September 23, 2013


Feds may privatize air-traffic control. There’s no firm plans as of yet, but Bloomberg noted sides that had previously opposed privatization — including a national organization of pilots and an air-traffic controllers union — aren’t as stridently against it anymore. Pittsburgh Business Times (blog)

6 shocking revelations about how private prisons make money. Imagine living in a country where prisons are private corporations that profit from keeping their beds stocked at, or near, capacity and the governing officials scramble to meet contractual “lockup quotas.” Imagine that taxpayers would have to pay for any empty beds should crime rates fall below that quota. Surprise! You already live there.  Salon

PA: Pa. Auditor General Calls For Changes In Charter Schools. The abuse of public money is spotlighted in the indictment of former Pa. Cyber Charter School head Nick Trombetta. CBS Pittsburgh

ID: Oversight needed for public-private land deals. Last year the Idaho Department of Lands swapped out the University of Idaho Science Campus at McCall, which it managed as part of the state endowment lands used to generate money for public schools.…. The McCall property was estimated to be worth $6.1 million, and maybe it was since, after the Idaho Falls firm IW4 LLC obtained it, the property was flipped to another buyer for $6.1 million. However, the buyer was the University of Idaho, a state agency. So you could say the state sold the property to a private buyer for $6.1 million, which paid in the form of another piece of property, and then bought it back for $6.1 million. Or you could say IW4 LLC used the state to convert its Idaho Falls property into $6.1 million rather than just sell it to a cash buyer themselves. Idaho Press-Tribune

AZ: Tennessee Company Takes Over Highway Rest Stops, Now Looking For Advertisers. Arizona has begun privatizing its 25 highway rest stops this month.  The companies taking over management of the places where an estimated 9.3 million people per year stretch their legs, “use the facilities”, or take a quick nap are going to maintain the areas and monetize them by attracting advertisers. Tucson Citizen

VA: Va. Beach: No toll money for road maintenance. The state’s public-private deal with Elizabeth River Crossings requires the private company to maintain the roads for 58 years. The state contributed about $420 million to the project, but toll revenue will pay for some maintenance costs, Layne said…. Virginia Beach’s position is basically that it’s unfair to toll someone to cover maintenance costs for a road when that user is also paying taxes to support the state’s highway maintenance operating fund, Farmer said.  The Virginian-Pilot

NV: Cracks appear in private-public partnership behind proposed new dorms at UNLV….However, UNLV’s private partners, faced with skittish investors, want the university to become “more involved” in financing the project, which has ballooned in cost since it was unveiled a couple of months ago.  Las Vegas Sun