May 15, 2014


Obama calls for spending to improve nation’s roads and rails. . . . The White House sent the Grow America Act, a broad transportation measure that includes guidelines for allowing new toll highways, to Congress this spring. A bipartisan group of senators is working on its own long-term transportation plan. . . . The administration, drawing on calculations made by the American Society of Civil Engineers, estimates that $3.6 trillion in spending will be needed to sufficiently address the mounting infrastructure problems by the end of the decade. Washington Post

VA: Millions spent and not even a road to show for it. . . . McDonnell administration made the project its top transportation priority but it is has been clear for years that business case for this project simply didn’t make sense. Instead of it being a public-private partnership, the taxpayers were going to have to foot most of the project’s bill and then all a private company to operate it and collect tolls on the road. It was a lose-lose deal for Virginia taxpayers. . . . The longer this goes on, it appears this boondoggle is Virginia’s version of the bridge to nowhere. Now we have a ghost road that has already cost us hundreds of millions of dollars.  Progress Index

CA: The Fight to Save San Francisco’s Public College. . . . “We feel like public education is under attack, including now community colleges, by the movement to privatize,” said Wendy Kaufmyn, who teaches engineering at CCSF. “The accrediting commission is definitely part of what we’d call the ‘reform movement’ in education—it has a political agenda.” She and other members of the growing “Save CCSF coalition” say disaccreditation is an effort to stifle a major voice for more inclusive education. “We see ourselves as serving the diverse community of San Francisco, and that includes the formerly incarcerated, foster kids with nowhere else to go, immigrant populations and undocumented students,” Kaufmyn said. “We believe in the arts, and having students be there for cultural enrichment. But they just feel like that’s a waste of taxpayer money.” The Nation

IL: Lawmaker Calls On Quinn To Nix Private Company That Runs Lottery. . . . State Representative Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo, says privatizing the lottery has been a disaster, as it has continually failed to meet goals.  “And here we are paying them $100 million to go down.  It’s ludicrous. It’s—it’s tantamount to lunacy. There’s no reason to be doing this,” Franks said. Franks says Northstar has come up 445 million dollars short than initially promised.  He says that’s money lost that should be available to fill budget gaps in state operations. WUIS 91.9

NC: Privatized N.C. Commerce takes first step during legislature’s short session. A bill to take the privatization of the N.C. Department of Commerce from an idea to reality was introduced this morning on the opening day of the General Assembly’s short session. . . .N.C. Gov. Pat McCrory advanced the idea to privatize the department last year as a way to streamline the state’s job retention and recruitment process. Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker and others toured the state in 2013 to publicize the idea of a privatized state department.  Triangle Business Journal