December 17, 2012


VA:  Controversy surrounds Va. plan to build $1.4 billion toll road

…. The traffic projections — so low that the state got no takers when it twice tried to sell the project to investors in exchange for toll revenue — have leaders from some more heavily traveled parts of the state fuming. “It is absolutely criminal that this amount of money would be spent on a worthless road carrying 5,500 cars a day,” said Senate Minority Leader Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), noting that the Dulles Toll Road carries about 100,000 vehicles a day. “I have subdivision streets that carry more traffic than this.” …..[A] private company will be paid to design and build the road. The state hopes to sign a final agreement with Ferrovial Agroman and American Infrastructure — operating as the consortium 460 Mobility Partners — in the next week. Design and right-of-way work would begin in 2013 and construction in 2014. The road would open in 2018. Washington Post

OH: Bill would limit outsourcing for state-funded projects

State Representative Denise Driehaus (D – Cincinnati) and State Representative Connie Pillich (D – Cincinnati) testified today to gain support for their “Hire Ohio” legislation, House Bill 342. By creating “Hire Ohio” provisions to limit outsourcing for state-funded projects, HB 342 encourages projects to be located in Ohio, utilizing Ohio workers, and creating new jobs that would otherwise go to different states and countries. HB 342 will strengthen working and middle class families by keeping them employed and bringing jobs back to Ohio instead of being outsourced.  The Cincinnati Herald

CA: Santa Ana will consider privatizing at zoo

The financially struggling city will seek proposals early next year for a private entity to take over Santa Ana Zoo operations. Orange County Register

PA:  Union members and senior citizens organize to sound off against outsourcing lottery

A newly formed coalition of union members and senior citizens are launching a Protect Our Lottery campaign to keep the operation of 41-year-old Pennsylvania Lottery in state hands. “Seniors across the state are concerned about Gov. Corbett’s risky scheme to privatize management of the lottery – and rightly so. There have been no public hearings. Lawmakers in both parties are frustrated because they don’t have all the facts so they can make an informed decision,” said Jean Friday, President of the PA Alliance for Retired Americans, in a news release.  “The Corbett administration owes it to every Pennsylvanian to open this process up and allow the public and our elected lawmakers to participate.”  Patriot-News

PA: Opinion: Lucrative lottery doesn’t need a fix

I’m no fan of the lottery; I see it as a regressive tax on the poor. But love it or loathe it, the lottery is a model of efficiency and transparency. “We’re a pretty good barometer of complaints,” Auditor General Jack Wagner said of his office. “We get virtually no complaints about the lottery.” Asked state Treasurer Rob McCord: “If it’s not broke, why fix it?”  Yet that is precisely what the Corbett administration hopes to do, and very soon. The governor wants to privatize the lottery by awarding a lengthy, potentially lucrative contract to the only company that offered a bid: Camelot Global Services, a British multinational owned….Why does the governor want to do that? Because Camelot promises to double lottery profits by 2033. Philadelphia Inquirer

CA: Ill-Conceived Southern California Toll Roads Struggle to Survive

Twelve years after the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) unsuccessfully begged the state to buy its beleaguered private toll road system, state Treasurer Bill Lockyer is launching an inquiry into whether they are financially viable. Bonds used to build the roads through Southern California’s San Joaquin Hills have been downgraded by Wall Street to junk, and those for the Foothill-Eastern corridor to a notch above. Multiple waves of refinancing have increased their cost and delayed a final payoff by a decade. The tolls have tripled and the roads are vastly underused.  AllGov

LA: Southeast La. Hospital privatization approved

The Times-Picayune reports the board approved the privatization plan Wednesday with a rare split vote after hospital employees and advocates begged commission members to reject the proposal to protect the jobs of those currently working there. Opelousas Daily World