Vive Le Canada

How to buy U.S.
Date: Tuesday, March 20 2007

How to buy U.S.
By JOANN LIVINGSTON Daily Light Managing Editor
Posted: Monday, March 19, 2007 11:49 AM CDT

11th in a series

A high-dollar seminar is under way this week in Miami relating to public private partnerships and investments such as the Trans-Texas Corridor in Texas.

David Stall of the anti-Trans-Texas Corridor group,, said he’s not surprised.

“We are seeing a couple of these PPP infrastructure seminars every year now,” Stall said. “On the international market our highways, ports, bridges and airports are hot commodities.”

If built out completely, the Trans-Texas Corridor would include 8,000 miles of tolled roadways criss-crossing the state of Texas. Republican Gov. Rick Perry has touted the benefits of utilizing public private partnerships in the construction of the massive transportation project he supports.

“A pressing demand for new and improved infrastructure has seen a surge in the popularity of public private partnership deals in the U.S.A. and Canada,” organizing company Euromoney Seminars notes in its online brochure. “This increase in deal volume necessitates governments, contractors, investors and financiers expanding and educating their teams to cope with the intricacies and sensibilities of these deals.”

The three-day seminar costs $3,499, with some discounting allowed for early registration and or multiple attendees.

According to the online brochure and media, government officials from across the nation not only attend the seminars but also participate as speakers.

According to a WorldNetDaily.Com article, officials from nine state departments of transportation, including those of Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, Louisiana, Florida, Oregon, Alaska, Indiana and California attended a September 2006 conference on public private partnerships in New York City.

Two U.S. Department of Transportation officials are set to speak at an April seminar in San Francisco, along with transportation officials from California, Colorado and Oregon.

“It’s like we are giving away money, (and) in fact that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Stall said. “Hopefully we’ll all come to our senses before we discover we don’t have any public assets and we’re forced to pay outrageous fees to use what was once ours.”

Former candidate for state agriculture commissioner Hank Gilbert said it would be interesting to attend one of the seminars to see who is there, noting as an example, the USDOT officials set to speak in April.

According to Euromoney Seminar’s online brochure, Tyler Duvall, assistant secretary on transportation policy with the USDOT will speak on “The North American need for infrastructure development” and Mark Sullivan, director of USDOT’s TIFIA Credit Program, will be part of the “Road panel: Assessing the realities of the project pipeline” workshop.

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[Proofreader's note: this article was edited for spelling and typos on March 21, 2007]

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