Friday, February 09, 2007

"The rush to promote public-private partnerships is based in ideology, not a critical evaluation.. "

Highway Users Form Coalition to Oppose Toll-Road Privatization


By Transport Topics
American Trucking Associations, Inc.
Copyright 2007

Several groups representing truckers and motorists said Friday they have banded together to combat a growing trend toward the privatization or leasing of existing toll facilities to private investors.

The groups include American Trucking Associations, the American Automobile Association, the American Highway Users Alliance, the National Association of Truck Stop Operators, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association and the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.

Americans for a Strong National Highway Network was formed “to advance the rights of American motorists to travel on safe, reliable public roads; maintain a robust national highway network for the efficient transport of goods and the military; and to hold government accountable for ensuring financing is transparent, motivated by public good, and dedicated to transportation purposes,” the alliance said in a statement.

Following last year’s deal to privatize the Indiana Toll Road for $3.8 billion, several Northeast states, including Pennsylvania, have also been considering privatizing their toll roads. (Click here for previous coverage.)

“The sale or lease of existing toll facilities generates revenue at great expense to taxpayers and the trucking industry and carries potential negative impacts on highway safety, security and the motoring public,” said ATA President Bill Graves.

“We must consider the long-term impact privatization will have on our nation’s transportation system and explore all available financing options to ensure that the government is motivated by public good and transportation purposes,” he said.

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, said, “For the Bush administration, the rush to promote public-private partnerships is based in ideology, not a critical evaluation of how public-private partnerships might help meet the goal of an improved, integrated national transportation system and further the public interest.”

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