Feds Want to Privatize Highways

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article about the federal government's attempts to offset the cost of waging a war i...

Earlier this week, the Washington Post published an article about the federal government's attempts to offset the cost of waging a war in Iraq by levying tolls on roads, and privatizing highways...
They and other political appointees have spent the latter part of President Bush's two terms laboring behind the scenes to shrink the federal role in road-building and public transportation. They have also sought to turn highways into commodities that can be sold or leased to private firms and used by motorists for a price. In Duvall and Gribbin's view, unleashing the private sector and introducing market forces could lead to innovation and more choices for the public, much as the breakup of AT&T transformed telecommunications.
Read the full article here...
http://www.washingtonpost.com/..../AR2008031603085.html?hpid=topnews

I'm not against privatizing our highways and freeways. I think private businesses can do a better job than government in keeping them maintained.

One particular problem we had in Southern California with privatizing some of our highways, is that the State agreed to grant the company veto power on all improvement projects concerning State owned highways. The company charged its travellers a toll to use the roads. They argued that if the State made improvements on State owned highways, it would compete against their business. As a result, traffic along State owned highways grew more congested as the company continued to veto any improvement projects. In the end, the County of Orange had to buy out the company, in order to move forward on the improvement projects.

As long as private firms are not given veto power on public projects, I'm all for highway privatization.

I don't like paying tolls as much anyone else, but on the other hand, the privately run highways in Southern California are some of the smoothest and well maintained roads we've got.

Since it's going to cost us tolls to use these highways, then I also want a tax break. Several years ago, voters in California agreed to a half-cent sales tax increase to finance road improvement projects. No sense in paying that anymore if we're having to pay tolls.

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