Posted at the Lighthouse - Volume 13, Issue 39
Private entrepreneurs created more than 10,000 miles of toll roads in the eastern United States in the 19th century. In the 1990s, private investors built the first electronically tolled express lane in the United States—Southern California’s SR 91—without any funds from Uncle Sam. Private toll-lane networks would be feasible in Atlanta, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, and Washington, DC. Unfortunately, Congress is too divided about highway policy to let the private sector move forward, according to Independent Institute Research Fellow Gabriel Roth, editor of Street Smart, the Institute’s award-winning book on innovation in road transportation.
The first step toward privately funded “smart roads” may be to remove federal hands from gasoline and diesel fuel taxes collected at the pump. Those taxes bankrolled the construction of the interstate highway system, but the Highway Trust Fund was supposed to have been abolished by statute decades ago. Republican and Democratic lawmakers seem unwilling to let state governments spend fuel taxes on highway maintenance as they see fit. However, according to Roth, the federal status quo won’t deliver an efficient, self-sustaining, innovative system of surface transportation.
“The operable rule should be simple: The federal government should not be involved in financing any infrastructure project that can be provided commercially,” writes Roth in the Daily Caller. “Transfer of highway funding responsibilities to the states would help job creation by reducing both costs and bureaucratic delays. It would also encourage the involvement of the private sector and spur innovation, as companies seek better ways to move people and goods safely and profitably.”
Read the article by selecting the link above