April 8, 2008

Firms’ offer renews interest in Calif. highway expansion
Texas toll agency concerned about highway
Public money for private roads in Missouri?
The public’s coast in NC – editorial

News Summaries
Firms’ offer renews interest in Calif. highway expansion
A radical proposal to build an underground highway funded entirely by
the private sector has revived the perennially delayed 710 Freeway
extension project. Metro officials have confirmed they have been
approached by a financial broker representing major international
corporations interested in investing in the plan, which would use giant
tunnel-boring machines to build a completely subterranean 6-mile,
multi- lane roadway. Whittier Daily News (California)
Texas toll agency concerned about highway
The North Texas Tollway Authority board yesterday approved a
"three-pronged approach" to determining the value of State Highway 161,
a proposed toll project in the western suburbs of Dallas. The three
options were: returning to the market valuation study with the Texas
Department of Transportation; agreeing on the NTTA’s
take-it-or-leave-it valuation proposal of $548 million; or allowing the
authority to pass on the project. The proposal comes after the NTTA and
TxDOT reached an impasse over the value of the project. NTTA executive
director Jorge Figueredo listed several proposals that were rejected by
TxDOT. That led to the two sides shifting the goal from a "market
value" to a "negotiated value." Under a new state law, a market value
study must be conducted on toll projects before they are awarded to a
private or public developer. The law also provides public operators
such as the NTTA the right of first refusal or "primacy" on any toll
projects in their region. The Bond Buyer (subscription)
Public money for private roads in Missouri?
A group of Wright County, Missouri citizens say public tax dollars are
being used to fix private roads. The Mountain Grove Special Road
District is responsible for the upkeep of 60 miles of roads. Mike
Patchin says, “Our roads are dirt with holes in it." Patchin is part of
a citizens group that claims the road district is operating under the
good ole boy rule. Sam Parsons agrees. He drives the roads and is in
charge of fixing them. He’s the Mountain Grove Special Road District
foreman. Parsons says while many roads are eroded with dirt, his bosses
roads are smooth and level. Parsons says “It’s wrong what they’re
doing. It’s favoritism." Parson’s says he and two other workers have
always taken special care of certain roads, roads that board members
and their friends live on. KSPR.com
The public’s coast in NC – editorial
A main point behind $20 million in state money going toward some
property and facilities along the coast is to ensure public access to
coastal waterfronts, say state leaders who approved the funds. That’s a
worthwhile goal. North Carolina’s coast is rapidly being eaten up with
development, some beautiful national seashores being the exception. But
the beach ought to remain the public’s beach and the ocean the public’s
ocean — or perhaps both would be better characterized as belonging to
nature. If those people get priced out, and the state’s long-standing
coastal traditions fade, North Carolina will have lost something, and
the loss probably won’t be realized until it’s too late.
The News & Observer (Raleigh)