Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Must Read

posted by The Vidiot @ 3:54 PM Permalink

This article in Mother Jones about how our highways are being privatized will make your blood boil.
Excerpt: "The public was ignored on this; public opinion was ignored on this," says Dave Menzer, an organizer at Citizens Action Coalition, an Indianapolis-based advocacy group that also joined the anti-privatization suit. "I think that increasingly the public feels like what's driving politics, what's driving these decisions, is multinational corporations and deal-makers like Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Morgan Stanley. They're the ones making tens of millions of dollars ultimately at the public's expense."
Towards the end of the article, there's this:
Excerpt: Enright concludes, "The private operator's fidelity is to his stockholders—not to the public transportation system, not to the people who use the road. His duty is to get the most possible revenues out of the asset." Enright's firm did a study showing that if a pricing scheme similar to the one agreed to in Chicago had been applied to New York's Holland Tunnel for the past 70 years, the toll would stand at $185 rather than the current $6.
Read the whole thing. It's a doozy. (Here, print it out.)

Now, I ask you, WHAT IF, instead of selling these roads to say, private contractors, and instead, sell the roads to the people via bonds, (like is supposed to happen), but just say they tried that. So the roads would be wholly owned by citizens and managed by a non-profit holding company that would manage and maintain the roads while at the same time, maximizing the value for the citizen investors? I know I'm being naive, and I know that's sort of how traditional bond market stuff works, but jeeze! Selling our infrastructure to private companies just has trouble and angst written all over it.

The only thing I can hope for is by the time this government gets overthrown by a VERY angry populace, that the new government re-nationalizes our roads and cancels all of those contracts.


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