Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Saving the toughest ones for last

The two budgets that will be the last to finish will be Department of Human Services (DHS) and Transportation. Each has one major sticking point.

DHS is a matter of whether we are going to privatize foster care. About half of the state's children who are in foster care are cared for by the state, the other half are under private care. We should privatize the whole thing because privates are more effective, from a personal and a fiscal perspective. The unions do not want to give up those employees. We will see how it shakes out.

Transportation is a question of whether to complete the DRIC project study. DRIC is the Detroit River International Crossing, a second bridge to supplement the Ambassador. I just wrote a newsletter on this. Bottom line is, the Ambassador bridge's owner can build a second span for under $1 billion in private money. The Dept. of Transportation (DOT) wants to build a new bridge with up to $3 billion in public money. A study is currently under way, courtesy of the taxpayers to evaluate (or should I say justify) public expenditure for a new bridge. The Senate is trying to cancel the rest of the study and let the private developer build the new bridge, when it is needed.

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