Monday, June 05, 2006

For Whom the Road Tolls

Lots of discussion lately about the future of toll roads along the Wasatch Front. It's gotten to the point where it is being somewhat touted as the "savior" of getting the transportation system built -- relying on the typical taxation model just won't cut it.

Well, any time something is put forward as being the "better" way to do things, watch out. A little work and common sense will tell you that there are indeed some benefits -- but there are down sides, too.

Take the series in the Denver Post last week on the collaboration of state transportation agencies with private investors to build and run new roads. Apparently, everything isn't just coming up roses for toll roads. A number of projects have come in over cost and underused, resulting in some serious financial issues. In the worst case, a couple of major investors (New York Life and John Hancock Life Insurance companies) foreclosed on a failed road in Texas, leaving the state and adjacent property owners holding an empty bag.

There are success stories, too -- the point is, we must go in to such future endeavors with our eyes wide open to what can happen (because it has happened in some places). Transportation for our regional future is a critical component. Buyer beware!


At 3:14 PM, Blogger google_PEAK_OIL said...

These toll road financial difficulties all occured in relatively normal economic times. Imagine the trouble a toll road would have in an ever deepening economic/energy crisis when everyone started doing stuff like this.

Would you want your 401(k) retirement fund invested in the Mountain View Corridor toll road?


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