In the Dec. 9 article "Corbett Makes Promise, Sans Specifics, on Transit," Gov. Tom Corbett mentioned that there was a state law passed last year "allowing for public-private partnerships to pay for infrastructure projects." I assume that this will allow private corporations to charge a fee to use this private infrastructure, including bridges, roads and highways.
The governor favors privatization of the state liquor stores without guarantees that private companies will earn the state $500 million, as was the case this past year.
The governor has given the gas industry easy access to gas extraction. Every other state has a tax on extraction while we have a minimal fee at each drilling site. Additionally, those in North Huntingdon and Penn Township in Westmoreland County have learned that a company may have the right of eminent domain to install its lines.
In a letter to the Editor in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, a writer notes that Governor Corbett has approved legislation allowing public private partnerships to pay for infrastucture. Also noted is the opportunity to acquire land for the transport of extracted minerals.
The decisions to create infrastructure at this point seem to be premised upon private public partnerships given the dearth of funds available to communities. Mineral extraction provides a clear public policy that domestic production must be maximized. So long as that is our public policy, one can readily foresee continued eminent domain delegations to private utilities. The question will then be one of fairness and responsible action by those having the power of eminent domain.