More arrogance from state Governors…"let us loot our citizens without interference"

Link to article here. Oh, now I get why Rick Perry is suddenly so fond of states rights…

State guvs to US on P3s: “Bug off, the roads are ours”

Regardless of party, state governors are opposing moves in the US Congress to second guess their arrangements for privatization of roads, toll concessions, or public private partnerships.Apparently without dissent the National Governors Association has adopted a formal ‘Policy Position’ on surface transportation that says that they oppose any federal restrictions on states’ ability to enter into toll concessions or other public-private arrangements.

The draft reauthorization bill produced by the House transportation committee provides for a new federal Office of Public Benefit – a newspeak title right out of Orwell’s 1984. This office would have the power to allow or disallow toll concessions and other public-private arrangements entered into by states.

NGA official policy

The governors take a firm line against the OPB proposal saying in their official policy, and we quote them in full on this subject:

13.2.2 Non-Traditional Financing

“Governors urge the development of flexible, innovative, accountable, and alternative financing mechanisms that support the mobility goals of the states and oppose any federal restrictions on states’ ability to pursue public-private partnership arrangements to address their own infrastructure needs.

“Governors support the removal of federal restrictions on states’ authority to toll federally-aided highways.

“State and local authorities, as the owners and operators of the surface transportation system, must determine the appropriate level of private sector participation in their surface transportation programs.

“Governors oppose any efforts to condition federal financial investment in state surface transportation programs to any mandate for a particular level of private participation.”

Bill stalled

The new transportation bill championed by chairman James Oberstar has made little progress due mostly to lack of funding. Short term extensions are keeping money flowing under the old SAFETEA-LOO formulae.

Oberstar has lost respect among colleagues for his buckpassing on funding this next six year transportation bill. The Obama administration seems to have has other priorities than transportation.

Oberstar’s moves to exercise federal control over P3s at the same time federal financial support is hand-to-mouth over a protracted period seems calculated to exacerbate frustration in state capitals at US Government incompetence in transportation.

see text of National Governors Association policy:

http://www.nga.org/portal/site/nga/menuitem.8358ec82f5b198d18a278110501010a0/?vgnextoid=289a9e2f1b091010VgnVCM1000001a01010aRCRD

TOLLROADSnews 2009-10-06

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