Alibaba's Jack Ma will hold a conference in Detroit in June to help 1 million US small businesses enter the Chinese market by selling on the e-commerce giant's Tmall site. Alibaba seeks to invite 2,000 US small-business owners, educate them on how to sell to Chinese consumers and then help them partner with logistics firms to make the process possible.
Amazon is exploring autonomous trucking as a way of fielding its own transportation system for deliveries, sources said. The report said Amazon, which previously launched a vehicle-research portal and whose portal Alexa has made its way into vehicle connectivity systems, is seeking avenues for more efficient deliveries.
Grocery delivery service Instacart is speeding up its growth in the US after raising $400 million in funding, with the goal of being available to 80% of US households by next year. Instacart will need to hire 1,000 more people to shop and make deliveries, as the company expands into four new markets this week, bringing its presence to 45 total US markets, according to Vice President of Product Elliot Shmukler.
Think tank Next 10 says the recent 12-cents-a-gallon increase in the gas tax is not enough to fix aging roads and bridges in California because more fuel-efficient and electric vehicles make the gas-tax model outdated. The group contends that tolling and a mileage-based tax are better ways to make a dent in the estimated $137 billion deferred maintenance needs for the state's roads.
A committee of the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority has approved a $4 billion plan to widen and rebuild Interstate 294, and the plan now advances to the full board. Officials want to add a lane in both directions to a 22-mile section of the tollway from near O'Hare International Airport to 95th Street and install a traffic information system.
Roads and bridges across the US are aging, and tolling is often suggested as a way to fund a massive infrastructure initiative. New technology has made tolling an efficient way to collect revenue, and the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association sees tolled roads in the US increasing from 5,000 miles in 2014 to 25,000 miles by 2030.
The Ohio River bridges between Ohio and Kentucky met revenue projections for the first quarter this year and will likely meet projections for the first half of the year. The bridges have collected $8.6 million from local drivers, and $6.8 million is expected from drivers who use E-ZPass transponders but are located outside the local area.
Plans for a 7-mile-long toll road near San Antonio, Texas, from Interstate 10 to Wagon Hill Way still need to be finalized. The road would be privately financed and would be meant to relieve congestion north of San Antonio, where officials says growth is inevitable.
Atlanta is dealing with major gridlock after a section of Interstate 85 collapsed because of a fire. To help commuters find new routes and deal with the congestion, CommuteATL.com has been developed. It gives real-time traffic data based on information from Waze, a driving app, and cameras from the Georgia Department of Transportation and shows ways for commuters to better take advantage of public transportation.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is to tear down the state's last toll booths in May after the agency switched to all-electronic toll collection. The work will involve the Sumner Tunnel toll plaza in East Boston and will require overnight closures.
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