March 27, 2015


Republicans want to privatize air traffic control. Here’s a great Republican idea: Let’s privatize air traffic control. Don’t you want corporate profits to be a factor in your safety in the air? Republicans point to delays on the Federal Aviation Administration’s technology upgrade from radar to NextGen as a reason to privatize. Business could do it faster! “In the same amount of time FAA has been working on NextGen, Verizon has upgraded its wireless network four times,” [House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster] added. Thing is, dropped planes are a little more worrying than dropped calls. Daily Kos

LA: City of Baker agrees to privatize DMV office; wait times promised to be shorter for driver’s licenses. By May 4, drivers will pay higher fees but have shorter wait times when getting driver’s licenses and other Department of Motor Vehicles services in Baker. The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to authorize Mayor Harold Rideau to sign a contract with Express OMV, LLC to privatize the DMV office in the city. . . . By state law, private DMV offices can charge up to $18 in convenience fees per transaction. . . .. Express OMV representative Brooke Barnett told the council. Driver’s license renewals will cost $4 more than at the state-run DMV office. The Advocate

TX: Texas Ditches Plan to Privatize Terrell State Hospital. A plan to privatize Terrell State Hospital is dead following a scathing audit that raps the state health commission for bypassing its own contracting procedures. . . . In this latest report, the state auditor took issue with the commission’s October decision to tentatively select Geo Care LLC to run the hospital, one of the state’s 10 psychiatric facilities. The audit found that the commission undervalued the contract and skipped having the deal blessed by the Texas attorney general’s office, as required. . . . The auditor’s report put the privatization deal at $30 million, an early estimate the commission had reported to the Texas Comptroller’s Office. That figure was wrong and should not have been provided, Goodman said. No final price tag for the privatization plan was reached before the project was put on hold after state Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, started raising questions about the deal Texas Tribune

NC: Proposal calls on state to reconsider privatizing ferry system. State Sen. Bill Rabon and two other Republican leaders on transportation issues want the N.C. Department of Transportation to take another look at privatizing the state-owned and operated ferry system. . . . Some coastal legislators, however, have argued that the ferries should be seen as an extension of the state’s highway system and should be funded through the same mechanisms that the DOT uses to build and maintain its roads and bridges – including the state’s gas tax.

NM: New Mexico Moves Bill to Privatize Public Access. A measure designed to allow New Mexico landowners to restrict angler access cleared the House by a slim 32-31 margin last week. . . “In the final minutes before the New Mexico legislative session adjourned, in an all-too-familiar fashion, stream access there was stripped from the public and handed over to private interests,” says the Utah Stream Access Coalition (USAC). “Just like that, concerns that another state could follow Utah’s lead on stream access went from possibility to reality. We are all in this together, and that’s why it’s important to step up and take action.” the Drake

NH: My Turn: Privatize detention centers? Bad ide. . . We’ve been around this block before. In 2011, the budget trailer bill mandated creation of “a committee to develop a plan for privatizing the department of corrections.”. . . First, staff at the Departments of Corrections and Administrative Services spent five months preparing three lengthy “requests for proposals” to solicit interest from private firms. Bids from four companies arrived several months later. The pile of documents was so high that the state needed an outside consultant to evaluate them. It took four more months, and an appropriation of $177,000, for the state to hire MGT of America to analyze the proposals.

It took another nine months for MGT to complete its report. Among its findings were that the wages the companies expected to pay were so low that it “could result in high turnover and ultimately impact and safety and security of the correctional facilities.” Based on the consultant’s report, the state ended the outsourcing process. Concord Monitor