Reason Asks: “For Whom the Road Tolls”
The question is, is the money there?
Bob Poole says yes.
In his commentary for the February Edition of American City & County, Poole notes that in 2005 “… privately proposed toll projects worth $20 billion were under review.”
Here in Virginia, he points out that:
Last year, several proposals were made to add toll lanes to congested freeways and to develop new toll roads using the concession model. In the two winning bids in Virginia - High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes on the Washington Beltway and on 1-95 - the vendor offered 100 percent toll-supported financing, rather than relying on the state to partially fund the project. There, the investors were willing to put in a significant amount of their own equity, in addition to the borrowed amount, because at 50 years each, those were long-term concession projects.
The innovative ideas (and the funding) are available. Virginia’s leaders must be willing to think outside the box and not limit themselves to the mentality of “But we’ve always done it this way.”
That way didn’t work. We need to try to find something that does.