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Congress To Approve Privately Funded Roads?

Personally, I think this is a great idea as long as it isn't overdone. Clearly a toll booth at every road junction would be a hindrance to travelers and freight movers.

That aside, I see no reason why major highway projects shouldn't be funded by private industry in exchange for the right to collect tolls for the use of the road or bridge for a set amount of time. Ownership of the roads should remain with the government with the rights for collecting tolls part of a contractual "lease," or something along those lines. France recently did something similar with a major bridge project (the tallest bridge in the world, no less) that seems to have worked out just fine.

One thing that had better happen, should this pass, are some serious tax cuts for the citizens who will now be paying for their roads through tolls instead of taxes. After all, taxing citizens for road upkeep and then having them pay tolls for that same upkeep would be sort of ridiculous.

Which is really why this probably shouldn't pass. Politicians aren't likely to give us a tax cut in its aftermath and, with the tolls, citizens would just end up paying more for their roads.

Rob Port owns and operates Say Anything.

Comments (6)

Even better, you can let pr... (Below threshold)

Even better, you can let private industry build the roads, then just use eminant domain to take it back! It's a win-win!

Yeah, this is a horrible id... (Below threshold)
Josh Davenport:

Yeah, this is a horrible idea under our currently gutted system.

The roads would be built by eminent domain.
If property rights were actually protected it would be fine. But they are not. This will quickly be hi-jacked by power. And the tax savings will never materialize.

I rate it : Prevent at all costs.

First, privately built and ... (Below threshold)
Mark A.:

First, privately built and operated toll roads and bridges have been around the country for more than 200 years. They really are quite common. The newsworthy item is that the Federal Government is throwing work in that direction.

Second, I agree with Rob's observation of the potential for something that smells like double taxation. But what's new? Are turnpike toll fees tax deductible now? Whether they are or are not, it is unlikely to change under the new system.

Third, I don't see how this issue has anything to do with eminent domain. Eminent domain has always been used to clear the path for roads and highways, and that is unlikely to change.

I'm a fan, if we had privat... (Below threshold)

I'm a fan, if we had privatized the Bay Bridge here in the Bay Area I strongly doubt it would be $3.5 billion over budget and still not built... 15 years after the earthquake that exposed it's structural failings.

You overlook the self-perpe... (Below threshold)

You overlook the self-perpetuating nature of beaurocracy.

The Illinois Toll Authority has been collecting tolls in the Chicago area for more than a generation. Orignally founded to finance the construction of these highways, control was to be relinquished once the original bond issues were paid off. Hasn't happened; won't happen.

If anyone suspects that thi... (Below threshold)

If anyone suspects that this would result in double taxation they're right, sort of. Fuek taxes pay the majority of road building and maintenance, unless you can figure some way to figure how much was burned on prvate roads and how much on public there's no way to get a refund. Factor in the property taxes and income taxes the owner of the road will have to factor into the toll he charges and the government is clearing quite a bit of money for doing nothing. Throw in the fact that most auto insurance won't pay for accidents on private property and it's not such a good idea any more, is it?






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