Bridge Neglect on Steroids
In The Confiscation of American Prosperity (coming out in early October), I wrote: “For programs that directly serve the general population, such as education or public transportation, inadequate resources prevent them from operating satisfactorily. The resulting dissatisfaction with these programs strengthens the case for privatization.“
Today’s Democracy Now has an interesting segment with James Ridgeway and Daniel Schulman, authors of the Mother Jones article “The Highwaymen: Why You Could Soon Be Paying Wall Street Investors, Australian Bankers and Spanish Builders for the Privilege of Driving on American Roads.” They explain that the government has been draining the Highway Trust Fund, which is about to go broke.
The authors explain: “When President Bush took office the fund had a $23 billion surplus, but it is expected to be running a deficit by next year in part because Bush killed an increase in gas taxes two years ago.” The authors suggest that by letting the nation’s infrastructure run down, people will agree to privatization.
Business Week already published an excellent feature describing how far the privatization of infrastructure has proceeded already.
Emily Thornton. 2007. “Roads To Riches: Why Investors Are Clamoring to Take Over America’s Highways, Bridges, And Airports — And Why the Public Should Be Nervous.” Business Week (7 May): pp. 50-57.