Friday, May 26, 2017

Beware privatized roads' siren songs

There has been talk about creating toll roads in Wisconsin,
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or Donald Trump making it easier for states like Wisconsin to convert highways into private-sector cash cows while chickening out on making tough fundamental tax and spending decision-making.

You may hear tall tales from proponents about these can't fail schemes - - but remember that Indiana turned its toll road over to the private sector, only to see the deal go bankrupt, and rates skyrocketed when the City of Chicago privatized its parking meter system"

Some details I posted in 2014: 


Privatization alert II. Or shall we call it - -  Ex-Gov. Mitch Daniels, (R), fail:
In filing for bankruptcy, the company that operates the Indiana Toll Road has reignited an old debate about the controversial privatization of the Toll Road in 2006.
Those who opposed leasing the highway in 2006 are now outspoken, citing concerns about the future of the road and quality of its upkeep.
As we noted here, earlier, warning against these schemes:
FRIDAY, MARCH 22, 2013

Privatization Alert: Why Chicago On-Street Parking Is $6.50/Hr.

File this away as Walkerites at the Capitol look to transfer public assets to private interests for ideological satisfaction, short-term budget gains and long-term added costs to taxpayers, consumers, shoppers and commuters.

One case in point: outrageously expensive parking - - now $6.50/hr.- -  at Chicago ramps and on-street now leased seemingly forever to private operators:

[Consultant Richard Layman] wrote almost one year ago ("A lesson to cities that they need to be very careful when leasing assets to public private "partnerships") about the continuing debacle of Chicago's long term lease of its parking garages and parking meters to a for profit consortium.
Hat tip, 

Same sort of big toll increases continue since its leasing at the Chicago Skyway:

On January 1st, drivers who use the Chicago Skyway toll road will be paying more to use the 7.8 mile length of tollway...from the current $3.50 to $4.00.

According to a report from Fox News citing the Federal Highway Administration, the Skyway was already the costliest interstate toll road in the U.S....

The City of Chicago leased the Skyway, which links the Dan Ryan to the Indiana Toll Road, to a private investment group in 2005 for 99 years and $1.83 billion dollars.

The fatter toll policy after long-term privatization continues right into the
the Indiana tollway, too:

Study calls Indiana Toll Road lease a bad deal

The Indiana Toll Road lease may have paid off in the short term, but a new study concludes it'll be a bad deal for taxpayers in the long run.

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