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How Privatizing Water Systems Costs Taxpayers -- & Endangers Them (

Feb 7, 2018

Daniel Van Abs, Rutgers associate professor of practice for water, society & environment, says it's almost impossible to tell whether higher costs are a result of better service or higher profit margins due to private companies overbuilding infrastructure that isn't needed. "It's a black box. We don't know if a system is investing too much or not enough, or if it's overstaffed or understaffed." And since cities can borrow much more cheaply on the municipal bond markets than private equity companies can with investors, there is no reason they can't be just as cost-effective, if not more. "Any medium- to large-size publicly owned utility should be able to operate themselves just as well as an investor-owned utility," says Van Abs. "If not, it's a failure of political will or focus."


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