Yesterday, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe announced that he had awarded the contract to widen Interstate 66 outside the capital beltway to Express Mobility Partners, a consortium of finance and construction companies. Â The deal is a so-called “Public-Private Partnership,” an arrangement growing in popularity around the country as a way for cash-strapped states to finance needed transportation improvements.
The “Public” part is that the state gives the projectÂ to Express Mobility Partners in exchange for a cash payment of $500 million and a promise to maintain the highway and complete agreed-upon improvements. Â The “Private” part is that the consortium has the uncapped ability to charge tolls on that stretch of road for 50 years.
The wisdom of such arrangements is debatable, but such debate is not the focus today. Â Suffice it to say that without sufficient oversight, such arrangements have significant potential for corruption.
Which brings us to this. Â To finance its work, Express Mobility Partners includesÂ a private equity investment companyÂ called Meridiam. Â Meridiam’s North American Chairman is Jane Garvey. Â According to Politico, as Bill Clinton’s former head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Garvey just so happens to also be one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisors on transportation policy.
This Jane Garvey, as seen from WikiLeaks emailing with John PodestaÂ about her role in electing Hillary Clinton:
This Jane Garvey, as seen from the Clinton Foundation’s website, writing “To Strengthen American Infrastructure, Empower American Women.”
McAuliffe, for his part, is known forÂ bons mots like this:
Let me tell you, itâ€™s a lot easier to raise money for a governor. They have all kinds of business to hand out, road contracts, construction jobs, you name it.
I’m sure the Governor would say it was all just a coincidence that Garvey’s company happened to have the best bid. I’m sure he’ll deny that he ever had any contact with Garvey, or that he discussed with anyone Garvey’s connections to the Clinton campaign. If asked, he’ll say politics had absolutely nothing to do with his decision, and that any suggestion to the contrary is “silly season.”
It would be nice if someone in the mainstream media even asked the questions though, wouldn’t it?
We can’t draw definitive conclusions from the fact that the winner consortium was headed by a politically-connected pal of the Governor’s…one who is a maxed-out donor to McAuliffe’s chief political patron, and who like McAuliffe also serves as a Hillary Clinton advisor.
But at some point, coincidences that all point in the same direction start to look like a pattern.