The State of Alaska is restarting the bidding process on janitorial contracts for three state office buildings after the winning bidder won more contracts than their business could handle. It’s good news for REACH Custodial Services, which held the contracts for 20 years. REACH is a non-profit that assists and employs people with developmental disabilities. Even with a 15 percent “procurement preference” from the state, REACH’s bid wasn’t competitive enough. … The winning bidder on the contracts, JJG Cleaning Services, had bid on 10 contracts for custodial services and won eight of them. Andy Mills, a spokesman for the Department of Administration, said JJG decided to terminate three of the contracts “due to workload and staffing issues.” The contracts hadn’t been out to bid in 20 years because of the state’s “employment program and disability preference,” which allowed the contract with REACH to be exempted from the procurement process. The preference allows the state to give extra consideration to businesses that are owned by or are employing people with disabilities. …
The Knik Arm Bridge Authority has asked USDOT for increased TIFIA funding to the tune of $500m. The authority is in charge of a $1.02bn bridge project that would give Alaska its first PPP.
City dropping lawsuit against Knik Arm bridge project
Source: Sean Cockerham, Anchorage Daily News, October 9th, 2011
Editorial: It’s a great deal, but not for taxpayers
Source: Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, January 19, 2012
Setting the record straight about bridge
Source: Sen. Linda Menard, Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, January 28, 2012
Alaska ‘bridge to nowhere,’ the Knik Arm Crossing Project, still on the table
Source: Steven Mufson, Washington Post, September 25, 2011
But the Knik Arm Bridge and Toll Authority, or KABATA — the group behind a bridge project that would link Anchorage to a peninsula nearby — is still wooing private investors and trying to pry loose a considerable amount of state financial backing. And more than $50 million it has spent on promotion has been federal money….The bridge promoters are seeking support from the state. KABATA wants Alaska, flush with oil and gas revenue, to make what Menard calls “periodic, contractual availability payments” that would enable private contractors to meet bond payments. Those payments would exceed toll revenue in the early years until population and bridge use rose. But if car traffic were to fall short of expectations, the state would be stuck with the tab.
The privatization of public goods and services turns basic human needs into products to buy and sell. That’s more than a joke, it’s an insult, it’s a perversion. It generally benefits only a privileged group of businesspeople and their companies while increasing inequality and undermining the common good.
Various studies have identified the ‘benefits’ of privatization as profitability and productivity, efficiency, wider share ownership and good investment returns. These are business benefits. More balanced studies consider the effects on average people, who have paid into a long-established societal support system for their schools and emergency services, water and transportation systems, and eventually health care and retirement benefits. These studies have concluded that:
— Most privatization programs appear to have worsened the distribution of assets and income, at least in the short run….
Just as state officials are gearing up to open Goose Creek Correctional Center, legislators are scrutinizing the project’s costs and management through an audit.
State Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, pushed for the audit. He has said the state may be better off mothballing the prison because it will cost more to run than the state now spends on housing inmates at a private prison Outside. The $181,000 audit is being done by an accounting firm, John P. Johns CPA….Goose Creek was built and financed by the Mat-Su Borough, which will lease it to the state….
The Fairbanks borough’s increasingly pricey door-to-door van system for disabled and elderly riders could get a close financial evaluation at Thursday’s assembly meeting…. The assembly will consider an ordinance that would fund a study of the benefits and risks of privatizing its Van Tran paratransit service, which costs the borough almost twice as much per ride than similar services in Alaska.
Source: Linda Casey, National Institute on Money in State Politics, 2008-11-06
Since the mid-1990s – through six legislative sessions and three gubernatorial administrations – Alaska’s lawmakers have made more than a half dozen attempts to privatize prisons. These attempts have met with unfavorable public opinion. To date, the strength of public opposition has prevailed, and all private prison proposals have been defeated.
Link to report
Source: National Institute on Money in State Politics news release, December 2, 2008
Time after time, Alaska lawmakers have pushed to privatize prisons. Each attempt has been rebuffed by strong public opposition. A new report “Alaska’s Citizens Lock Out Private Prisons” by staff at the National Institute on Money in State Politics summarizes and names the pro-prison donations since 1996, and names the candidates and the state party committees that received those donations.