August 25, 2014


Sparks Fly on Privatizing Air-Traffic Control

. . . Now, nearly 20 years after the last major push for the concept in the U.S. was spurned, experts and aviation trade groups again are revving up efforts to uncouple air-traffic control from the Federal Aviation Administration. Rising impatience with the agency’s fiscal situation and slow, troubled rollout of modernization initiatives have sparked the latest activity, much it focused on analyzing the Canadian system. . . To that end, corporate groups such as the Business Roundtable, the nonpartisan Eno Center for Transportation and airline trade group Airlines for America are evaluating the options. Some hope they can reach a consensus before the FAA’s next reauthorization bill goes before Congress in September of next year, although others concede it is bound to take longer. . . . Some critics in the U.S. say Nav Canada isn’t applicable because the U.S. has much busier, more complex airspace. estimates that more than 9,000 flights a day operate in Canada.  Wall Street Journal

In A Victory for Public Education Judge Says NC School Vouchers Are Unconstitutional
. . . Republicans believe America’s first four Presidents were completely wrong and in several states are regularly taking government money intended for public education and handing it directly to private Christian schools under the guise of vouchers for “charter schools,” a clear violation of the Constitution. In North Carolina last week, a judge finally struck down a Republican school voucher scam to transfer public school funding directly to private religious schools as patently unconstitutional, and elucidated why vouchers, charter schools, and private religious schools fail constitutional muster.  PoliticusUSA

Recent toll road poll proves nothing; private financing of public roads is still a bad idea
. . . As I have written before in this space, the private funding of public infrastructure is a bad idea, a giant money grab by the big banks and politically connected mega-construction companies. Many of these companies are in fact international consortiums, accountable to nobody but their bondholders. And as the defeat by voters of the Trans-Texas Corridor  proved, most citizens of the Lone Star State don’t want to pay money to Spain for the right to use their own roads.  Equipment World

TX: Big Dallas Plunder: Open Door to Wholesale School Privatization
. . .Since 2011, Educate Dallas, a PAC backed by the Dallas Regional Chamber (the local Chamber of Commerce), has raised $661,953 in cash on hand for its school board war chest, and the Dallas-based education reform PAC Kids First, led by millionaire tech CEO Ken Barth, has raised $661,616. . . What made white businessmen from Dallas’ segregated northern enclaves, who typically donate to their children’s private academies, start caring about the plight of a low-income district?. . . Charters have been expanding in Dallas over the past 15 years, especially in the wake of the closure of 11 public schools in early 2012. And the Chamber boasts a number of charter-school operators among its members, including longtime affiliates Uplift Education and Texans CAN Academies, two of the city’s largest charter chains.  Truth-Out

TX: Sounding Off: Rockwall-Rowlett readers tell us if Blacklands Corridor toll road is needed
. . . Mary Grimaldo, Garland: Why in the world would Texas allow a private corporation to build a toll road to be used by the public? That will just greatly increase the cost of the road to taxpayers who ultimately pay for this. Can the state not just improve and widen the existing highway? That will cost much less than paying a corporation to build a toll road, which will ultimately cost taxpayers much more over the years. I think it is an awful idea.  Dallas Morning New

LA: Hospital manager says it paid nearly $7M for debt tied to privatization of LSU hospitals
. . . The research foundation took control of the two hospitals in October 2013 and operates them as University Health System, as part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s push to privatize most of the university-run public hospital system. The foundation had never previously run a patient facility. In a letter sent this week, LSU accused the foundation of using it like a “personal piggy bank” and said it was owed $25.3 million in unpaid debts, money that the university system said it needed for the medical school operations in Shreveport. LSU claimed the foundation also hasn’t completed a list of ancillary agreements related to hospital operations. . . . The angry exchange of letters comes only a year after the privatization deal was reached. At the time, the Jindal administration and university leaders championed the contract as a way to improve health care for the poor and uninsured who rely on the hospitals for care and to bolster the medical training programs that use the facilities. The foundation’s president, John George, is a Jindal campaign contributor who was one of the Republican governor’s appointees to the LSU Board of Supervisors at the time the privatization contract was crafted.   Greenfield Daily Reporter