December 18, 2014


IL: Chicago Mayor Emanuel urged to resolve stalemate stalling council budget office. . . The office was created more than a year ago to provide aldermen with expert advice on mayoral spending, programs and privatization and guide the City Council through Chicago’s $20 billion pension crisis. The reform is stuck in the mud because of a stalemate over whether former independent Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) has the independence and policy expertise to lead the office as the first-ever, $107,000-a-year City Council Financial Analyst. Chicago Sun Times

MO: Nixon’s toll road proposal might face rough path forward. On Tuesday, Nixon, a Democrat, penned a letter to the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission asking it to report back to him on the idea of using tolls to pay for Interstate 70 upgrades. That, he said, could free up existing money for other projects for the agency that he said will soon reach a “critical juncture” in its funding. . . State Rep. Bill Lant, R-Pineville, said he does not buy into the notion that more funding for Interstate 70 could lead to more funding for transportation projects throughout the state. In fact, Lant, a member of the House Transportation Committee, said he thinks it could actually deplete resources if drivers avoid it by using other parallel routes that are available. PoliticMO

VA: Virginia Opens $950 Million I-95 P3 Lanes. Private investors will begin collecting tolls later this month on 29 miles of managed express lanes on a northern Virginia interstate highway under a concession agreement that extends to 2087.Funding for the $950 million project that was financed and built under Virginia’s Public-Private Transportation Act included: $280 million of private equity from Transurban and its partners in 95 Express Lanes LLC; $252.6 million of proceeds from tax-exempt private activity bonds; an $83 million state transportation grant; and $25 million of early development costs by Virginia Department of Transportation. Bond Buyer

VA: Stimpson blasts Virginia’s public-private deals. House Speaker Bill Howell, R-Falmouth, is facing a primary challenge from former Stafford County Supervisor Susan Stimpson, who accuses GOP leaders of favoring corporate partnerships at taxpayer expense. “The General Assembly’s public-private partnership deals, have developed a pattern of negotiating most of the financial risk on Virginia taxpayers,” Stimpson said of recent road projects. “The new HOT (high-occupany toll) lanes are an example of this. If the tolls do not reach the agreed upon revenue levels, then the taxpayers must kick in tax dollars to offset that shortfall.”