May 13, 2015


Report Questions Constitutionality of Privatization of US Air Traffic Control. Proposals to have a private, nonprofit corporation take over the federal air-traffic control system “may be unconstitutional,” according to a Congressional Research Service Report released on Tuesday. Requested by Rep. Peter DeFazio, the Oregon Democrat who opposes such initiatives, the study says CRS experts couldn’t reach “a definitive conclusion without reviewing specific legislation.” But the report cites “specific constitutional concerns” relating to “core elements” of privatization initiatives, including establishing fees and overseeing modernization of the Federal Aviation Administration’s current traffic-control network. Wall Street Journal

IL: State OKs new Toll Road operator with improvements promised. The Indiana Finance Authority gave its blessing Tuesday to the Australian consortium that expects to take over as operator of the Indiana Toll Road on May 27. . . . The state is not receiving any additional income from the transfer. Indiana collected $3.8 billion when it agreed to lease the previously money-losing highway for 75 years to an Australian and Spanish partnership that later failed to meet its debt payments. . . . Daley announced IFM plans to spend $260 million over the next five years to improve the Toll Road, including $138 million for new pavement, increased spending on bridge and ramp replacement and maintenance, installation of dynamic message signs to warn of closures and road hazards, along with $34 million for new travel plazas. He said replacing the dilapidated rest stops is part of the company’s goal to improve customer service and ultimately “reset” the Toll Road for motorists and neighboring communities.

LA: Report slams Louisiana charter school oversight. Louisiana understaffs its charter schools oversight offices and, instead of proactively investigating these schools, relies on charters’ own reports and whistleblowers to uncover problems, according to a report released Tuesday (May 12) by the Center for Popular Democracy and the Coalition for Community Schools. That allows theft, cheating and mismanagement to happen, such as the $26,000 stolen from Lake Area New Tech High and the years of special education violations alleged at Lagniappe Academies. The report also casts a skeptical eye on the veracity of the data that Louisiana uses to calculate the performance scores that keep charters open and determine their renewal terms.

LA: Hospital privatization: Is it working in Louisiana?. . . Speaking broadly there are two main issues: greater access to care and money—as i—is the state saving any? “We’re saying we saved the state money,” said State Senator Greg Tarver, “personally I don’t believe we’re going to save any money. It might save a dollar, but I doubt that very seriously.”. . . “Our Department of health and Hospitals testified,” said Kennedy, “that they did not have the ability to discern whether our new public/private partnerships were saving us money of costing us money. I couldn’t believe they said that.” KTBS