May 30, 2013


TX: Moody’s downgrades toll road company. Moody’s Investor Service has downgraded the credit rating of the private company that built and operates the Texas 130 toll road extension, a rating that could continue to drop unless traffic “aggressively” grows on the road in the next two years. San Antonio Express

MI: Detroit’s Davos. According to a recent Reuters article, since corporate bankruptcies have declined, investors specializing in “distressed” hedge funds have begun circling troubled municipalities, with no city “attracting more attention than Detroit.” One financial adviser quoted in the story sounded a note of caution to the would-be vultures, noting that unlike a corporation, “you can’t liquidate a city.” But apparently no one informed Mr. Orr, whose spokesman, Bill Nowling, told The Detroit Free Press that the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts, including works by van Gogh and Matisse, was being listed as an asset in the event of bankruptcy. “Creditors can really force the issue,” Mr. Nowling said. “If you go into court, they can object and say, ‘Hey, I’m taking a huge haircut, and you’ve got a billion dollars’ worth of art sitting over there.’ ” New York Times

TN: Ex-lobbyist: Public education endangered. From school vouchers to charter schools, a former Tennessee Education Association lobbyist painted a verbal portrait of an endangered public education system at a recent “Lunch with the League” meeting. Oak Ridger

PA: Pa. may outsource all mental health services for inmates. About 10,000 inmates in Pennsylvania state prisons require mental health services — and those services may be completely privatized this summer.

NOAA Climate Research Funding Could Be Gutted Under New Bill. A bill being drafted in the House could potentially undermine the climate science research activities and the oceans programs of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It also would open up the weather satellite sector, which has been a troubled area for NOAA in recent years, to more privatization. Huffington Post