Public vs Private Roads

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I haven’t read Walter Block’s book about road privatization yet, but I’ve heard him lecture on the subject. One of his points is that the way that the government runs roads leads to high congestion and low safety. Is there really any risk that private roads would be worse in these areas? Logical analysis actually indicates that private roads would be much better.

Which brings me to an anecdote that I am admittedly a little annoyed about: Maryland is going to start charging a monthly fee to use the EZ-Pass transponders to pay tolls. As it is, there are two reasons to use the transponder. First, you may commute regularly on one of the toll roads, in which case you can enroll in a plan to save money on the toll. Second, even if you don’t commute regularly, you may save some time by avoiding the lanes where tolls are paid in cash. With the new monthly fee, the commuter may still save enough money to make using the transponder worthwhile. For the rest of us who are on toll roads maybe a couple of dozen times a year, the time savings do not justify the monetary cost to keep using EZ-Pass. What will this lead to? More congestion, of course!

5:58 pm on June 11, 2009