October 23, 2012


LA: Talk About the South: Jindal faces setback

Viewed as a done deal by many political watchers, the Office of Group Benefits, a successful state employee-run insurance program, was to be privatized…on Thursday. The vote was cancelled on Wednesday…Why is the governor dead set on privatizing the Office of Group Benefits? Not to save money. Instead, it is being done to raid a $500 million fund, not that he’s against privatizing state services just for the hell of it. Though insurance premiums may go down at first, the private insurance provider for the PPO insurance program will soon raise the premiums. This will cause taxes to go up, state workers and retirees to pay higher premiums, and the quality of health care to go down. Who cares about the details? It’ll help Jindal ingratiate himself with a major insurance company such as Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Throw a little bone to his backers, and they’ll remember him come election time with direct campaign contributions and PAC money. Hammond Daily Star

MI:  Mayor Bing to Detroit City Council: Work with me to help our city

He said the city’s hiring of a private company to manage the Detroit Department of Transportation has brought some improvements — transit advocates say they’ve seen little if any — but he wants to put a new contract out to bid to more fully privatize DDOT’s operations to further cut the city’s annual bus subsidy. Detroit Free Press

TX: 85-mph toll road to open Wednesday

A 40-mile stretch of a Central Texas toll road is slated to open Wednesday, and officials and residents will be watching to see how fast traffic goes – and whether the state’s drivers can handle the extra speed…. Jeff Gibeaux, a civil engineer in Lockhart who expects to take Texas 130, said he considers it a certainty that some drivers won’t be satisfied at 85. “I think people will routinely pass me going 100,” Gibeaux said. “Regardless of the speed limit, there’s always going to be people who want to go past it.” KENS 5 TV

CA:  Orange County Board Rejects Controversial 405 Toll Road

Orange County Transportation Authority board members voted 10-6 Monday not to add toll roads in an attempt to ease traffic on a busy stretch of the I-405 freeway. KTLA