Sunday, June 25, 2006

More Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth...

...can be expected from the precincts of Angry Bear, when pgl gets word of this:

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley ...secured a landmark $1.8 billion lease of the Chicago Skyway in late 2004, and now he's considering handing control of Midway Airport over to private operators.

Likewise, state officials soon could be presented with an offer to privatize the Illinois tollway they simply can't refuse.

....Illinois lawmakers are exploring what likely would be an even more lucrative long-term lease of the state's 274-mile northern tollway system.

"There's clear evidence of the emerging trend for public-private partnership in infrastructure," says state Sen. Jeffrey Schoenberg. "I strongly believe that Illinois should be on the front end of that curve."

The Evanston Democrat ....

So, even to the Democrats it makes sense?

Chicago, meanwhile, is serious about making Midway the first major U.S airport to be put under private control. A multi-decade lease could bring in billions, which Daley would use to build infrastructure, such as schools and libraries, and to shore up four city employee pension funds that face a combined deficit of at least $5 billion.

Of course! Gotta protect those public employee pensions.

"The mayor absolutely is on the forefront of this concept by virtue of the fact that, up until the Skyway, there had never been a privatization of a tollway in the U.S., while it's, frankly, very commonplace overseas," says Dana Levenson, Chicago's chief financial officer.

"I think, clearly, the Indiana tollway proved what we knew all along — that the Skyway was not just an isolated incident. I think you'll now start to see cities and municipalities across the country start to examine their 'portfolios' for what can be done, from a practical and political viewpoint."

Show them the money!

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