According to The Bond Buyer newspaper, the Indiana legislation allows the state to privatize two of the state’s largest proposed infrastructure projects under a bill passed by the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate. The bill allows the state to enter into public-private partnerships to finance construction and operation of a proposed $1 billion toll road between Indiana and Illinois and a $4.1 billion joint project with Kentucky to build a pair of bridges over the Ohio River.
Daniels can now negotiate with private investors without having to go back to the legislature for approval according to The Bond Buyer. But the measure requires the state to prepare an economic impact study and environmental analysis before it issue a request for proposals and to hold a public hearing, says the newspaper.
Calling on Creativity
The Governor is on record as saying that neither of the two projects could have been undertaken without private involvement. Using a P3 approach, he said, was a “creative” way to let work begin on them. But the legislation is no guarantee that the projects will be undertaken.
The toll road in question is the Illiana Expressway, an East-West stretch of 25-30 miles linking I-94 in Indiana to I-57 in Illinois, with about ten miles of the highway in Indiana, designed to alleviate traffic congestion in northwest Indiana. The state will retain ownership of the land, but with P3 proposal discussions will let private companies build and manage the road’s operations in return for toll revenue.
Daniels has been a long-time supporters of public-private partnerships, arguing that they have the twin values of producing money for projects that might otherwise not be forthcoming and that they do so without creating new debt for the state. In 2006 he leased the Indiana Toll Road for $3.8 billion. He has also said that he is talking with neighboring Kentucky and Illinois about their growing interest in expanding the role of P3 projects in state infrastructure.
The Bond Buyer also reports that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has formed a privatization task force to evaluate just which government operations could benefit from being managed by private companies. The goal is to lower the state’s payroll and at the same time to slash state operating costs.
Christie said he was looking for places where the state could deliver programs and services where “in a more efficient cost effective way by having the private sector do it.” v
Editor’s Note: Bond Buyer is a SourceMedia publication. SourceMedia is owned by Investcorp, which also owns Randall-Reilly, the parent company of Better Roads.
Mike Anderson’s American Iron
A “New” Way To Look At Things
When you’re talking about construction equipment, “new” is a simple enough tag to designate. Or is it?
Sure enough, that piece of shiny equipment just shipped from the factory, now sitting pretty on the lush front lawn of a dealership, is new. And, better yet for those of us who try to follow what’s truly new in the market, there’s no doubt about the “new” tag if the manufacturer happened to have introduced that model in the past, what, six months. Or should that be 12 months? Or 24? Or 36?
And therein lies the dilemma for marketers of construction equipment.
One of the industry’s true stalwart brands, Bobcat – a brand so historic and renowned that it is often used to describe a universal equipment type and not simply a make – is understandably putting a lot of effort into drawing attention to its “new M-Series loaders.” Indeed, it was only last June that, dodging snowflakes (it was North Dakota after all), Better Roads editorial director Marcia Gruver was observed hopping into a S630 skid steer loader at the M-Series launch. That was the better part of year ago now, but Marcia’s cool ride then is still undoubtedly a new machine now, especially considering that the M-Series product family is still easing into the market. But will the S630 be “new” a year from now? How about the brother S650 that followed a few months later?
These questions really come to the fore during the show season. A “new” product may be exactly that, for that particular show, but it’s also quite possible the same piece was “new” at another industry event, be it last month or even last year. Since not all shows are annual, there is a prime opportunity to maneuver for crafty OEM marketers and their likewise shrewd hired guns at the PR agencies: “Get the art department, pronto! We need nice, big, bright, ‘New’ signage for this display. Yes, the same display we had in Phoenix eight months ago . . . and in Paris two years ago.”
Like most people who have attended equipment trade shows over the past couple of years, we here at Better Roads have been seduced by the John Deere 764 HSD, the quad-tracked high-speed dozer that, two years after the last CONEXPO-CON/AGG, still attracts a flock at any show it’s at. Methinks one of the most intriguing earthmovers ever unveiled will be “new” until it is actually in full production and showing up on jobsites. Only when we see it working here, and there, and over there, may the “new” tag start to slip off. That may yet be years away.
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