October 10, 2014


IL: Chicago Toll Road Gets Go-Ahead From Regional Transportation Group. A regional transportation body voted Thursday to move forward on a $1.5 billion public-private toll-road project outside Chicago, a day after a different group of local officials tried to kill it. The approval comes as private groups are wading back into highway projects with a new business model following a string of toll-road deals that ended in bankruptcy. The Illiana Expressway has long been discussed here as a way to improve travel south of Chicago and help speed up interstate trucking. The toll road, opposed by some local officials and environmental groups, has the backing of the governors of Illinois and Indiana and is expected to receive final approval from federal officials in the coming months. Wall Street Journal

DC: Really? DC charter school employees to get admissions preference for their kids.. . . Charter schools, it is worth remembering, are public schools, at least in the sense that they are funded with public dollars (though some get private donations). They are permitted to operate outside the traditional school system, and do not have to be as transparent about their operations as traditional schools. Families who want to send children to charter schools apply, and when there are more applications than seats, a lottery is instituted. Supposedly students are randomly drawn, except for those who have received preferences in the past. But giving a break to founding board members’ children isn’t enough for the D.C. Council. Now members voted to give a preference to the children of charter school employees who work full time and are D.C. residents. Charter school leaders and teachers lobbied the council earlier in the year for such a measure and were rewarded for their efforts in the 2015 Budget Support Act. Washington Post (blog)

The Price of Privatizing War. . . No matter what you think about “for-profit killing and the commodification of conflict,” McFate makes a strong case that demand for PMCs will expand in the decades and, perhaps, centuries ahead. The privatization of war is a growth business. . . . The Modern Mercenary is filled with fascinating stuff, and its bottom line is that there is no stopping the continuing development of the market for force. So, what—if anything—should be done? McFate says we have to regulate the industry while the free market for its services is still dominated by the demand from a few big customers, mainly the U.S. If we don’t, he warns, the profit motive could cause PMCs to perpetuate armed conflict. And then, we might really get a look at what the world was like in the Middle Ages. strategy+business (blog)