Private Roads, Public Costs

The Facts About Toll Road Privatization
U.S. PIRG Education Fund
Last updated: 12/30/2011

Across the country, cash-strapped states are struggling to plug gaping holes in their budgets. At the same time, America’s roads and bridges are increasingly congested and in desperate need of repair. Enter global private infrastructure companies and their backers in the world of investment banking. Touting the benefits of “public-private partnerships,” these companies are seeking to build new private highways or offering upfront cash for existing roads … all in exchange for the right to charge and collect tolls on motorists for decades to come. 

Road privatization offers a hard-to-resist “quick fix” for state budget and transportation challenges. But there are hidden costs to privatization … and big potential downsides for the public.

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