Mon, May. 19, 2008
Spanish firm offers $12.8 billion to lease Pa. Turnpike
By Paul Nussbaum INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
A Spanish toll-road operator won the bidding war to operate the Pennsylvania Turnpike, offering $12.8 billion for a 75-year lease, Gov. Rendell said today. The proposal by Abertis Infraestructuras, of Barcelona, must be approved by the Pennsylvania legislature, and legislative leaders in Harrisburg have said the plan faces tough sledding with lawmakers.
The nation's largest private prison company has partnered with the federal government to detain close to
1 million undocumented people in the past 5 years until they are deported. In the process, Corrections Corporation of America has made record profits. Critics suggest the CCA cuts corners on its detention contracts in order to increase its revenue at expense of humane conditions. Thanks to political connections and lobby spending, it dominates the industry of immigrant detention. CCA now has close to 10,000 new beds under development in anticipation of continued demand.
Selling Off Public Roads Isn't A Transit Strategy
March 1, 2007
Back in the 1970s, the humor magazine National Lampoon wrote a commentary on corporate influence in America titled "We're Changing the Name of the Country to Exxon."
It doesn't seem like such a stretch today. From naming rights to professional sports venues, to companies offering financial support to cash-strapped public schools in exchange for marketing their brands and products, corporate influence in America today is pervasive.
Now, commercial interests and smart investors are turning their eyes toward some of our nation's most prominent roadways. We need to slow down.
Certainly states and cities across the country face massive transportation challenges. Roads and bridges are crumbling, traffic congestion has become intolerable, air quality is deteriorating, working families are having difficulty reaching many jobs, and several transit systems are either constrained or seriously overcrowded.
So politicians are looking for a quick fix.
Robert Puentes is a fellow at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. His expertise is in transportation, urban planning, growth management, suburban issues and housing. This was distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
New Idea for the Turnpike: Let the Pension Fund Run It
By DAVID W. CHEN and KEN BELSON
TRENTON, Feb. 27 - With legislators lining up against the possibility of leasing the New Jersey Turnpike to a private company, New Jersey lawmakers are now considering another option: having the state pension fund run the Turnpike Authority's operation.
Legislators said Tuesday that they had had discussions with Gov. Jon S. Corzine and other officials about the unorthodox solution to the state's financial difficulties, but they said the idea was only in a preliminary stage.
Spinning toll roads' asphalt into gold
Pennsylvania and New Jersey are considering leasing them to firms. The states could get billions. But at what cost?
By Paul Nussbaum
Inquirer Staff Writer
What is a turnpike worth?
The answer to that billion-dollar question is critical in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where venerable state-owned toll roads now are being viewed less as ribbons of commerce than as streams of revenue.
Political leaders in both states are considering leasing the toll roads to private operators. What the states receive is clear: lots of cash. What they lose is the subject of intense debate.
Estimates of the roads' value vary wildly - from $2 billion to $30 billion for the Pennsylvania Turnpike and from $12 billion to $38 billion or more for the New Jersey Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway. Because there are few examples to look to for guidance, the two states are essentially guinea pigs in their own experiments.