August 13, 2014


States learn partnerships come with hazards. . . But states using public-private partnerships, or P3s, are discovering that what sounds like a straightforward, efficient process can be fraught with hazards. Those include negotiating an agreement that protects the public interest and monitoring that agreement over the decadeslong life of the project. Federal financing for many projects sparks concerns that taxpayers may be left on the hook. More importantly, critics question the fundamental premise of P3s: that they cost less. They say if P3s save one part of government money, there are costs incurred elsewhere. The Indiana Toll Road was turned over to a Spanish-Australian joint venture in 2006 for 75 years in exchange for a $3.8 billion upfront payment to the state. Since then, traffic on the 157-mile road has dropped and toll rates have skyrocketed. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PA: On public land, a gas company takes private control. . . Deering expected to enjoy a quiet retirement. In the early 2000′s, he and his wife built a log home from a kit. Their property is surrounded by state forest and game land. But in recent years their neighborhood has gotten noisy as gas companies drill wells, build pipelines, and move heavy equipment. Nearly a third of Pennsylvania’s roughly 2 million acres of public forest land is already available for oil and gas development. Governor Corbett wants to lease even more land, but an environmental group is suing to try to stop him.  StateImpact Pennsylvania

NY: Teachers: Keep private $ out of public education. Educators became demonstrators in downtown Albany Monday night, with hundreds of area school teachers determined to keep private corporation money out of the public education system. Even though teachers gave an “A” effort, the most prominent letter was the letter “C”: For Common Core, controversial contract, and Campbell Brown. It was a well-organized lesson plan of protest carried out by more than 500 teachers on the steps of the State Education Department building. The main mission was to remove what they believe to be growing corporate influence in New York’s public schools and colleges. WNYT

MD: Group Accuses Speed Camera Operators Of Lying About The Law. The Maryland Drivers Alliance says local governments have been lying about the law to boost speed camera cash through snitching. The advocacy group filed formal complaints last week against cities and counties that have been telling innocent motorists who receive a photo ticket that they must turn informant against wives, husbands, children or friends when a speed camera ticket arrives in the mail, even though the law says that is not the case. . . Identical language, provided by the for-profit camera vendor, is found on the Montgomery County website and similar wording is used on the Maryland state speed camera page.