April 21, 2008

Senate subcommittee downplays public-private partnerships
TX: Tollway agency approves deal on Highway 161
CO: Public heard in Greeley – no privatization
Mich.weighs privatizing prison jobs
NY widens pension probe
Milwaukee outsourcing of inmate transport rejected
Century-old navy prison ripe for development

News Summaries
Senate subcommittee downplays public-private partnerships
A Senate subcommittee on transportation discussed the need for an
increased federal investment in infrastructure during a hearing
Wednesday, April 16, downplaying the current administration’s call for
more public-private partnerships and tolling. One panelist who
testified before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works
Committee’s Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure said U.S.
Transportation Secretary Mary Peters’ push for more PPPs and tolling is
disheartening. “Those comments have been suggesting that this is a
choice between public-private partnerships and the status quo and that
there’s somehow not anything in between,” testified Edward Wytkind,
president of transportation trades development for the AFL-CIO. Land Line
TX: Tollway agency approves deal on Highway 161
The North Texas Tollway Authority on Sunday unanimously approved a deal
with the Texas Department of Transportation that sets the value of the
State Highway 161 toll road at about $1.1 billion. The vote ratifies a
compromise reached Friday after leaders from both agencies met behind
closed doors with key legislators to end a stalemate that had
threatened to stall or even cancel plans to build the approximately
10-mile toll road in western Dallas County. Construction contracts for
the road already have been awarded, and work is expected to begin
Monday. The Dallas Morning News
CO: Public heard in Greeley – no privatization
The idea of researching privatization of some services has been given
much attention, and the public discussion about this suggestion has
shown that citizen input is important to us and that we’re willing to
listen. On April 1, we hosted a room full of residents who spoke their
minds regarding the question of privatization. That was preceded by
many calls and e-mails from residents asking that we reconsider that
approach. As a result, council members and staff are no longer
considering privatizing services, but they will be asking the
appropriate boards and commissions to find efficiencies and possible
revenue enhancements to help us balance the budget with community
priorities. — The Greeley City Council: Mayor Ed Clark and council
members Charles Archibeque, Don Feldhaus, Carrol Martin, Ed Phillipsen,
Maria Secrest and Pam Shaddock. The Tribune (Greeley)
Mich.weighs privatizing prison jobs
A proposal to privatize part of the Department of Corrections has
cleared the Senate, but is stirring controversy and leading some
lawmakers to urge caution.Lawmakers are under pressure to reduce the
cost of the department, one of the state’s largest expenses. Prisons
alone account for 20 percent of the state’s budget. Todd Tennis, a
lobbyist for the Michigan State Employees Association, a union, said
privatization isn’t a cure-all for the department’s spending problems,
and some lawmakers are jumping to the conclusion that it would save
money. MLive.com
NY widens pension probe
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Friday he is subpoenaing all 37 of
the state’s BOCES organizations for information on whether they
registered private lawyers in the state’s public pension system.
Times Union
Milwaukee outsourcing of inmate transport rejected
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. does not have the
authority to hire a private firm to transport inmates, Milwaukee County
Circuit Judge Charles Kahn has ruled. Clarke proposed hiring TransCor
America, a Nashville, Tenn., firm, to transport prisoners, saying it
would free 15 deputies to do more intensive law enforcement work. The
plan also would save taxpayers $325,000 a year, he said. The County
Board’s Finance Committee rejected the plan, saying it hadn’t been well
thought out and should have been included in the annual county budget.
Clarke said he would work to build support for the idea, after it
failed in October. The Milwaukee County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association
filed a lawsuit trying to nip the plan in the bud. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Century-old navy prison ripe for development
What do you do with a more than century-old prison that sits on the
scenic shore of a New England Navy shipyard? That’s a question that the
U.S. Navy is hoping some creative developer will be able to answer
under an innovative program called Enhanced Use Lease that allows
service branches in the Department of Defense to monetize underused
assets without surrendering proceeds to the general treasury. The site
is at the southern end of Seavey Island at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in
Kittery, Maine, 50 miles north of Boston. The Navy is looking for a
developer to find the best market value for the prison and to operate
under a 50-year lease. While the idea of converting a remote,
antiquated prison into a money-maker might sound daunting, the military
has already scored some victories in even more challenging scenarios.
The Bond Buyer