April 22, 2015


Momentum picks up for privatization of the sky. This week, the Federal Aviation Administration took another step down Privatization Road when it stopped printing the navigation charts used by aviators. They’ll now be printed — for those people who depend on paper — by a private company, instead. It’s not the first time the FAA turned over part of its functions to a corporation. A few years ago, all the “flight service stations” — there’s one in Princeton, Minn. — which provide weather and other services to pilots, were sold off to the Lockheed Corp. with mixed results. Today, NPR broaches the next step in privatization: turning the entire air traffic control system over to a private company to run. Minnesota Public Radio News (blog)

Rachel Maddow Blows Lid Off Republican Scheme to Privatize the VA. Despite the administrative issues plaguing the VA, Maddow reveals that the agency’s care is rated consistently better than that given in the private sector, and that the Koch brothers specifically engineered the campaign to slander and abolish the VA as a “new line of defense against socialized medicine.” While nobody believes the VA is perfect, the idea of turning the care for our veterans into yet another way for corporations to extort money out of the very people who risked their lives defending their “freedom” to make billion dollar profits and purchase our political system. Occupy Democrats

IL: Bill would privatize Illinois economic development agency. A bill to partially privatize the state’s economic development agency has surfaced abruptly in Springfield, and it may be on a fast track to passage. . . . Rauner would get to establish a private Illinois Business & Economic Development Corp. that would pick up many of the key functions of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, a state government agency. For instance, the corporation would have the power to negotiate tax incentive deals with companies, subject to final approval by DCEO. The idea is similar to proposals Rauner made during his race for governor. Chicago Business

IL: Federal Judge Finds No Injury From Redflex Bribery. Motorists in Chicago, Illinois cannot cite the federal bribery charges against top Redflex officials as a way to get out of paying a red light camera ticket. US District Court Judge Amy J. St. Eve came to that tentative conclusion earlier this month after Matthew G. Falkner challenged the automated ticket he received in the mail based on a photograph of his Infiniti taken on January 19, 2013. Falkner argued that paying the fine would reward the illegal activities of Redflex. TheNewspaper.com

TX: Poll finds support for toll road within levees is tepid. “This poll clearly shows that Dallas voters are now decisively rejecting the Trinity toll road,” said Angela Hunt, a former City Council member who led the failed 2007 referendum to reduce the size of the project now going forward. Dallas Morning News

MO: Missouri lawmaker proposes I-70 toll to maintain highways. A Missouri lawmaker has proposed that the state partner with a private company to make Interstate 70 a toll road. . . . A dip in transportation funding will mean only about a quarter of the state’s roads and bridges will be fully maintained. . . Schaaf’s bill needs committee approval before it can be debated by the full Senate. mySanAntonio.com