Are Privately Owned Roads in the Public's Interest?

Eric Jaffe traces the uneven history of private sector involvement in road construction and management. The involvement of public-private partnerships will likely continue to grow, despite the potential pitfalls.

"Public-private partnerships for infrastructure (often called PPPs or P3s) have been on the rise in recent years, and many experts believe the trend has yet to peak," observes Jaffe. "But as public-private partnerships become more common, there's a heightened fear that local governments are giving away too much in the deal. Some scholars, public interest groups, and lawmakers caution that PPPs often fail to deliver the improvements they promise, cuff the hands of local officials for generations, undermine comprehensive urban planning, and threaten the core value of roads as a public service. For every new attempt at PPP success, they say, there are multiple examples of partnerships that failed."

"No amount of concern is likely to curtail the rising interest in public-private partnerships," he adds. "Rather, their use only stands to increase as governments at all levels continue to struggle with new methods for funding transportation projects. Besides, PPPs offer elected officials the glitter of ribbon-cutting with the grit of fiscal austerity — all while limiting their responsibility for any toll hikes that might occur. They're high-quality political catnip."


Full Story: The Uncertain Future of Public Roads

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
$105
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 9 different cities.
$22.00