OOIDA: Highway privatization comes with a high price that may get higher
Oct 1, 2007 12:00 PM
Privatization of public assets is a lot like taking Aunt Sophie's china set to a pawnshop. You get a little quick cash for the short term, not getting nearly what the items are worth, and then you still need something to eat on next Thanksgiving when the price goes up for dishes.
This sentiment was shared by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) on the issue of highway privatization. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer testified during a hearing before the United States House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Spencer said that when highways are privately owned, those private companies can raise toll rates year after year. It is OOIDA's position that the motoring public has already paid taxes and user fees to build those roads. Subsequent toll raises may force highway users onto alternate routes on local roads, resulting in congestion and safety hazards, along with additional costs to purchase those roads.
Spencer cited an example from Indiana, whose taxpayers will likely end up paying a high price for a decision made by their governor.
“Gov Mitch Daniels signed over control of the Indiana Toll Road and its toll rates for the next 75 years, leaving governors who are yet to be born without any say whatsoever over that road,” Spencer said.
No-compete clauses in that lease agreement require the public to purchase the rights to significantly improve or add capacity to those adjacent roadways from the leasing entity.
“Ultimately, the citizens of northern Indiana will be left to pick up the tab and deal with the consequences,” Spencer added. He qualified his remarks by saying OOIDA does not oppose all instances of privatization.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.
Acceptable Use Policy blog comments powered by Disqus