February 26, 2014


US Open To New Ideas on Air Traffic Control Privatization, DOT’s Foxx Says. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the government is open to ideas on privatizing the nation’s ATC system, as long as aviation industry “stakeholders” agree on making that transformation. Foxx remarked on privatization after delivering the kZSeynote speech at an Aero Club of Washington luncheon on February 25, his first major address to an aviation audience. Aviation International News

FL: Toll road opponents want Pasco commissioners to halt project. Toll road opponents filled the Pasco Commission chambers Tuesday and two dozen spoke against the proposed elevated highway in what was the first real show of force by the grassroots “Pasco Fiasco” movement.“We are just a small sampling of this community who oppose this road – and we would appreciate more opportunities to be heard,” DeShon Hodge said. The group is hoping to persuade a majority of commissioners to put a halt to the $2 billion project. The Florida Department of Transportation is negotiating with a consortium headed by the Spanish firm OHL to build and operate the four-lane toll road. Tbo.com

NJ: Parkway, turnpike toll takers fight to keep jobs…. The controversial proposal was debated Tuesday, when toll collectors, union representatives and two New Jersey lawmakers urged the Turnpike Authority’s board of commissioners to back away from the plan. The board may vote on the proposal at its April 29 meeting.  Press of Atlantic City

NJ: Aging utility systems prompt privatization talks. The Borough Council has proposed borrowing $2.2 million to upgrade sewer and water infrastructure throughout town, prompting a debate among some members about selling the Red Bank water and sewer utility.  Red Bank Hub

FL: Toll road opponents want Pasco commissioners to halt project. Toll road opponents filled the Pasco Commission chambers Tuesday and two dozen spoke against the proposed elevated highway in what was the first real show of force by the grassroots “Pasco Fiasco” movement. Tbo.com

WI: Idea of Wisconsin toll roads starting to gain support. Talk of toll roads in Wisconsin is resurfacing amid the high price of new construction and the bumper crop of potholes. WISN Milwaukee

IN: Pelath criticizes Ind. House GOP over passing up privatization review…By a party-line vote, the House majority rejected Pelath’s proposal to conduct a cost-savings review of all state contracts that involved privatization of services over the past decade and make sure that a similar study is a part of all deals made in the future….The state’s most notorious efforts at privatization have been the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road to a foreign investor and the ill-fated decision to have IBM Corp. handle the lion’s share of the state’s welfare services.“We all know how the IBM affair ended: with a system so broken that even a champion of privatization like former Gov. Mitch Daniels had to concede it didn’t work,” Pelath said. …”While the toll road lease has many more years to run, the chunk of cash the state received in the deal already has run out, and the list of state and local infrastructure improvements needing to be funded remains lengthy.  Chesterton Tribune

NY: Mayor Bill De Blasio: Advertising Campaign Won’t Impact Stand On Charter Schools…The mayor, who wants to charge rent to charter schools housed in public school buildings, held firm Tuesday, saying he needs to concentrate resources on the 95 percent of city students in public schools. He took issue with the Bloomberg administration’s coddling of charter schools.  CBS Local

TN: Outsourcing proposal upsets Oak Ridge parents, teaching assistants… “To ask them to be rehired with no job security, forced to be ‘retrained’ (what better training could they possibly have than to be working beside these amazing teachers — for some nearly 20 years), fingerprinted, have a background check and with a pay cut is too sad to think about. It is degrading and insulting, and, I’m sure, makes them feel that their many years of services is at best unappreciated, but even worse that their time was not considered to be valued. Oak Ridger

NC: Editorial – If we’re going to outsource, let’s get it right first. State Rep. Susi Hamilton supports the concept of enlisting private enterprise to help recruit businesses to North Carolina, but she objects to approving sending the taxpayers’ money to a “public-private” organization without a better plan for raising the “private” dollars that are supposed to be part of the package. Her questions at a recent legislative committee meeting were on the money – state officials need to nail down more specifics before committing any more taxpayer dollars…. But the reality may be different, especially if the Honorables fail to establish adequate oversight of the new partnership’s spending and operations. That’s why it is important to slow down and get it right. North Carolina’s current economic development process has room for improvement, but it is not so “broken,” as McCrory is wont to characterize the state of state government, that it necessarily requires a total overhaul.  StarNewsOnline.com

CA: City won’t outsource parks work. Carlsbad has given up – at least for now – on its dream of saving millions by outsourcing all of the city’s parks maintenance work. … It was an uncharacteristic retreat for a city that’s been on the cutting edge of pension reform and other efforts to cut labor costs and save taxpayers money. But city officials said a potential $4 million in savings predicted two years ago by a consultant never materialized, partly because of a new state law requiring city contractors to pay workers union-negotiated rates known as prevailing wages.  U-T San Diego

IL: Glen Ellyn opts to stay in ambulance business. After debating whether to get out of the ambulance business, Glen Ellyn officials have decided to continue owning and maintaining its own vehicles while outsourcing staffing and billing services….A staff analysis of Kurtz’s proposal showed the village can save approximately $153,500 a year if it continues to own and maintain the emergency vehicles, as opposed to having the firm take over ownership along with the staffing and billing services. Chicago Tribune