Friday Privatization News Highlights (8/12/2011 edition)

News articles on some of the more interesting developments on the privatization and public-private partnership (PPP) front over the last two weeks include:


  • Taxpayers tell state they prefer private sector to foot bills for infrastructure” (The Australian): A new poll of over 1, 000 Australian citizens found that the global economic malaise appears to be increasing public support to tap private funds to deliver public infrastructure through PPPs. The poll found 69% support for PPPs, up over 20% from a similar poll in 2009. At the other end of the spectrum, only 14% supported raising taxes to fund infrastructure.

State Government

  • Ohio seeks consultant bids for advice on turnpike sale” (Toledo Blade): This week, the Kasich administration launched the process of exploring a potential lease of the Ohio Turnpike by issuing a request for proposals seeking consulting advisers that would conduct an asset valuation analysis and assess the feasibility of a long-term Turnpike lease, relative to other “leveraging” options. More here from the Plain Dealer.
  • Analysis: State could make $ from privatized booze measure” (Seattle Post Intelligencer): The Washington State Office of Financial Management (OFM) has released a fiscal impact statement for Initiative 1183, a November 2011 ballot measure that would privatize the state’s monopoly on the sale and distribution of distilled spirits. The OFM report estimates an increase of $216-253 million to the state general fund over the next six fiscal years, as well as an increase to local government revenues of $186-227 million over that same period. The full OFM analysis is available here.
  • State, feds hammer out Medicaid overhaul” (Miami Herald): This year, Florida policymakers moved to expand their 5-county Medicaid privatization program statewide, and they’re currently negotiating an agreement with the Federal government on how implementation will proceed. For more information on this initiative (and the original pilot), see the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration’s information archive here.
  • Route 460 advances” (Suffolk News-Herald): The Virginia Department of Transportation recently issued a request for detailed proposals to build and operate a 75-year concession for a new 55-mile toll road to replace the aging Route 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk. Proposals are due by the first quarter of 2012 from three investor-operator consortia shortlisted in an earlier round of the procurement. Virginia plans to contribute up to $500 million in state funds toward construction in order to lower toll rates.
  • Corbett: Prison Healthcare, State Park Services Could Be Privatized” (Capitol Ideas with John L. Micek): Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett—who recently announced the upcoming formation of a state privatization task force—told reporters recently that while his administration has taken the privatization of the PA Turnpike and correctional facility operation off the table, it’s open to considering potential privatization opportunities in state parks and correctional health care delivery.
  • Hickenlooper gives old idea a new look: privatizing Pinnacol” (Denver Post): Though the idea has seen fits and starts in recent years—most recently having been rejected by legislators last year—Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is re-starting the conversation on privatizing Pinnacol Assurance, the state-run workers’-compensation insurance fund. The administration is in an exploratory phase, and no decisions have been made yet.

Local Government

  • L.A. City Council to consider measure to privatize zoo management” (Los Angeles Times): Today, the L.A. city council will consider a measure that would authorize a procurement for a potential PPP to operate and manage the Los Angeles Zoo. At the same time, it would task city analysts with evaluating potential alternatives to privatization that would reduce city expenditures on the zoo. Be sure to also check out this L.A. Daily News editorial noting the potential benefits of privatization.
  • City official proposes that group run shelter” (Los Angeles Daily News): Los Angeles City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana is proposing a PPP with a nonprofit animal society to take over operations of the city’s Northeast Animal Care Center in Mission Hills. According to Santana, the move would save the city over $3 million annually. The nonprofit Best Friends Animal Society was selected based on the proposal it submitted in response to an earlier request for information issued by the City.
  • Nonprofit will manage curb market” (Greensboro News & Record): The city council in Greensboro, North Carolina has voted 5-4 to proceed with a contract with a nonprofit to take over operations and management of the Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market. Four bidders submitted proposals, and the selected vendor, Farmers’ Market Inc., was formed by a group of current market vendors, farmers and customers. More here from Yes! Weekly.
  • Asheville considers leasing Municipal Golf Course” (Asheville Citizen-Times): City officials in Asheville, North Carolina are considering the potential privatization of the Asheville Municipal Golf Course, which has lost approximately $500,000 over the last three years and has seen declining play.

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