Globalizing tolls

The next time you drop a few quarters at a toll booth, your change may be going to the most unlikely of places: the coffers of a foreign firm. Introduce a cash-strapped state government to an international corporation flush with capital and the result just might mean the privatization of Indiana’s toll road system.  Indiana has ...

608024_tollbooth5.jpg
608024_tollbooth5.jpg

The next time you drop a few quarters at a toll booth, your change may be going to the most unlikely of places: the coffers of a foreign firm. Introduce a cash-strapped state government to an international corporation flush with capital and the result just might mean the privatization of Indiana's toll road system

Indiana has leased a 157-mile toll road for 75 years to a Spanish-Australian consortium for $3.8 billion. Instead of getting the cash the old-fashioned way through tolls, Indiana now gets a lump sum up front. The private company takes the tolls and the responsibility to maintain the road. Could these leases be the first in a growing trend? If the project is successful, we may well see more states leasing infrastructure to foreign firms for quick cash.

Since the [Indiana] General Assembly approved the plan in March, national transportation experts have recognized the state as being at the vanguard of a movement toward road privatization. A growing pack of states also are considering privatizing their roads. In one of the bigger deals, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley signed off on a 99-year lease of the Chicago Skyway for $1.8 billion.

The next time you drop a few quarters at a toll booth, your change may be going to the most unlikely of places: the coffers of a foreign firm. Introduce a cash-strapped state government to an international corporation flush with capital and the result just might mean the privatization of Indiana’s toll road system

Indiana has leased a 157-mile toll road for 75 years to a Spanish-Australian consortium for $3.8 billion. Instead of getting the cash the old-fashioned way through tolls, Indiana now gets a lump sum up front. The private company takes the tolls and the responsibility to maintain the road. Could these leases be the first in a growing trend? If the project is successful, we may well see more states leasing infrastructure to foreign firms for quick cash.

Since the [Indiana] General Assembly approved the plan in March, national transportation experts have recognized the state as being at the vanguard of a movement toward road privatization. A growing pack of states also are considering privatizing their roads. In one of the bigger deals, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley signed off on a 99-year lease of the Chicago Skyway for $1.8 billion.

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