As congestion grows and the need for reliable forms of transportation increases, the tolling industry’s focus must change from using tolling as a revenue source to using it within a managed lanes facility to manage congestion. Often, transportation officials tell the public that new managed lanes will generate revenue to help improve transportation facilities or that tolls only will be in place until the original project costs are paid back. For managed lanes projects, however, this misinforms the public and can mitigate the perceived effectiveness of continuously managing congestion along a heavily traveled corridor.
In developing a public-private partnership (P3) schedule for managed lanes, a toll consultant must determine its role during the initial stage of a project. Also, it should determine when and how the consultant should be integrated into the overall project approach, and whether early involvement justifies the cost. Typically, the initial project focus is on developing procurement documents, technical requirements, and managing stakeholder coordination. Often, the toll system is seen by developers almost as a commodity without the need to emphasize it until the project is well underway. Let’s examine key components of toll scheduling and how they fit into a project schedule.
Most new tolling systems are developed and implemented as All Electronic Tolling (AET) without a cash payment option for motorists. In addition, many traditional toll systems throughout the country have been or are being converted to AET. But how do agencies convert systems that may have cash, tickets, video, or automatic vehicle identification?
The Alberta Oil Sands in Canada are the third largest oil reserve in the world with 168 billion barrels, but it lies isolated and trapped. Currently, TransCanada’s Keystone and Gulf Coast Pipelines provide a direct conduit from Alberta to the refineries in the Gulf Coast of Texas, but it couldn’t meet the capacity demands. An extension, the Keystone XL Pipeline was planned, but landowners in Nebraska and environmentalists began to protest and lobby, and the project was put on hold indefinitely by President Obama in 2011.
The EPA has recently released updates and clarifications to its 2012 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and natural gas industry. These updates do not change the emission reduction requirements, but clarify technical aspects of well completion requisites, storage tank emission standards, and further explain definitions within the ruling.