By Carol A. Metzner, President, The Metzner Group, LLC, www.themetznergroup.com and Managing Partner, www.CivilEngineeringCentral.com
Back in 2006, the Indiana Toll Road was leased to two international companies who will collect the tolls, operate the pit stops, keep up the highway and hope to make a profit. This is just one of several P3s, or Public Private Partnerships, that are racing to “lease” a part of the US infrastructure.
This seemed to be a good concept, as state and federal governments do not seem able to raise the monies needed to maintain roads, bridges, rail systems, port systems, etc. If a private entity can pay individual states HUGE amounts of money and do a good job running the systems, then why not sign us up? After reading many articles on this subject, I am rethinking my position. I am not saying it is a bad idea; just that I am confused as to who reaps the benefits in the long term? Sure the states get an up front influx of millions – billions of dollars to put toward other programs, but they give up control to private sector entities whose “fidelity is to their stockholders…not to the people who use the road.”
An interesting mix of Democrats, Republicans and Independents are “sounding the alarm.” In a 2007 article by Daniel Schulman with James Ridgeway, called “The Highwaymen,” they explore the benefits and detriments to these deals.
What are your thoughts?