Thursday, January 17, 2008

Bucking the Privatization Trend in Toll Roads

New Jersey governor shuns privatization of toll roads, keeping public money in the public sector in order to pay state debts and invest in transit projects. Progressive States calls it an honest proposal that--unlike privatized toll roads in other states--does not send billions of taxpayer dollars into self-interested private tolling companies:
There is no such thing as a free lunch, despite privatization being sold that way. Companies pay lots of money for privatized highways because they then get to raise tolls themselves and keep the profit, rather than reinvesting on behalf of the public. Gov. [John] Corzine is arguing that New Jersey can raise $30 billion by keeping the increased toll money that other states like Indiana are giving away to private companies. It's not a free lunch, but at least it's not a deceptive rip-off like the highway privatization scams being promoted around the country.
There are more effective means than toll roads to fund transit projects, but my main opposition to tolling is based on the trend to sell out the taxpayers to private companies. Public tolls are better than private tolls because the money is gets invested in public projects instead of private bank accounts.

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