February 11, 2015


Vast majority opposes gas tax hike, poll shows. Nearly 70 percent of U.S. residents are opposed to the idea of raising the federal gas tax to pay for new transportation projects, according to a poll released Friday by a group that is working to stop such an increase…..The poll found 21 percent of its respondents agreed with the statement “because the cost of gasoline is falling, now is the right time to increase the federal gasoline tax. Our roads, bridges, and highways are in disrepair and this extra money would help increase the amount of money available for transportation construction.” The Hill

MI: Up to 170 state-worker jobs at stake in lottery bills. . . The bills — one in each chamber — would require state Lottery Commissioner M. Scott Bowen to seek bids from private companies for management of the state lottery, though the legislation wouldn’t require the commissioner to accept those bids. Both bills were just referred to committee and haven’t yet had a hearing. Detroit Free Press

NY: NYC Housing Authority deal with developers raises concerns. Elected officials asked Tuesday whether a deal to give private developers a 50 percent stake in six New York City Housing Authority properties could signal a trend toward privatization of the nation’s largest public housing agency. The partnership deal, which closed in December, affects 875 apartments in buildings where rents are subsidized under the federal Section 8 program. Newsday

IN: Lake, LaPorte counties still in hunt for bankrupt Toll Road. Tolls paid by motorists at the Indiana Toll Road Portage exit, shown here, could help fund road projects in LaPorte and Lake counties under plans being formed by both counties to buy the Toll Road out of bankruptcy. nwitimes.com

LA: Inmate Care More Complicated Since Privatization. When Earl K. Long Hospital closed nearly two years ago, LSU’s private partner in Baton Rouge — Our Lady of the Lake — took over patient care, but refused to take care of inmates. That meant a whole lot of scrambling for Angola Warden Burl Cain. WRKF

TX: State hospital’s privatization on hold. The Texas State Auditor’s Office is looking into whether the Health and Human Services Commission followed proper procedure when it worked to privatize Terrell State Hospital last year. State Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, requested the audit last year, amid questions about both the agency’s process, and whether the agency even has the authority to hand off the running of a state psychiatric hospital to a private company, without legislative approval. Tyler Morning Telegraph

PA: Pennsylvania House Republicans plan vote to privatize liquor sales. As a “starting point” for Pennsylvania’s 2015-16 budget talks, House Republicans said Tuesday that they will lay their first marker, once again, on a full-scale privatization of the existing state-run liquor monopoly. House Majority Leader David Reed said his caucus plans to run and expects to pass a mirror-image of the privatization bill that passed the House of Representatives two years ago. The House vote is scheduled for the week of Feb. 23. PennLive.com

TN: Haslam proposes privatizing troubled Woodland Hills…The troubled youth detention facility in Nashville was the site of two mass escapes last fall. Under Haslam’s proposal, the state will save $7.7 million by handing the reins to a private contractor, eliminating 131 positions at the facility in the process. The Tennessean

CT: Former Malloy aide joins toll-road operato. A builder and operator of highway tolls has hired a firm employing a former top adviser to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy as the governor is making transportation a major issue of his second term. Hearst Connecticut Media reports that Roy Occhiogrosso, who led Malloy’s unsuccessful 2006 gubernatorial campaign and his winning races in 2010 and 2014, is a managing partner at the Hartford-based Global Strategy Group. It entered a $60,000-a-year agreement last month to represent the HNTB Corp. in Kansas City. Occhiogrosso is listed with the state as the main Connecticut lobbyist for HNTB, a consulting firm for public works, including management of tolls. Waterbury Republican American