Friday Privatization News Highlights (6/10/2011 edition)

News articles on some of the more interesting developments on the state and local privatization front this week include:

  • Ohio Senate Approves New Budget” (State Journal): Yesterday, the Ohio Senate approved its changes to House Bill 153, which includes authorization for the state to privatize the Ohio Lottery and five prisons, and it also includes language authorizing transportation public-private partnerships (PPPs).
  • State DOT looking to privatize highway maintenance to save money” ( The New Jersey Department of Transportation is considering outsourcing highway maintenance. This makes a lot of sense, as my Reason colleague Shirley Ybarra wrote in this 2008 piece.
  • Texas House approves Medicaid changes” (San Antonio Express-News): The Texas House of Representatives passed a major health care transformation bill that includes a plan to privatize the delivery of Medicaid services (via private managed care) in South Texas, similar to the system used elsewhere in the state already.
  • Florida Wants Privatized Camping and RV Sites at 56 State Parks” ( Florida’s Division of Environmental Protection is considering the use of public-private partnerships to expand camping and RV recreation facilities in 56 state parks. For more on how the parks PPP model works, see my articles here and here, and don’t miss our video on the subject from last fall.
  • Hickenlooper signs bill to speed air-quality permits for business” (Denver Business Journal): This week, Gov. Hickenlooper signed into law Senate Bill 235, which authorizes the state Department of Public Health and Environment to contract with pre-qualified, private firms for air quality permit modeling services as a way to address the state’s serious backlog in air permitting (they have one staffer conducting such work today). Companies seeking to use this new process would bear the costs for the vendor services. Sounds like this bill had solid bipartisan sponsorship and support, and it’s not dissimilar from a program that New Jersey is undertaking to address their state’s backlog in the remediation of contaminated properties.
  • Don’t Privatize That Book!” (City Journal): An excellent piece by Matthew Cunningham discussing SEIU’s nefarious role in trying to stop the “Privatization Beast” of municipal library outsourcing in the Golden State via AB 438, a misguided and foolish bill moving in the California legislature that would render it effectively impossible for cities to contract out the operation of their cash-strapped libraries. Reason Foundation’s Annual Privatization Report 2010 included a feature on this nascent trend in SoCal, including a review of Riverside County’s highly successful, 13-year outsourcing initiative. Typical of SEIU and many California policymakers, their thinking runs along the lines of “if something’s working well, let’s kill it before it spreads.” With “leadership” like that, no wonder California is such a pathetic fiscal basket case.
  • Plan to privatize Augusta transit finalized” (Augusta Chronicle): Officials in Augusta, Georgia have announced a plan to contract with a private vendor for the operation and management of Augusta Public Transit.
  • Bill to end Port Authority’s monopoly heads to state Senate” (Beaver County Times): The Pennsylvania House of Representatives has passed House Bill 10, which would transfer the Port Authority of Allegheny County’s responsibility to regulate local transit to the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission in a move designed to generate transit competition and end the Authority’s transit monopoly.

For more on privatization, see Reason Foundation’s privatization research archive.