This Week in Traffic: 6 March 2007

Privatizing Existing Roadways

Other than getting the maintenance headache off of the gov’t’s shoulders, I haven’t bought into the economic feasibility of selling roads to private consortiums. Robert Puentes agrees with me.

Live Reporter Whoops

Apparently someone wrote a bit of nasty copy for a traffic reporter to read, Live. I haven’t watched this yet, so you’ll have to let me know if it’s worth it.

PP&M

Here is a list of songs by Peter Paul & Mary containing transportation themes. Because, what else do you have to do today?

Bus Envy?

A jacket designed for sleeping on Public Transportation.

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One Response to This Week in Traffic: 6 March 2007

  1. James Cronen says:

    I freely admit that I don’t know much of what I speak here, but that doesn’t prevent me from chiming in anyway.

    I understand the desire for smaller government, but the idea that everything will be better/cheaper/faster when privatized isn’t really understandable. Governments are, in fact, large behemoths with all the agility of a 550-pound gymnast. But the existence of governments as overseeing entities does have a value.

    Government gives us basic rights that companies may not. Outdoor town squares, which once were free venues for people to interact and voice their opinions. Shopping malls do not have to grant free speech rights, as has been demonstrated.

    Caught speeding on a public highway? You have the right to due process. Imagine if your credit card was charged automatically $200 for each speeding violation. Private companies wouldn’t necessarily have to grant you an appeal or hearing.

    Limits on tolls as part of a highway acquisition deal will likely be short-lived, and after those expire companies could charge as much as they like for the “prime” routes. Imagine if your commute cost $20/day? Roads are a monopoly. While yes, I could opt to choose a different route to work, those without a Hamilton to spend getting to work would be forced to take convoluted routes involving roads not designed for high-volume travel. The end result is more congestion and lower traffic flow rather than improved transit.

    The famed London “congestion charge” for vehicles entering the city is only viable because there is an ample underground railway system capable of supporting otherwise transit. The cost, £1.50 – £2 per ride on the Tube is minimal and reasonable for most people. The federal highway system can’t supply any reasonable alternatives to highway travel.

    Privatization ultimately ends in higher costs and fewer benefits for those costs. Share price is ultimately worth more to the company than the benefit of the public, and that’s not in our best interest as a society.

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