumes east of US 220 than 4-lane US 48) and B) tied it into already-existing 4-lane on the Virginia side.

A lot of U.S. 50 would have had to be  re-routed onto  entirely new alignment in several places.  And the nature of U.S. 50 between Grafton and Aurora is arguably a rougher trip than WV-42/WV-93 climbing the Allegheny Front from Scheer to Mount Storm (and significantly longer too).

Obviously, water under the bridge at this point.

Virginia  has done  nothing with their section of Corridor H (at least not according to the Six Year Plan dashboard).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #998 on: August 29, 2017, 02:37:00 PM »

This crew of extremists did use the "fix local roads" as a slogan.  What these people meant by "fixing local roads" (which, they of course, never drove on, not living here) was about what was done to US 52 in the 1970s, which was take out a few curves.  The idea that they actually would not have objected to any project, even a 2 lane, is simply wrong.  They wanted to kill H, and every other road project in Appalachia and elsewhere.   They cared more about a "nature" (a nature we now know was unharmed by H) than people.  Sad.

The "upgrade existing roads" was used by  opponents of the MD-200 project as well.  I suspect that they opponents had zero interest in that alternative, as when the 1997 Draft Environmental Impact Statement crashed and burned, they  mysteriously said nothing about upgrading those existing roads, but tried to revive that alternative after Parris Glendening left office and the new Governor Bob Ehrlich restarted the project.

Both MD-200 and Corridor H were targeted for cancellation by EPA Region 3's administrator in the  mid-1990's, Peter Kostmayer. 

It is also important to remember the MASSIVE cost of fixing the mistake of building Corridor L's northern half as a 2 lane.  What a mistake.   Glad we did not make that one twice.

I did not know that Corridor L had been built as a two lane road originally.
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Re: Corridor H
« Reply #999 on: August 29, 2017, 03:06:23 PM »


I did not know that Corridor L had been built as a two lane road originally.

Yep.  Corridor L was 4-lane only from the Turnpike to its JCT with US 60 and then only 2-lanes north of there to I-79, excpet for about 3 miles at Summersville.  All based on sharp-pencil estimates that failed to take into account the use of the road as a logical route from Toronto-Buffalo-Pittsburgh to central Florida.  The road became very dangerous and then the state had to go back and do it correctly. 

This increased costs because, one, the original 2 lane ROW had been accquired when much of this area was "excess rural land" of low value, but the extra 2 lanes had to be bought based on their value as being right beside a fairly major route; and two, the construction had to work to far higher safety standards, as there was a 55 MPH 2 lane road just beside what they were building. 

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