Today, I was listening to CATO’s Daily Podcast about transportation with Samuel Staley of the Reason Foundation. I started listening to him talk about the best ways to plan highway systems and said to myself, “Oh boy, here we go again another so-called “free-market” person talking about how the government can ‘pave our way out of congestion’.” “We’ve got the space, and we’ve got the land, and we’ve got the wealth” to pave away congestion. That’s a very collective “we” for a supposed free-market person to use.
But, after about 5 minutes of that, he goes into how we now have the technology to privatize highway use and are 15 years away from the technology to privatize even local roads. Now we’re talking.
We need to actually begin to tie those traditional market mechanism to the products that are being developed and implemented at the local level, and that’s something we’ve never been able to achieve before. It’s an exciting time for transportation policy.
If, transaction costs are no longer the obstacle to privatization, society needs to start shattering these bureaucracies and selling the roads to the private sector.
I think the biggest hurdles to privatization are peoples’ perception/biases and politics. People never paid for roads before, so it’ll take effort to convince them it is not as free as the air we breath…