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How to Solve the Nation’s Traffic Problem: Sell the Streets

Posted in Politics, Traffic, Travel, Videos by Vito Rispo | August 30th, 2008 | 1 Response |

Fed up with traffic congestion, seemingly endless construction, and poor quality roads? Why not take David Friedman’s advice and sell the streets as he says in his book The Machinery of Freedom?

Privatization of the streets isn’t such a crazy idea. A company that owns a road wants to make a profit and please his customers. That company has more incentive to eliminate gridlock than any urban planner.

The private road owner will, unlike the city, be interested in keeping drivers happy by performing regular, and efficient, maintenance on the streets. Plus, there is no danger that money collected from a private toll will be used for some other city project.

Don’t take my word for it, check out Drew Carey’s ReasonTV short on the subject:

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  1. Selling the roadways is already being tried, in different areas of the country, via toll roads. The companies who maintain those roads, in certain parts of Texas for example, get to keep most of the funds. It’s a cash cow for them. Yet what it does, is divert traffic to roads where there are no tolls.

    Roads and a military – which locally, means the police – are two functions of government even most Libertarians would say are ones that are all right, left to government. Thing is, you still do want to watch where the money – aka taxes – is going and what it is used for. We don’t want to become a police state; and using Federal highway funds to force farmers in Ohio to pay for a street car in Seattle, is not paying for the roads. Nonetheless, Senator Patty Murray – voted one of the 10 dumbest people in Congress by one think tank, but now an incredibly powerful dumb person – expropriated $1.1 million for such a street car, that did little to “take any cars off the road,” which seems to be the mantra of certain politicians.

    The best way to “take cars” off the road is to encourage two-wheeled modes of transportation, which the price of petroleum rising did, to a great degree. Then too, you might want to make the roads safer for motorcyclists, scooter riders and even bicyclists, by banning those damn cell phones from automobiles. The Brits did it. Why can’t we>