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Released: 6/23/2011 

DRPA To Invest New Toll Revenues To Make Bridges, PATCO Safer For Region's Travelers, Create Up To 30,000 New Jobs

 Effort Focuses on Making Sure Customers See The Benefit from Higher Tolls

The Delaware River Port Authority will use revenue from a toll increase that takes effect July 1 to repair and improve all four DRPA bridges and the PATCO Speed Line. The toll increase was approved by a previous Board in December of 2009 and will provide the needed revenue for $1 Billion dollars in planned capital improvements on critically needed repairs to roads, bridges and trains, making travel safer for the region's travelers while creating an estimated up to 30,000 private-sector jobs.  According to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), it is estimated that 30,000 direct, indirect and induced jobs are supported with every $1 Billion in construction spending. 

DRPA officials said the initiative responds to the public's desire that toll revenues be invested primarily in projects that benefit the commuters and other travelers who pay the tolls. This is a departure from previous practices in which some toll-generated funds were used for regional economic development projects.

The new one-way tolls, effective July 1, will be $5 for cars on the Commodore Barry, Walt Whitman, Ben Franklin and Betsy Ross Bridges. Tolls for all other vehicles will also increase. The 50% Senior Citizen Discount will continue for those enrolled in the E-ZPass program. Seniors who still have discount tickets may use any combination of tickets and cash that totals the new $2.50 discounted car toll. The DRPA remains one of the few agencies in the country that offers a senior citizen discount on bridge tolls.

Also effective on July 1 will be a PATCO fare hike of 10%. The one way fare from the farthest distance in New Jersey to Philadelphia will go to $3.00, a 30 cent increase. The off peak fare for seniors (age 65+), Medicare card holders and the disabled who are eligible for and enrolled in the Reduced Fare Program will increase 8 cents to 70 cents. Information on the fare schedules can be found on PATCO’s website, www.ridepatco.org.

The new revenue from the toll and fare increase will go towards bridge and PATCO construction work. The contracts for this work have been or will be awarded to private-sector firms based on lowest competitive bids.

            The planned construction projects include:

Walt Whitman Bridge:
Replacing the entire center deck of the bridge. The American Bridge Company of Corapolis, PA, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $128,085,778.

Ben Franklin Bridge:
Rehabilitation and structural repairs, including bearing replacement, as well as drainage and electrical improvements. Cornell & Company, Inc., of Woodbury, NJ, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $26,300,810.

Commodore Barry Bridge:
1. Comprehensive structural repairs, including bearing replacements, concrete repairs to piers and deck, application of deck corrosion inhibitor, drainage improvements and structural steel work. Iron Bridge Constructors, Inc. of North Brunswick, NJ, won the competitive bid for this contract valued at $20,441,243.
2. Security and lighting improvements, including the installation of a surveillance video camera system, a security lighting system and other security improvements. Carr & Duff Inc., of Huntington, PA, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $1,419,800.
3. Chester Ramp Widening Work on the PennDOT Chester Ramp Widening at the Commodore Barry Bridge will continue, with a scheduled mid-summer completion date.

Betsy Ross Bridge:
Structural repairs including bearing replacement, maintenance walkway- railing modifications, concrete repairs, drainage repairs and structural steel repairs. Cornell & Company, Inc., of Woodbury, NJ, won the competitive bid for this contract, valued at $14,114,422.

PATCO:
1. All 120 PATCO cars will be overhauled, creating hundreds of jobs, on a project scheduled for completion in March 2018.  Alstom Transportation Inc., of West Henrietta, NY, competitively bid for this contract, valued at $194,197,337.
2. PATCO's Haddonfield and Ashland Stations Parking Lots will be paved and repaired by American Asphalt Company, Inc. of Collingswood, NJ, which competitively bid for this contract, valued at $1,497,879. The work includes milling and overlay, full depth pavement reconstruction, re-striping, concrete curb replacement, sidewalk replacement, installation of new electric duct bank and drainage improvements.
3. PATCO Power Cables and Pole Lines will be replaced in a joint venture of Daidone Electric Inc. of Newark, NJ, and Henkels & McCoy, Inc. of Blue Bell, PA, competitively bid for this contract, valued at $28,559,305. The work will include replacing aging wooden poles with new, more durable fiberglass poles, as well as replacing the 26.4KV and 2.4KV power cables along the PATCO line between Lindenwold and Camden. In addition, fiber optic and other communications and signaling cables will be replaced.

"Keeping our bridges and PATCO well maintained and safe is our single most important responsibility,” said John J. Matheussen, Chief Executive Officer at DRPA and President of PATCO. “Our customers who pay the tolls and fares have every right to expect that their hard-earned money is being spent on keeping our bridges and trains safe, secure and serviceable. As a side benefit to the regional economy, these capital improvements represent one of the largest jobs creation initiatives in the Delaware Valley, adding an estimated 30,000 private sector jobs.”

Matheussen also added that “DRPA is also proceeding with plans to make traveling more convenient for commuters through Express E-ZPass.” The Authority is continuing to advance Open Road Tolling (ORT) projects. The design of Express E-ZPass at the Betsy Ross Bridge is nearly complete and construction is anticipated in 2012. The project will implement high speed electronic tolling for westbound traffic at the Betsy Ross Bridge Toll Plaza. The design of Express E-ZPass at the Commodore Barry Bridge will be initiated in 2012. The Commodore Barry Bridge Toll Plaza will be modified to include Express E-ZPass lanes for westbound traffic. A conceptual study at the Walt Whitman Bridge concluded that implementation of two Express E-ZPass lanes for I-76 bound traffic is feasible.

The PATCO accessibility improvement projects, initiated to create more access to PATCO at key stations, will result in the installation of one elevator at the PATCO Ferry Avenue Station and two additional elevators at the PATCO 9-10th / Locust Street Station. The contract value is estimated at $4,258,377.

The PATCO work will also include improvements to PATCO Stations under a contract competitively bid by A.P. Construction, Inc. of Blackwood, NJ. The contract is valued at $8,182,990. The first and second stages of the multi-phased project consist of a redesign and renovation of the Philadelphia PATCO concourses at 8th & Market Street, all the Locust Street Stations and the Camden City Hall Station.  This includes new flooring, painting, lighting and enhancements, stainless steel wall/column coverings, tile work and artistic wall image tile work.

The DRPA is a bi-state transportation agency that owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross Bridges, and PATCO. The agency also owns the RiverLink Ferry between Philadelphia and Camden.

The Delaware River Port Authority is a regional transportation agency.  DRPA owns and operates the Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Commodore Barry and Betsy Ross Bridges, and PATCO.  The DRPA also owns the RiverLink Ferry


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