Steve G.

Reason Foundation Wrong on Texas Toll Roads

In Libertarian on September 29, 2008 at 12:27 am

The Austin American Statesman recently posted an article announcing an award from the so-called “Libertarian” Reason Foundation for Texas Governor Rick Perry, calling him an “innovator in action” for his toll road programs.

The public-private toll roads in Texas grant monopoly pricing rights to the private operators.  Non-compete clauses prohibit construction of competing roads by other private or governmental agencies.  These are not roads constructed in a free market environment, but the use of the terms “toll” and “private” have duped a lot of well-intentioned people into thinking these toll roads are a good deal.  In fact, toll roads are one of the most expensive ways to add capacity to our transportation system.

Imagine if the City of Austin comes up with a so-called plan to privatize the water system.  They give all of the water plants, piping distribution, water meters, etc., to a private company (I’ll call it Austin Water Lords), outlaw competition, and sell the plan to the public by calling it “privatization.”  Austin Water Lords can then charge monopoly pricing rates to consumers.  I’m sure my water bill would instantly quadruple.  Jacking up prices would reduce demand.  Similarly, jacking up prices on blog postings would cut back on bandwidth usage.

Texas Governor, Rick Perry, recently supported a $3 billion Texas cancer bond and mandatory immunization of teenage girls for the HPV virus.  He was re-elected Governor in 2006 with just 39% of the vote.  He’s no friend of freedom and Texans smell his corruption.

I haven’t provided many references to facts here.  However, there’s tons about this all over the internet and in the mainstream press.  We got a big problem in America with people misusing the term “privatize” to grow government.

I’m convinced some very bad people have infiltrated the Reason Foundation and are heavily abusing the term “libertarian” and “privatize” to grow the size and scope of government and corruption.

Carbon taxes?  How about oxygen taxes?

The Reason Foundation is way messed (it’s Sunday) up!

  1. Cosmo libertarians aren’t clear on the difference between crony capitalism and true libertarian free markets? Quell surprise! Neither the U.S. nor Russia would be in the mess they’re in today if their “libertarian” advisors had been clear on the difference. With freedom comes responsibility. With de-regulations, de-protections.

  2. Phil, while I agree with your sentiment, the term “deregulation” has been so abused that it now often means “different regulations that benefit my project.”

  3. I wrote a post last year that mentioned some of the egregious parts of the TTC; namely the eminent domain, the fact that tax revenue already paid for existing highway and that there was talk about lowering the speed limits on the “free” roads to make the tollway more attractive.

    I have no problem with a toll road but the owners/managers of such a road should fund construction themselves and that means procuring the land necessary at a price the existing owner feels happy about.

  4. And in ten years, the big toll-road companies will say they’re going bankrupt and they need a $100 billion bailout.

    Then Rick Perry and his friends will cry “We have to bail them out or there won’t be any more roads and we’ll all die!”

  5. In ten years, $100 billion might not buy you a cheeseburger.

  6. When public/private partnerships arise, you have fascism.

  7. Are you talking about just a cheeseburger, or is that for a combo?

  8. You might be able to come in under budget if you skip the fries and drink water. However, that assumes that there will still be drinkable water.

  9. Wes, I’ve thought the same thing about the Reason Foundation for a long time. The same goes with the Cato Institute.

    Great article, by the way!

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