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Asphalt and Politicians

December 27, 2018

Road work and building is non-controversial and politicians have perfected to an art form the granting of contracts to relatives, political friends and those willing to pay for the privilege of building or repairing roads. Once they are built more income can be derived by privatizing roadways by selling them to companies who agree to maintain them in return for imposing tolls. There too good money can be made. Has anyone accounted for income from privatization of Chicago’s Dan Ryan Expressway?

Major airports like LaGuardia in New York and Philadelphia airport are out-of-date, and managed poorly. Why not replace them? And what about our many bridges that seem to collapse with some frequency?

In Hampton Roads two tunnels that permit travel from Hampton to Norfolk are not adequate to the needs of the communities in this region of southern Virginia and in Pittsburgh a major highway through a tunnel that feeds traffic into downtown Pittsburgh will be shut down for four weeks. The number of tunnels that were built in the 1950s has not been increased. Yet traffic through those tunnels are a major bottleneck during rush hours.

Major infrastructure improvements are one of the few areas of common interest by our two major parties, so it is likely that the Trump Administration will cut a deal that promises to deepen the current deficit and enable politicians to get a  cut of any sums expended in their jurisdictions.

We need infrastructure improvements, but we cannot afford to finance them from tax revenues. Only the imposition of tolls on formerly “free” roads, tunnels and bridges can cover the cost of improvements.

Airports present special problems because they are controlled by “authorities” composed of well-connected local citizens who know nothing about airports. Giving the authorities in New York funds needed to rebuild LaGuardia will only enrich politicians.

A solution is airport nationalization. Expropriate airports in New York, Philadelphia, and other cities where politicians are too corrupt to be trusted with infrastructure improvement funding. Cutting that “deal” should be easy for Donald Trump.

 

 

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