May 19, 2008

PA: Spanish group is high bidder for turnpike
NV: Nevada moves ahead with toll road
UT: Mining co. gets name for new museum
Obama links McCain’s Social Security stance to Bush’s
NY: Two counties differ on privatizing health centers
TX: Haggling over money after privatization bid fails
MI: Last county may outsource rubbish pickup
Sen. Dorgan against privatizing military housing
Revamped TVA board changed management, politics

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News Summaries
PA: Spanish group is high bidder for turnpike
A Spanish group submitted the highest bid for the right to lease the
Pennsylvania Turnpike for 75 years. Abertis Infraestructuras offered to
pay $12.8 billion for the lease, which Gov. Ed Rendell announced at a
news conference today. The governor’s been pursuing a privatization
plan to raise billions for the state’s transportation needs. He’s said
he’ll pass along the highest bid to the Legislature for its consideration.
If a turnpike deal can generate enough money, Rendell says the state
will abandon plans to introduce tolls to Interstate 80. PennLive
NV: Nevada moves ahead with toll road
Nevada transportation officials last week decided to move forward with
a plan that would bring the state its first public-private partnership,
and its first road tolls. The Board of Transportation voted Thursday to
move forward with a demonstration project that would add toll lanes
along the Interstate 15 corridor in Las Vegas, one of the busiest
roadways in the state. The board, which governs the Nevada Department
of Transportation, was acting on the recommendation of a Public-Private
Partnership Advisory Committee, a 12-member panel appointed last year
by Gov. Jim Gibbons. The Bond Buyer ($)
UT: Mining co. gets name for new museum
Plans for a new Utah Museum of Natural History took a large step
forward today with the announcement Kennecott Utah Copper will
contribute $15 million to the project.With that come naming rights for
the new museum, which will be called the Rio Tinto Center, named for
Kennecott’s parent company. The University of Utah said Kennecott’s
contribution is the largest corporate donation it has ever received.
The new museum will be built on 17 acres of University of Utah property
adjacent to Red Butte Garden, opening in 2011. Deseret News
Obama links McCain’s Social Security stance to Bush’s
Sen. Barack Obama today continued his efforts to tie presumptive
Republican presidential nominee John McCain to President Bush,
contending that the Arizona senator’s Social Security proposal was
simply a continuation of Bush’s failed attempt to privatize the
government-sponsored retirement plan. "Privatizing Social Security was
a bad idea when George Bush proposed it," Obama told a forum at an
assisted-living facility here. "It’s a bad idea today." Los Angeles Times
NY: Two counties differ on privatizing health centers
In Suffolk County, moves are afoot to sell the county’s nursing home.
In Nassau, a years-long effort continues to improve and revitalize the
public nursing home. The sharply different approaches are vivid
examples of the counties’ divergent philosophies when it comes to
public health. Suffolk wants increasingly to involve the private sector
in areas once handled by government. Nassau, meanwhile, is deepening
its commitment to publicly financed health care and figuring out ways
to make it financially viable. Newsday
TX: Haggling over money after privatization bid fails
More than a year after Texas canceled a deal with Accenture LLP worth
hundreds of millions of dollars to run call centers enrolling people in
public assistance, the breakup is still not final. Since Executive
Commissioner Albert Hawkins announced the end of the Accenture deal in
March 2007, the divorcelike process has involved negotiating over money
and assets tied to what started as a five-year, $899 million deal.
Texas has paid Accenture nearly $243 million, Goodman said.

MI: Last county may outsourse rubbish pickup
The only municipality in Macomb County that does not use private
companies for rubbish pickup may soon outsource recycling and compost,
but cost-conscious officials insist they’re not looking to slam the lid
on Warren’s unionized workers. Past attempts to fully privatize trash
collection created a firestorm of controversy. Macomb Daily
Sen. Dorgan against privatizing military housing
Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., visited Grand Forks Air Force Base, where he
talked about a Pentagon proposal to privatize housing on the nation’s
military installations. The Air Force has said recently it plans, by
mid-2009, to turn over ownership of all military housing to private
contractors, who would collect rent from military personnel. Under the
plan, the contractors would sign 50-year contracts to maintain the
facilities. Dorgan opposes the proposal, saying the housing stock at
the Grand Forks and Minot bases are in good condition. “I think this
plan is a bad idea, and I’m going to try to put a stop to it,” Dorgan
said. “This policy isn’t limited to the Air Force; it’s being
implemented throughout the Department of Defense. But I don’t see any
sense in turning over some of the best housing stock in the world to
private contractors. That’s not in the interest of our taxpayers or the
personnel who are living there.” The Dickinson Press (Dickinson, ND)
Revamped TVA board changed management, politics
Even Kentucky’s U.S. Sens. Jim Bunning and Mitch McConnell, both
Republicans, have agreed for now not to push legislation they
introduced in 2007 that would bring the Tennessee Valley Authority
under regulation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Agency and order the
U.S. Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on privatizing
TVA. Sen. Bunning said he introduced the measure when five Kentucky
distributors of TVA wanted to break from the federal agency but TVA
balked on transmission line connections for such a move. But the new
TVA board and staff last year worked out an agreement with the
distributors and two of them ultimately agreed to stick with TVA.
Chattanooga Times Free Press