- U.S. attorney warns Cuomo not to interfere with anti-corruption probes
- Investigators reach Ukraine jet crash site
- Ohio gives Obama a thumbs down; Hillary Clinton tops GOP all-stars: poll
- Jesse Ventura suggests suit not over; HarperCollins could be next
- State Department: ‘No American is proud’ of certain CIA tactics
- Drug-filled drone crash outside S.C. prison sends police on alert
- GOP to Obama: Take your ‘golf cap off’ and get down to coal country
- Hamas cleric tells Jews: ‘We will exterminate you’
- San Diego Costco, Target shoppers shocked by plane crash in parking lot
- George W. Bush penning biography of father
Ky. panel OKs allowing public-private partnerships
Question of the Day
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - A bill backed by influential business groups that would allow state and local governments in Kentucky to partner with private sources for projects ranging from roads and sewer lines to college dorms won approval from a House committee Thursday.
The measure was touted as a way to create new financing plans to construct public projects in a time of lean government budgets. It would allow for the formation of public-private partnerships in which a private company could construct, finance or operate a public facility.
“At a time when local and state government funding is so tight, this is a way forward where the private community can be called on to help achieve the public good,” Kentucky Chamber of Commerce President Dave Adkisson said.
The bill won approval from the House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.
It drew objections from Democratic Rep. Arnold Simpson of Covington, who said the public-private partnership option could pave the way for tolls to finance a new Ohio River bridge between Cincinnati and Covington. He tried but failed to have the bridge project excluded from such financing plans.
“The mere possibility of the utilization of this bill as a device to toll the bridge that lies in northern Kentucky, I feel, is an affront,” he said.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Mike Hancock said public-private partnerships could be used to finance a number of transportation projects.
“That is a tool for my tool kit that I do not currently have, and it’s a tool that we believe has its rightful place,” he said.
When pressed by Simpson, Hancock said that tolls would play a key role in the financing plan to build the proposed new bridge between Kentucky and Ohio. “Otherwise, there simply isn’t the money to accomplish the project,” Hancock said.
Toll revenues would be used to repay bonds issued to finance the proposed $2.6 billion project.
The project also would include renovating the 50-year-old Brent Spence Bridge. The neighboring states see the new bridge as a way to unsnarl traffic at a site singled out by President Barack Obama as an example of the nation’s aging network of bridges.
Rep. Leslie Combs, the bill’s sponsor, said public-private partnerships would provide a new financing option for a wide range of projects. Supporters said such partnerships already are used in more than half the states.
“It’s intended to do things all over the commonwealth,” said Combs, D-Pikeville.
Under her bill, projects carried out through public-private partnerships, except those at colleges or universities, would require approval from the state Finance Cabinet. Any projects involving a state agency would be reviewed by the General Assembly’s Capital Projects and Bond Oversight Committee. Those projects exceeding $25 million would have to be approved by the full General Assembly.
The concept already has been put to use at the University of Kentucky.
TWT Video Picks
By Ted Cruz
Israel saves its enemies; Hamas endangers its friends
- Al Gore's climate-changers at EPA hearings foiled by cool temperatures
- Geraldo Rivera: Matt Drudge 'doing his best to stir up a civil war'
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- Lois Lerner hated conservatives, new emails show
- House votes to sue President Obama over claims of presidential power
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- NAPOLITANO: Is the president incompetent or lawless?
- 'Big Bang' star Mayim Bialik helps send bulletproof vests to IDF
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world