June 2, 2014


VA: Higher tolls pushing many off the Dulles Toll Road. When the Dulles Toll Road was built in 1984, it was meant to provide quick local access to the interchanges between the Capital Beltway and Dulles International Airport. An average of 327,296 vehicles traverse the roadway daily. But after five straight years of toll increases, many drivers have decided that the convenience, such that it is, is no longer worth the cost. “You talk to people and they go, ‘Oh, hell, no — I don’t use the toll road,’ ” said Tammi Petrine, a longtime Reston resident who used to use it but now avoids it whenever possible. . . . Not surprisingly, statistics show that as tolls increase, the number of annual toll road transactions decreases. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of transactions on the toll road declined by more than 5 million. But residents and elected officials worry the vehicles bailing on the toll road are clogging local surface roads.  Washington Post

NY: Mr. Schumer Backs a Bad Old Idea – editorial. Senator Charles Schumer of New York wants to outsource the collection of unpaid back taxes to private debt collectors, who would take a cut of the proceeds. The plan is basically a budget gimmick aimed at creating jobs at a handful of collection agencies, two in upstate New York. The last time the government tried to privatize collections, from 2006 to 2009, a handful of firms pocketed $16.5 million. But there was no increase in federal revenue — in fact, after accounting for administrative costs at the Internal Revenue Service, there was a net loss for the government of $4.5 million. A pilot privatization program in 1996-97 also lost money.  New York Times

WI: Wisconsin ranks high in number of charter schools, study says. Nearly 11% of public schools in Wisconsin are charter schools, the fourth-highest rate in the nation and double the national average, according to a recently released report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. . . . . Most charter schools in Wisconsin are run by districts, many with district staff, which means they have more restrictions – or more accountability, depending on your perspective – than charter schools that operate independent of school districts. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel