When you think about it, traffic congestion can be treated as any other type of economic shortage. Traffic jams result in economic inefficiency, hence why privatized roads would help stimulate the economy by optimizing our infrastructure. If there is a shortage of roads, why don't we construct more of them? And if said roads are constructed by private businesses, then we will be able to ensure that roads are built in the areas that need said infrastructure the most.
The government pays for the roads through your taxes, but the roads are being worked on by construction companies for months on end without progress. The government doesn't care too much about the progress on these public funded roads, while when privately owned, the fate of the corporation who owns the road is determined by the roads quality, thus making them care more about said road. Plus the toll fees are only a few dollars anyways, so it's not like you're paying a small fortune.
This eliminates the competing roads problem while increasing road quality. If they don't perform, every 5 years, partial owners (those subscribing to road service) can accept decide to have a different company.
Also, privatizing means that if said organization doesn't complete the work they contractually agreed to do with each of us road users, there is legal recourse. If the the governement decides to ignore you entire towns roads, who are you to affect the U.S. Dept. Of transportation for your street...?
The privet sector actually cares about making money, thus they would innovate in trying to find the cheapest, safest materials to build roads out of. Concrete is a horrible idea for roads now that we have such an advanced understanding of plastics which we have an abundance of recyclable plastic. I'm sure there's a sturdy enough type of plastic for roads & I'm almost 100% sure it would be cheaper. Also it doesn't necessarily have to be a company/ multiple companies running the roads, they could bee made public domain where people/companies willingly donate to a fund to maintain & improve the roads & there is no government taxation & idiocy involved. No matter what happens privatized roads would be 100% better than current roads being there would no longer be a government monopoly, no more corrupt politicians taking the road funding for themselves & their buddies.
The general assumption is that roads are free. Roads are not free. When we pay for a hotel and ask if there is free internet, what we are really asking is, is the internet included in the bill? We pay for roads right now through our taxes. As for the fear of monopoly on tolls, the free market will handle that. If one business decides to charge high tolls, then another business will just build another bridge. We would then have competition and the incentives to keep the bridge clean, stable, safe, efficient etc. would come about.
Too many times I have seen roadwork going on for months without any real progress being made, all the while being paid for by taxpayer money. If a group of individuals got together and worked to pave a road they would have a vested interest to get it completed. This actually has happened in some places.
Roads, at least some of them, are already private. Some neighborhoods only allow cars to enter with an access card or pin number. I can see the continued benefit for a small percent of roads with access to specific areas should be limited to help with things ranging from security to noise.
Under the best of conditions, even a single road is a monopoly. A small system inside a housing area (HUAC or Trailer park) under democratic control is essentially a smaller government with well-known dangers even then, if not under democratic control it is still a government, and there is a hint of the rub.
The Experiment is being run on I-4 in Florida. A giant traffic jam 8 lanes wide, one billion dollars in Federal money is given to a company to add a lane and "solve the problem". "The Consortium" is supposed to put in another billion, though tracking that would be as tricky as other federal spending, but with less oversight. The Consortium also agrees to provide all maintenance for the 40 years of its contract, and here it gets extra cute. The added "Lexus lane" gets a variable toll depending on the traffic of the other four lanes, from $.50 to $??.?? So if there is a wreck on the 4 lanes the toll can jump a lot. So bad traffic is good news and extra profits.
So, anything that makes life easier for most cuts into profits. A high-speed rail line that would have moved folk from one end to the other in half the time was killed outright as it would have severely cut profits by added real competition. Any road improvement project that allows folk to bypass the Consortium will be treated similarly.
In the end, Central Florida will be a less desirable place to live because they privatized a major federal highway, and I cannot think of a stronger reason to oppose such nonsense.
If you think about this for a moment, privatizing roads would place high barriers to entry because it would not be practical, and a waste on land, for several corporations to build highways and roads beside each other. Only one corporation, or a few, would have the opportunity to build large road systems for the public, and this would create a natural monopoly due to the industry's barriers of operation, and would defeat the point of privatizing in the first place.
Another problem would be how would a driver gain permission to drive on a road as they drive from one road or the other? Would a mega corporation own all roads over a state or country or would several? And how could everyone in a domain agree to terms and conditions if they were not more centralized through government? Privatizing roads is something I don't think would work, or cause more problems than it is worth.
If you think about this for a moment, there is only one set of roads and highways owned by the governments so everyone can drive from point A to point B with as little hassle as possible. You don't have to get permission when you get to a state or area to drive on a particular road system because roads are not owned by individuals; if they were you would, at least in theory, have to stop and ask permission to drive on each person's road system, which would not be practical.
Another major problem with privatizing roads is the industry would place a very high barrier to entry. I don't see how it would be feasible for several corporations to place several road systems beside each other for competition --which is the whole point of the free market. The industry would too quickly produce a monopoly, creating very high prices for drives wanting to drive on these roads. The privatization of roads would create more problems than it would solve.
There are too many cases where this idea just doesn't make sense. For instance, what sane organization would bother buying/building and maintaining a rural road servicing a handful of local residents or small town? There's no profit in it, unless you charge each driver an absurd amount of money to use the road. In which case virtually nobody would be able to afford to use it, so there's still no profit in it.
We all need roads, we all benefit from them (even if we don't drive on them ourselves we still consume goods that are transported over the roads), so the simplest, most equitable solution is that we all pay equally for them.
First off there are some questions that privatizing roads proponents would have to answer.
- How would competition work? In this kind of field as that's the regulating force that drives producers to making higher quality and cheaper products.
- How could a company that only owns a small area stay afloat or even a large area that just doesn't get a lot of tourism? That's the main source of income in this field of production meaning that businesses that own roads for say Vegas will make like 100,000 every 10 minutes because of the endless tourism.
- what Happens should this kill tourism? Obviously one of the biggest perks of a free-market is that if you don't like the good/service someone provides then you can quit that person and pay someone else for the good or service. However one can't really do that here because of the fact that if there a local they'd have to move and that's costly as I'm sure many of us know, as for tourists it may hindrance their incentive to come to these big areas for as long or even at all because of the fact that they'll be charged for roads.
- Also, How would these businesses collect their money for people using their roads? Now, I think I've seen enough of Libertarian opinion to understand one thing, they dislike the gov't because of the fact that is uses force under the guise of taxes to get it's money and in most cases that can't be changed(income can be changed to be non-forceful).
Now all that aside let's look at a hypothetical let's use Nevada there are if I counted right, 17 counties in Nevada so let's say there's 34 road owning companies. The big one that everyone's going to want is Las Vegas in Clark County, obviously there's good money there however some problems arise here.
What about other counties like the very tiny Carson City, and Storey counties they have very little there so businesses that own roads there are not likely to own take in a lot of money even if one company owned both of them. Then what's to stop that lucky business that gets a big share of Vegas from buying them up? Then once that happens it has more money, why can't it just buy up Lyon county? Then why not the rest of Clark County?
I've rambled on enough in just this one post so please I hope you take the time to read this, also, I'm not some Marxist big gov't statist who hates the free market. I truly do believe that in many cases the free market performs light-years better than gov't however this case is one of the areas the free market fails to deliver. I'd also like to say that I can't provide a link for you as I didn't get this from reading some source I came to this conclusion myself.
I think it is well established greed/profit drives the private sector. This works fine in many cases, but look at the recent Wall Street disaster (be glad the GW Bush proposal to privatize Soc Sec was shouted down), Enron manipulation of energy and how corps corrupted the once charitable system of hospitals. The larger the population the less we want privatization or control in the hands of a few. Roads, water resources or anything else we need to survive should absolutely never be privatized. Privatization will lead to cheap roads that fall apart, death on highways, higher costs and a few people with huge amounts of tax money in their pockets.
As long as people have to pay taxes they need to be invested public infrastructure. Roads need to be built and maintained by the government. If they are made private, tolls could be increased to levels that might prevent common people from being able to use them which would be a very bad thing.