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Governor-Elect’s Advisory Board Endorses More Expansive Tolling Plan

The Merritt Parkway, or Route 15, is among the Connecticut highways being considered for tolls.

The Merritt Parkway, or Route 15, is among the Connecticut highways being considered for tolls. Shutterstock

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Connecting state and local government leaders

STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Texas driver’s license problems … unused computer equipment in Kansas … and Los Angeles teachers are set to strike in January.

Good morning, it’s Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018. Leading Route Fifty’s state and local government news roundup is transportation but but scroll down for more from places like Warren, Michigan; New York City, New York; and Laredo, Texas.

ALSO ON ROUTE FIFTYThe promise and peril of borrowing money to manage pension costsStates are eyeing cap-and-invest transportation policy to reduce emissionsFor the first time, a U.S. state will have a majority-female legislaturePolice use decoy packages to lure thieves  … and San José moves forward with a geofencing rule for scooters

Let’s get to it …

TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | Connecticut Gov.-elect Ned Lamont’s transportation advisory committee has endorsed a plan that would implement tolls for trucks and passenger vehicles on many state highways and interstates. Lamont had campaigned on a plan that would institute limited tolling for only tractor trailers. The tolling approach the governor-elect’s transportation advisory committee would come with more political risks. “We recognize that the tolling conversation isn’t easy, but we agree that it is a hard conversation that our state needs to have,” said Melissa Kaplan-Macey, who co-chaired the advisory panel. [Hartford Courant] … Uber-owned Jump has launched dockless e-scooters in Atlanta. [WSB] … The Texas Transportation Commission has approved $20 million in federal grants, including funds to help rural transit agencies replace 271 buses. [MyHighPlains] … Tolls will increase on most bridges in the San Francisco Bay Area on Jan. 1. [KGO]

(Shutterstock)

STATE GOVERNMENT | A Texas state auditor’s report released on Wednesday found that the state’s Department of Public Safetymay have given out thousands of driver's licenses without properly ensuring recipients live in Texas, have Social Security numbers or passed their road tests.” [Texas Tribune] … Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale released a report this week showing that the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development has “made progress in accounting for the millions of taxpayer dollars spent on job-creation programs.” [PAauditor.gov] … The administration of outgoing Kansas Gov. Jeff Colyer is trying to figure out what to do with $10 million in unused computer equipment stored in the Docking State Office Building in Topeka. [Topeka Capital-Journal]

CITY HALLS | New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who soon will be New York state’s attorney general, released a report on Wednesday that named the New York City Housing Authority as the city’s “worst landlord.” [Gothamist / WNYC] … The mayor of Warren, Michigan says that a recently released audio recording where he’s heard using a gay slur is “a phony tape.” It’s the latest chapter is a complex story involving Mayor Jim Fouts and controversial remarks, who was “secretly taped numerous times in City Hall by alarmed staffers” in recent years. [Deadline Detroit] … San Francisco Mayor London Breed wrote a letter to outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown to “consider leniency” for her older brother, Napoleon Brown, who has served nearly 20 years in prison following a manslaughter conviction and is someone the mayor says deserves a chance at redemption. [San Francisco Chronicle / SFGate]

WORKFORCE | Teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District are set to strike on Jan. 10. United Teachers Los Angeles announced Wednesday that its 31,000 members would walk off the job and there are “no plans to return to the negotiation table.” [Los Angeles Times] … The Charleston, South Carolina City Council voted Tuesday to approve a $159,000 contract with a Virginia company to conduct a racial bias audit of the Charleston Police Department. [WCDB]

HOMELESSNESS | The city of Portland, Oregon has signed an intergovernmental agreement with the Oregon Department of Transportation that will allow the city to clear unauthorized homeless encampments on state-controlled land, like state highway underpasses. [Willamette Week] … In Sacramento, California, a city-run homelessness triage shelter will remain open for an additional four months, the fourth extension granted to the center on Railroad Drive.. [KCRA]

PUBLIC HEALTH | In New York state, the Rockland County Board of Health on Wednesday fined nine yeshivas a combined $70,200 for “failing to provide student measles vaccination records. [Journal News / LoHud] ...  In Laredo, Texas, city leaders held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for two new mobile clinics for the Women, Infants and Children supplemental nutrition program, which will allow the health department to reach more underserved communities. [KGNS]

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Route Fifty and is based in Seattle.

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