Fung Wants to Consider Privatizing RIPTA & RI Resource Recovery

Mar 6, 2014

Republican gubernatorial candidate Allan Fung says he'd consider privatizing RIPTA and other state agencies to find the money to pay for some of his policy proposals.

"You can take a look at RIPTA -- can we do it better just strictly as a private-sector solution?" Fung said Thursday when asked during RIPR's Bonus Q+A how he'd fund ideas like freezing tuition at state universities. "Take a look at Resource Recovery," the quasi-public entity that runs the state landfill in Johnston, "take a look at a lot of different areas within our budget, some of where our dollars are going, to try to fix where government is providing services and if possible, get out of providing government services."

Ironically, one of the most fervent advocates of privatization government services in Rhode Island was former Cranston mayor Stephen P. Laffey, who took part in a highly publicized fight over privatizing school crossing guards.

Fung sounded a different note when asked about how many debates he's willing to commit to with GOP rival Ken Block.

"I'm willing to do a debate, I'm not sure how many yet," Fung says. "It's still too early in the process, too early in the game. We'll work on that as the campaign runs through."

Asked how soon he might sit down for a debate with Block, Fung says, "I'm still governing, I'm still doing what I need to do to ensure Cranston is running smoothly and getting out there, meeting the people. My first priority is meeting the people of the state of Rhode Island, listening to them."

Bonus Q+A can be heard at 6:40 and 8:40 am Friday on RIPR, and online. Fung also joined us for Political Roundtable, which airs at 5:40 and 7:40.

Other highlights:

-- Fung repeated his opposition to the proposed pension settlement. "We have a legitimate constitutional argument and a valid public purpose in my opinion to continue that fight," against the legal challenge by a coalition of public-employee unions, "and it's not a roll of the dice, because even with that settlement, people can opt out."

-- On the idea of legalizing marijuana, Fung says the state should move slowly. "We have to be careful about the detrimental effects and I've seen that firsthand as a former prosecutor."

-- Fung defended his campaign's decision not to release an internal survey, even though the campaign is using the findings to pan Block's two previous votes for President Obama.