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CA: A Feeding Frenzy for Lobbyists ($222 billion bond has advocates lining up for piece of action)
Los Angeles Times ^ | February 12, 2006 | Jordan Rau

Posted on 02/12/2006 12:25:00 PM PST by calcowgirl

Richard Gephardt, the former congressional leader and two-time presidential candidate, recently dropped by California's Capitol to chat with a fellow Democrat, Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata. The subject was not politics but private toll roads, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Gephardt works for Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that is making millions advising Chicago and Indiana on how to sell toll roads to private companies. That idea, largely resisted in California, is now back on center stage here as part of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's $222-billion proposal to revamp roads, levees and schools across the state.

His plan includes $16 billion for privately run toll roads, mostly for commercial traffic. It was crafted with advice from a Goldman Sachs senior advisor, Kathleen Brown, a former state treasurer.


Schwarzenegger's proposal to use private-public partnerships to expand the routes used for transporting goods from California's ports has drawn international attention.

One firm expressing interest is the Macquarie Infrastructure Group, an Australia-based company. The firm is part of a consortium that last month won a $3.8-billion contract to maintain and run a 157-mile toll road in Indiana. The consortium also leased the Chicago Skyway last year for $1.8 billion, a deal in which Goldman Sachs earned $9 million for giving financial advice to the city.

Macquarie hadn't employed a Sacramento lobbyist since 2001. But last April it retained California Strategies & Advocacy, a firm led by Bob White, a longtime Republican operative who advised Schwarzenegger in his 2003 recall campaign.

Among Democrats, who hold the majority in both houses of the Legislature, the idea of private toll roads is one of the most controversial parts of the governor's plan. Gephardt and a Macquarie executive hope to convince legislators that the idea makes sense ...

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Government; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: bigbangbond; bobwhite; callegislation; feedingfrenzy; gephardt; goldmansachs; macquarie; news; pppartnership; strategicgrowthplan; tollroad; tollroads

1 posted on 02/12/2006 12:25:03 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl
Individual projects so far are not named in the bonds, but advocates are positioning themselves to be first to obtain money from state agencies if voters approve the plan. More urgently, lobbyists hope to influence the criteria written into the bond initiatives that will direct how the money will be doled out.
2 posted on 02/12/2006 12:26:07 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

did someone call the hogs to the trough?

is that squealings of glee and a stampede of hooves I hear in the distance headed for california?

3 posted on 02/12/2006 12:29:21 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ...
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To: NormsRevenge

With all the bovine heading to Sacramento, how will
California meet its Kyoto-like greenhouse gas goals?

4 posted on 02/12/2006 12:39:30 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

methane catalytic energy converters utilizing solar power to process and store it, ya hang one off the rear of every farm animal , waaa laaa. lol

5 posted on 02/12/2006 12:41:14 PM PST by NormsRevenge (Semper Fi ... Monthly Donor spoken Here. Go to ...
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To: NormsRevenge; Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I'm finding a few interesting articles. Toll roads are quite the rage. (Or at least Mr. Orski is trying to sell them as such)
Will the U.S. transportation community rise to the challenge?
By C. Kenneth Orski
January 15, 2006

Macquarie, Cintra, Transurban – these names are acquiring a familiar ring to the U.S. highway community, even if they still mean nothing to the general public. All three are foreign companies that are pioneering new approaches to highway financing, construction, and operation in this country – and helping to speed up development of highway infrastructure, that otherwise, might have stayed on the drawing board for years to come.


They perceive America as having a large reservoir of unsatisfied highway needs; they think the prospect for increased public funding is problematic; they see a growing acceptance of tolling; and they sense a climate of greater receptivity toward public-private partnerships, in which private companies serve as financiers and managers of transport infrastructure. Their speculations may well prove to be correct. So far, no fewer than six states – Indiana, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Texas, and Delaware – are weighing awards of long-term concessions of their toll roads, in return for up-front capital. Their appetite has been whetted by the experience of the city of Chicago, which received a $1.83 billion windfall from a 99-year lease of its Chicago Skyway. Should any of these states negotiate similarly profitable deals (Indiana being the most likely early prospect, hoping to realize more than $2 billion from a long-term lease of its toll road), the news will undoubtedly spur other financially-strapped states to seek similar arrangements.

Is America Ready for Toll Roads?
By C. Kenneth Orski
November 1, 2005

"Is a tolled highway system truly the answer for our future? Can it pass the political hurdles?" These are the questions syndicated columnist Neal Peirce posed in a recent column, after noting local reluctance to raise gas taxes (as evidenced most recently by a legislative moratorium on raising the state gasoline tax in Georgia); an expected drop in tax receipts flowing into the Trust Fund, as people cut back on driving in the face of rising fuel prices; and mounting interest in revenue producing HOT lanes and toll roads ("Is America Really Ready for Toll Roads", The Denver Post, October 9, 2005).

According to Peirce, questions about the future prospects for tolling are ones that "very few of us – politico or plan citizens – seem ready to answer." But, evidence from across the country seems to belie Peirce's skepticism. Indeed, recent months have seen strong indications that tolling is becoming accepted, by both politicians and the transportation community, as a necessary and proper supplement to traditional highway revenue sources.


In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger has signed legislation (A.B. 850), allowing private contractors to build toll roads and express toll lanes throughout the state.

Texans, who appear to be ahead of California on the 'toll road curve,' seem to have more than a few complaints about the current path of politicians. I found (which even quotes McClintock talking about the 91 Freeway fiasco: "We must never allow the state's obligation to build a first-rate public highway system to be compromised again")

Texas Freepers, of course, are right on top of it. See keywords TransTexasCorridor or TTC.

6 posted on 02/12/2006 1:32:21 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: NormsRevenge
...waaa laaa

Is that like voila?
You'll never make it with the Vichy clan. lol

7 posted on 02/12/2006 1:37:24 PM PST by calcowgirl
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To: calcowgirl

The end days for the liberal pigs... so what is one last party as county after county in California turns red?

Liberal pigs will be pushed out to Hawaii and finally communist China.

8 posted on 02/12/2006 1:40:25 PM PST by Porterville (They took our jobs!!! Der dook er jibs!!! Deer took er jabs!!!)
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To: calcowgirl

Glad I was never this kind of lobbyist.

9 posted on 02/12/2006 1:41:31 PM PST by FOG724 (
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To: calcowgirl
In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger has signed legislation (A.B. 850), allowing private contractors to build toll roads and express toll lanes throughout the state.

INTRODUCED BY   Assembly Member Canciamilla
(Principal  coauthors:   Assembly Members Benoit, Niello, and Richman  )
(Principal coauthor: Senator Runner)

FEBRUARY 18, 2005

   An act to amend Sections 143 and 149 of the Streets and Highways
Code, relating to transportation.


   AB 850, as amended, Canciamilla.  Toll road agreements.

   Existing law, until January 1, 2003, authorized the Department of
Transportation to solicit proposals and enter into agreements with
private entities or consortia for the construction and lease of no
more than 2 toll road projects, and specified the terms and
requirements applicable to those projects. Existing law authorizes
the department to construct high-occupancy vehicle and other
preferential lanes.

   This bill would instead authorize the department to enter into
comprehensive development franchise agreements with public and
private entities or consortia for specified types of transportation
projects, as defined, subject to certain requirements and conditions.
The bill would authorize tolls to be collected after the termination
of a franchise agreement period, subject to approval of the
California Transportation Commission. The bill would require a
franchise agreement to allow the department to open a competitive
state facility in the same corridor. The bill would authorize the
department to construct and operate high-occupancy vehicle and other
preferential lanes as toll facilities. The bill would enact other
related provisions.

10 posted on 02/12/2006 1:46:37 PM PST by calcowgirl
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