December 16, 2013


Private Toll-Road Investors Get Low-Risk Deals From States. Private companies that invest in highways have typically shouldered the risk that income from tolls might not be enough to make the deal pay. Now, after at least 11 projects have struggled financially since 1995, the companies are persuading states to make fixed payments so it’s taxpayers who roll the dice. Businessweek

States turning to tolls, other fees to boost highway funding. More roadways tolls and other fees are in the works for 2014, according to a forecast report by Fitch Ratings, as state governments try to find ways to fund transportation infrastructure needs as the flow of federal money continues to shrink.  Fleet Owner

The Dangerous Return of Water Privatization. Community waters systems have sustainably provided safe drinking water for generations but corporations are now using local fiscal crises to push for water privatization. Utne Reader

Fox Panelists Continue Push To Privatize The Post Office. It’s deja vu all over again on Fox “news” where trashing unions and pushing to privatize anything and everything are some of their favorite pastimes.  Crooks and Liars

 IN: Indiana planning group signs off on Illiana Corridor. Members of a key Northwestern Indiana planning agency today approved going ahead with the Illiana Corridor, a proposed toll road that would serve primarily as a trucking corridor linking interstates in Illinois and Indiana.  Chicago Tribune

WA: Liquor thefts have tripled in Puyallup post-privatization. Concerned about this rising trend, Puyallup Police did an independent crime analysis. It found that post privatization, the number of people under 21 who are stealing has doubled.

DC: DC charter schools have nation’s 3rd-highest market share. Nationwide, charter school enrollment has grown 80 percent during the past five years, according to the annual market share report, produced by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. Growth has been particularly strong in urban areas. Washington Post

MI: Michigan prison food switch brings mixed reviews. The deal, estimated to save $12 million to $16 million a year, eliminates about 370 state jobs. Some workers retired, 166 former food service workers enrolled in an eight-week corrections officer school and are expected to stay with the department, eight got monitoring jobs related to the Aramark contract and about 100 were laid off, Department of Corrections spokesman Russ Marlan said. Marlan said Friday that the change is going smoothly.   Lansing State Journal

OH: Kasich’s Education Model Gives Private Schools Public Funds With No Accountability. While all EdChoice recipients must take the state’s standardized tests, the schools and the students are exempt from any of the consequences that would arise from the results.  The schools don’t receive letter grades from the state labeling them as failing and, as a key part of yesterday’s post pointed out, the third grade students are not subject to being retained based on Ohio’s new Third Grade Reading Guarantee law.  And it’s a good thing, too, because students using vouchers to attend private schools are performing worse than their public school counterparts.  Plunderbund

FL: Editorial: Too many questions for West Palm Beach to approve CRA outsourcing contract. West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio defends her effort to privatize redevelopment by calling it “transparent.” True enough. It has been clear from the start that the plan was more to give the job to a certain company than to justify the outsourcing.  Palm Beach Post

NJ: Possible privatization of psych ward in Camden triggers worries. Mental health advocates in New Jersey are worried about the possible privatization of the Camden County Health Service Center’s psychiatric ward. The center was sold to Ocean Healthcare for more than $37 million in May, but county officials had planned to lease back the psych ward. There is disagreement about the future of the ward, with a county spokesman saying the original plan will proceed.

NJ: South Amboy will privatize rail commuter parking lots. Starting in the new year, South Amboy will no longer operate the four commuter parking lots at the city’s t rain station, according to the Suburban. The Star-Ledger