June 12, 2008

Law firms find privatization pays
CO: City explores ad revenue
LA: Senate passes school voucher plan
Chicago to privatize airport express project

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News summaries
Law firms find privatization pays
Growth in leasing public assets nets big fees for firms representing
governments, bidders and lenders. From the Pennsylvania Turnpike to
Chicago’s Midway Airport to Florida’s Everglades Parkway, law firms are
aiding a revolution in financing of U.S. infrastructure projects as
they craft transactions that let local and state governments lease
public assets to eager private investors. Two things drive the trend:
the need of state and local governments to revitalize aging public
infrastructure while hamstrung by limited budgets, and the promise of
new funds raised by the transactions to use in new projects. For
private investors, the deals offer a relatively secure and stable
investment in assets that can produce steady revenues under supervision
by experienced operators that often are foreign companies. Daily Report
CO: City explores ad revenue
Don’t be surprised to see a Nike or Home Depot logo on playground
equipment at a Colorado Springs city park or on the sleeve of a city
employee’s shirt if the city nails down a possible multimillion-dollar
sponsorship deal. The city this week issued a request for proposals for
an agent to sell exclusive naming rights for public venues, signs or
sponsorship of public events. "I would say we would probably be talking
about millions of dollars rather than hundreds of thousands," said
Parks Director Paul Butcher. His department is likely to have more
opportunities for sponsorships than other city departments, for such
things as ball field fences, playground equipment and even staff
shirts. The Gazette (Colorado Springs)
LA: Senate passes school voucher plan
In a major legislative success for Gov. Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana
Senate voted 25 to 12 on Wednesday for a bill that would let up to
1,500 low- to middle-income students in New Orleans attend private
schools at taxpayer expense. Backers say the bill will help some New
Orleans children escape a struggling school system that has for years
been known for corruption, bad management and poor student performance.
Opponents point to improvements in the New Orleans public schools since
the state and various charter organizations began running them after
Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They say the money would be better spent on
public schools. The New York Times
Chicago to privatize airport express project
For years, Chicago has dreamed of building an airport express line from
both Midway and O’Hare airports to the Loop that would save passengers
a lot of time. The Chicago Transit Authority plans to seek bids for a
private-sector partner to finish the job and run the line. "To
replicate the success of premium service in other major cities, we
really need to leverage private sector resources and expertise," said
CTA president Ron Huberman. Wired