February 24, 2015


Risk Disclosure for Public-Private Partnerships Under Scrutiny. Public-private partnership (P3) risks are on the agenda of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board, which sets financial reporting standards for the federal government. An exposure draft issued in October called for more disclosure of the risk of deals where the government turns to the private sector to provide infrastructure, goods and services. Comments on the draft closed in January. Wall Street Journal ($)

PA: Pennsylvania liquor privatization bill clears House committee hurdle. A proposal to sell off most of Pennsylvania’s state-owned liquor system and its wholesale distribution network is moving ahead, but its prospects for passage remain unclear. Allentown Morning Call

OH: Union bids to regain job of feeding Ohio prison inmates. Seeking to recapture jobs its members once held in prison kitchens, the largest state employee union says it can feed inmates cheaper than the oft-criticized contractor the state plans to rehire. The Ohio Civil Service Employees Association submitted a one-year proposal on Monday to feed inmates for $1.216 per meal, a price it said would save $2.9 million a year over the price offered by Aramark Correctional Services. . . . Despite problems with maggots in kitchens, staffing and food shortages, and inappropriate employee conduct with inmates, prison officials quietly moved on Oct. 30 to renew Aramark’s contract. Columbus Dispatch

RI: Gov. Raimondo cites tolls, public-private partnerships as options to fund state’s highway projects. After more than a year of wrangling over the much-criticized Sakonnet River Bridge toll, Rhode Island lawmakers announced last June that they had created a “long-term solution for financing Rhode Island’s roads and bridges,’’ that would avert the need for the toll. From fee hikes and gas tax increases, they anticipated enough new taxpayer revenue to raise the amount available for Department of Transportation projects. Raimondo put the potential for “tolls” back on the bargaining table in a weekend Associated Press story about the poor condition of many of Rhode Island’s roads and bridges – and the uncertainty about future federal highway funding. “We need to take a comprehensive look at solutions, everything from public-private partnerships to tolling,” Raimondo said. The Providence Journal

TX: Proposed bill would put sunset clause on Texas tollways. . . “HB 1734 returns tolling to its traditional purpose: a temporary funding mechanism that is removed once the roads are fully paid off,” Shaheen said in a statement he issued on Monday. “We cannot allow the toll fees for roads we use every day to become a de facto tax into perpetuity.” The bill would also limit the North Texas Tollway Authority’s ability to renegotiate its toll road financing if it extends the term of the bonds. Austin Business Journal (blog)

CT: UConn Asserts Contracting Watchdog Has Only Limited Power Over It. The University of Connecticut has told the watchdog agency that oversees state contracting that it has only limited authority to investigate allegations made against the school. “The constituent units [of higher education] are not ‘state contracting agencies'” under the law, UConn’s Office of the General Counsel wrote to the state Contracting Standards Board in an email earlier this month. UConn receives hundreds of millions of dollars from the state each year for operating costs and construction projects. Hartford Courant