February 20, 2014


CO: Privatization opponents plan lawsuit, picket against Colorado Department of Transportation. Opponents of privatizing a part of US 36 plan a two-pronged attack on Wednesday: in the court of law and in the court of public opinion. As the board in charge of the privatization plan meets to finalize an agreement with a company called Plenary Roads Denver, an opposition group called The DriveSunshine Institute plans to both picket the Wednesday meeting and announce a lawsuit against the Colorado Department of Transportation.  9NEWS.com

VA: Australian Tolling Firm Defends US Toll Road Failure. An Australian toll road company is getting defensive about its investment in an underperforming toll road in Virginia. Located just outside Washington, DC, the state and federal authorities poured hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds on what was supposed to be a showcase for public-private partnership innovation. Transurban charges up to $10 for a short 13-mile trip high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes on the Capital Beltway, a proposition that far fewer motorists than expected have found worthwhile. Though the firm collects an average of $64,000 per day from drivers, this amount is well below projections. Transurban CEO Scott Charlton defended the plan with investors in a conference call last week.  TheNewspaper.com

FL: Broward school district may pay $1.5 million tab for charter schools’ errors. A state of Florida audit that uncovered sloppy paperwork at some Broward schools could force the district to absorb a $1.7 million budget penalty – even though it was charter schools that had the most serious audit findings. Miami Herald

NJ: NJ Legislators Plan Hearings into Christie Plan to Privatize Newark Public Schools. “Let me assure you I will be calling for an investigation into the operation of the Newark district,” Rice said at the close of a two-hour hearing in Newark City Hall about the so-called “One Newark” plan that would close, transfer to charters, redesign or otherwise “repurpose” more than a third of the schools in the state’s largest city. dianeravitch.net

UT: Bill: Study privatizing Utah State Park golf courses. The way Utah State Parks director Fred Hayes sees it, Rep. Kay Christofferson is asking for a mulligan. Christofferson, R-Lehi, this week introduced HB145, which would require the state to hire a golf course consultant to help determine whether Utah State Parks should privatize its four courses. “We did this study two years ago and the report showed that private can’t operate any better than we can,” Hayes said. “We feel like we are doing a good job. This is a little frustrating.” Salt Lake Tribune

IN: More gripes, worries about Illiana Expressway. More than 300 people showed up Wednesday night in Wilmington for the eighth public meeting on the proposed Illiana Expressway, a toll road that would connect Interstate 57 near Wilmington with Interstate 65 near Lowell, Ind. Opponents far outnumbered supporters at the hearing. Those whose property lies in the path of the tollway talked with staff from the Illinois Department of Transportation, while others perused detailed maps of the preferred route, interchanges and closed roads. Many questioned the need for the 47-mile highway. SouthtownStar

IN: Senate panel votes to stop annuity privatization plan. A House-approved measure halting the privatization of a state annuity program for retired government employees, including teachers, cleared a Senate committee Wednesday 9-0 and advances to the full Senate. nwitimes.com