States Need Private Investment in Roads

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from NCPA,

This Congress has been criticized for not passing many laws, and praised for that in some quarters. It’s true that in quantitative terms, its productivity has been low. A major case in point is transportation. Neither the Democratic-majority Senate nor the Republican-controlled House has passed a reauthorization of what was once known as the highway bill, which used to be done every five or six years, says Michael Barone, a senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner.

This failure can be ascribed in part to partisan warfare and to intraparty differences. But it’s also due to the obsolescence of the federal funding scheme used since the Interstate Highway System was first authorized in 1956.

Now this politically congenial system is broken. One reason is that gas tax receipts are flat-lining or declining. Higher gasoline mileage requirements (something Congress has also blessed) are responsible.

The solution needs to be found outside the box. The point here is that states and localities know their needs better than the federal government can. Private capital is available for investment in toll roads and bridges, and can better assess profitability than logrolling members of Congress.

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