September 19, 2012


MI: Detroit Council seeks order halting Bing’s privatization of health department.Council members have questioned the Bing administration’s handling of the health department, saying privatizing it costs the city jobs, violates the city charter and endangers services to vulnerable residents including the poor and elderly. Detroit Free Press

VA: Toll Road Ensures 73 Years of Gridlock. A cleverly worded “non-compete” provision buried in a massive contract document puts taxpayers on the hook for paying monetary damages to toll road operator Transurban if the state decides within the next 73 years to expand the free lanes on Interstate 95, improve the highly congested Route One or make driving easier on the Occoquan Bridge. The Newspaper

NY: Nassau County budget delays sewer deal. A proposed $2.79 billion budget for 2013 for New York’s Nassau County delays by a year a plan to raise at least $700 million with a private-public partnership for the local sewer authority but advances property tax refunds, according to documents issued on Tuesday. Mangano so far has failed to persuade state overseers that a public-private partnership for the sewer and wastewater authority will help solve Nassau’s long-term financial problems.  Reuters

NY: Lawmaker Pushes Public Private Partnership Proposal for Tappan Zee Bridge..There hasn’t been much talk of late about PPPs from Cuomo, but Ball continues to discuss it. He said he’s working with the Business Council of Westchester on proposals.  “New York is the capitol of capital and our current inability to proactively fund vital infrastructure projects, small and large, is simply inexcusable. Public-private partnerships (P3’s) would better enable New York to finance public work projects, such as the transit portion of the Tappan Zee Bridge, while reducing the burden on federal, state and local taxpayers as well as commuters and ratepayers,” Ball said in a statement.   Albany Watch

NY: Editorial:  Wrong way for Amtrak, GOP. Our opinion: Mitt Romney and the Republicans want to stop paying for train travel. Do we want a country where we heavily subsidize highway travel, but ignore rail — even where it makes the most sense? …Private railroads often have a hard time breaking even. Public bailouts have become common in England and in Japan, smaller countries where maintaining service tends to be more economical.… That’s where politicians so critical of Amtrak need to look for savings, just as they should turn to the heavily traveled corridors to make smart investments. Mr. Romney might ride Amtrak from his home base of Boston to Washington. Whether or not it’s for his own inauguration, it would be an illuminating trip. Amtrak can run even better, and its finances can be fixed, if it’s allowed to follow a more sensible path.  Times Union

FL: Opinion: Make prison privatization a three-time loser… The specter of privatizing more state prisons makes many uncomfortable. For-profit companies would want more inmates in prison, despite bipartisan calls for sentencing reform. Then there are questions about security and accountability. Take the case of Ron Hyatt, a prisoner at the privately run South Bay Correctional Facility. Last week, a Palm Beach County jury awarded him $1.2 million after a fellow inmate doused him in the face with boiling water. The jury forewoman said she was “appalled” to learn that a prisoner had unfettered access to boil water in a prison microwave. This  at a prison where state inspectors last year found no one manning the front gates or monitoring security cameras. Individual anecdotes aren’t the sole basis for forming policy. But as lawmakers prepare for what may be a third attempt at large-scale prison privatization, they should consider Hyatt’s case and others like it. Palm Beach Post

OK: Study calls Gilcrease Expressway as a toll road unfeasible. A study shows completing the Gilcrease Expressway as a stand-alone toll road would not be feasible due to low traffic, but that hasn’t dissuaded Tulsa’s mayor from seeking Vision2 tax dollars for the project. Tulsa World