September 18, 2014


Panel urges transparency, caution for public-private partnerships
Public-private partnerships are neither a silver bullet nor a free lunch, a U.S. House panel has concluded in a final report to the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The House Panel on Public-Private Partnerships published its report on Wednesday, Sept. 17, urging transparency and accountability to the public whenever a PPP, also known as a P3, is being considered. . . .The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee formed the PPP panel in January, asking for recommendations for balancing the need to generate more cash for infrastructure while protecting the public interest. Panelists, led by U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan, R-Tenn., said PPPs can provide needed funding but should be used with caution. . . . The report also acknowledges and celebrates a strong federal role in transportation infrastructure. Land Line Magazine

Are We Privatizing Public Universities?
“Public education is in crisis — and it has been for some time. The problem is, no one can agree on the problem, and when there is no agreement on the problem, developing solutions is nearly impossible.” Thus writes Matthew Lambert in his new book, Privatization and the Public Good: Public Universities in the Balance, an analysis of present-day public higher education, which is currently plagued by momentous challenges. HGSE News

MI: Judge pauses Detroit’s bankruptcy trial again
US. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes ordered a week-long break in Detroit’s bankruptcy trial on Wednesday, giving the last major objector to the city’s restructuring plan time to rework its case. The hearing will be adjourned from Friday and reconvene on Sept. 29. It was also placed on hiatus last week for three days while the city applied finishing touches to a settlement with another creditor. . . Also on Wednesday, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan urged the city council to support a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA)that would allow the city to maintain control of its water and sewer services, while gaining $50 million a year for 40 years from leasing the systems to the new regional authority. Detroit and at least one of three southeast Michigan counties served by the city’s water and sewerage department must approve the deal by Oct. 10. Without an affirmative vote on Friday, Duggan said Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr could opt to privatize the system. Council President Brenda Jones raised concerns that Detroit must put the authority before voters under the city charter. But Duggan said there was no time for a vote, while his legal staff said Michigan law suspended Detroit’s charter as long as Orr is emergency manager. Reuters

IN: State asks private Indiana Toll Road operator for proof it’s meeting its debt obligations
The state agency that oversees the Indiana Toll Road has given the highway’s debt-saddled private operator until late November to prove that it’s meeting its debt obligations amid reports that the company is considering filing for bankruptcy and selling off its multi-billion-dollar toll road lease. . . . The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Granger, Indiana-based ITR Concession was weighing a possible bankruptcy filing as company officials work to reduce their roughly $6 billion debt load through a debt restructuring that could set the stage for it to sell its toll-road lease. The newspaper also reported that ITR Concession’s missed June debt interest payment spurred it to push ahead with debt restructuring talks with hedge funds that bought its bank debt for the tollway lease. The Republic

NJ: Employees protest the privatization of state group homes
Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees are hoping to raise awareness for what they say are the damaging affects of privatizing state group home.  “What would happen is they would be out of work, some of them would be able to draw employment or bump other employees that would put them out of work,” said AFSCME Local 2215 president, Mattie Harrell.  NBC40