New Study Warns Against Privatizing Roads

The U.S. PIRG Education Fund has released a study of privatized toll roads across the United States, and concludes that they pose 'a long-term threat to the public interest.'
April 6, 2009, 2pm PDT | Tim Halbur
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A growing number of states are considering arrangements in which a private operator provides an up-front payoff or builds a new road in return for decades of escalating toll receipts. The report assesses these deals and identifies a number of problems, including:

· Private toll roads typically require greater toll hikes to generate the same upfront payment that could be generated without privation.

· Private deals lead to serious loss of public control that hinders future transportation planning and typically force public payments to compensate private companies if policies reduce toll traffic.

· Deals are often conducted with inadequate public disclosure or input.

· States generally lack the capacity to oversee or enforce private road agreements

· Problems are compounded by the fact that contracts typically extend 50-plus years in order to obtain large federal tax subsidies.

The study examines 15 completed private road projects and 79 others that are proposed or underway.

Thanks to Phineas Baxandall

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Published on Thursday, April 2, 2009 in U.S. PIRG Education Fund
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