Tolling Proposals in Connecticut Push Federal Officials Into ‘New Territory’

Interstate 95 in Connecticut

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STATE AND LOCAL ROUNDUP | Chicago mayoral primary results ... new fees proposed for Uber, Lyft rides in Los Angeles … and Colorado Springs vaping public health emergency.

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Tolling leads our state and local government news roundup but scroll down for more from places like Sandy, Utah; Dallas, Texas; and Tallahassee, FloridaALSO ON ROUTE FIFTY … The Gap Between Workers and JobsPolicy Experts: States and Localities Need More Electric Vehicle Incentives …  What Hackers Have in Store for 2019Financial Institutions Working in Distressed Areas Call for More Federal Funding … and Small Bikeshare System to Launch in an Unexpected Place

Let’s get to it …

TRANSPORTATION & MOBILITY | The proposals taking shape in Connecticut to introduce tolls to existing free highways across the state has been something that the Federal Highway Administration has never encountered. “I think this is new territory for all of us,” Cynthia L. Essenmacher, the tolling program manager at the Federal Highway Administration’s Center for Innovative Finance Support, told the CTMirror. [CTMirror] … New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have agreed on a 10-point plan to “transform” the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the state agency that runs the city’s subways and regional commuter rail services. [Gothamist / WNYC; Newsday] … Officials in Los Angeles County are considering adding a new tax on Uber and Lyft rides to help fund transportation improvements and ease traffic congestion fueled by the popularity of ride-booking apps in the nation’s most populous county. [Los Angeles Times] … A bill introduced in the Texas House by Rep. Matt Shaheen last week would phase out toll collection and make all current toll roads free once the costs of construction are paid for. “With recent increases in transportation funding, Texas needs a strategy to rid our roadways of toll roads,” the Plano Republican said in a statement. [Star Telegram] …

GOVERNORS | A bill to legalize hemp in Indiana is advancing in the state legislature with the support of Gov. Eric Holcomb. [Indianapolis Star] … Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf has announced $4.4 million in funding for summer internships for at least 1,000 students. [WGAL] … A statement issued by S&P Global Ratings says that Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker’s 2020 budget proposal could “weaken the state’s budget trajectory.” [Pensions & Investments] … Although Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has “cleaned house” when it comes to his predecessor’s political appointments, Rick Scott’s administration picks are “welcome” to reapply. [Florida Politics] ...

CITY HALLS | There was record-low turnout at polls on Tuesday in Chicago, where there was a 14-way primary election to replace Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who isn’t running for re-election. The two candidates poised to advance to the April 2 runoff are two African-American women, Lori Lightfoot and Tony Preckwickle, a battle that “promises to be a donnybrook, pitting a new reformer against an old one who has since become a party boss.” [Sun-Times] … In Sandy, Utah, there have been city hall struggles over communications. Members of the City Council and their staff have been removed from the “All Departments” email group for city employees. “On the surface this may seem inconsequential, but it isn’t,” according to a memo written by two council employees. “This unwarranted action is both detrimental to us as city employees, and to you in your capacity as elected officials of Sandy City.” [The Salt Lake Tribune] … Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ “More than Mac” campaign has raised more than $37,000 for the Atlanta Community Food Bank, her office announced Monday. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution] … Does Dilworth Park, the public space adjacent to Philadelphia City Hall, need a Starbucks kiosk? [Streets Dept. via Billy Penn]

LAW ENFORCEMENT | A Dallas City Councilman Kevin Felder surrendered himself to law enforcement on Tuesday after a judge signed a warrant for his arrest. Felder was accused of hitting a teenager on an e-scooter with his car and driving off after saying to the boy, according to a witness, “Do you know who I am?” Felder’s attorney denied that the teenager was hit. [KTVT /] … One of the highest-ranking female officers in the Denver Police Department, Cmdr. Magen Dodge, has “detailed a series of interactions between herself and former Chief Robert White that she said show he retaliated against her for participating in investigations into his behavior and speaking up for herself and others, eventually leading to her effective demotion.” White said he was cleared during an internal investigation. [The Denver Post]

PUBLIC HEALTH | In Alaska, hospitals and medical centers are worried over the impacts of Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed Medicaid budget cuts. “You cut the Medicaid reimbursement to us, we’re going to have to lay off staff—there’s absolutely no doubt about it,” said Cheryl Kilgore, CEO of the Interior Community Health Center in Fairbanks. [Alaska Public Media] … In Colorado, the El Paso County Board of Health has declared vaping a public health crisis that is endangering teens. [Colorado Springs Gazette]

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

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