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Hullabaloo


Monday, February 08, 2016

 

We the People own it; they want it

by Tom Sullivan

Even if it is nailed down, the Midas Cult will try to take it. Or privatize it where it sits. It's never about serving the public. It's always about the money. During Saturday's Republican debate, they argued about eminent domain because in New England they haven't forgotten the Kelo decision: eminent domain used to further private profits.

The #FlintWaterCrisis originated in Detroit in 2014, I believe, when Gov. Rick Snyder's emergency manager proposed putting the publicly owned water and sewer systems either up for sale or transferring control of it to a for-profit company:

Orr said last week at the Detroit Regional Chamber's annual policy conference that he's in talks with at least two of the largest U.S. private companies that operate water systems and has taken bids from them to manage Detroit's sprawling water and sewer system that serves more than 4 million people in southeast Michigan.
Messing with Flint's water and poisoning residents came later. Elsewhere there were the parking meters, highways ... hell, they'll even buy a bridge in Manhattan and sell it back to us. As I wrote before that:

Privatizing water supplies is a growth industry. Whether it's American Water, Aqua America, Suez, Veolia Water, or Nestle, private water companies are competing to lock up water resources and public water systems. If not for you, for the fracking industry. As with charter schools and vouchers in public education, public-private partnerships are one of business' favorite tactics for getting this particular camel's nose under the tent.

The latest privatizing gambit around the country is "Lexus lanes" (turning HOV lanes into toll lanes). The I-77 toll lane contract with Spain-based Cintra Infraestructures has been controversial in North Carolina and was an issue in Thom Tillis' 2014 run for the U.S. Senate. In 2015, supporting it cost several county politicians their jobs. Opponents charged that tolling I-77 is just the beginning. A Republican former legislator now primarying Gov. Pat McCrory confirms we were right:

Brawley says he started looking into the issue of tolling as a means to pay for the state's transportation needs after the DOT told him about plans for tolls along I-77, near Charlotte.

"I sat down with (then) DOT Secretary Tony Tata and three lawyers. I was informed that I really needed to support the tolls on I-77 because that was the beginning of tolling every interstate corridor in North Carolina," Brawley told the I-Team.

[...]

A spokesperson for the DOT says there are no plans to toll every interstate in North Carolina and wouldn't comment on Brawley's allegations that he was told that by the former Secretary of Transportation.

Because there is a primary, this is news, I guess. But it's not as if they've made a secret of their plans. If I-77 is any indication, instead of keeping all the revenue in state, the GOP-led legislature will export running the tolling operation to a foreign for-profit instead of keeping the money in-state. Because the state running it is big gummint. From the Midas Cult's perspective, publicly owned assets are waiting to be mined like minerals. Say, what's your interstate doing under our toll road?