May 14, 2008

FL: Bill dies that would raise tolls, lease highway
CA: Bright lights, big payday for MTA
TX: Mixed feelings on privatizing Austin airport
CT: Bridgeport nurses, parents protest privatization

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News Summaries
FL: Bill dies that would raise turnpike tolls, lease highway
Time ran out for Florida lawmakers considering a massive transportation
bill that would have boosted tolls on the state’s Turnpike. The bill
also sought to allow the state to lease from the Florida Department of
Transportation for up to 50 years the part of Interstate 75 that’s
referred to as Alligator Alley. The Florida DOT unveiled plans this
spring to lease the toll road to private investors. An analysis said
that leasing the 78-mile stretch of interstate would earn the state
$500 million for a 50-year lease. Land Line
CA: Bright lights, big payday for MTA
On Tuesday, commercial messages on mass transit in the Southland
reached a new frontier when subway riders began seeing a 15-second
video floating outside the train’s window in a dark tunnel near
Universal City. The first ad was a short promo for the film "Speed
Racer," featuring the main character’s car zipping and flipping about.
An ad for Target began showing later in the morning, complete with
dancing models. "It’s intrusive to me," said passenger Roberta Richey,
an actress. "If I want to see that, I’ll turn on the TV or pick up a
newspaper." Such video ads have become part of the subway landscape in
San Francisco and New York and are even more prominent overseas. But
they also have raised hackles among those who see the line increasingly
blurring between public space and commercial messages. The selling of
naming rights to stadiums and placement of billboards have been widely
debated nationally but seem less controversial on mass transit. Los Angeles Times
TX: Mixed feelings on privatizing Austin airport
An Australian investment company looks to take over operations at
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Yet members of the Austin
Aviation Advisory Commission expressed concern Tuesday that a private
company might only be concerned with the bottom line and not customer
service. KXAN(Austin)
CT: Bridgeport nurses, parents protest privatization
Some 200 nurses, parents and children protested the city’s plan to
privatize the city’s school-based health clinics, which were given
another three months to operate while that process is under way. City
Council member Robert Walsh, D-132, opposed the privatization plan and
led the crowd in chanting "Bill Finch lies," referring to promises
Walsh said the mayor made to not privatize city services and to give
residents a $600 tax break. Connecticut Post