The ULTIMATE in crony capitalism is when government uses its power to condemn huge amounts of land for a highway and then turns it over to a private company to operate and toll at whatever level they please. CATO is ALL FOR that (Robert Poole, in particular), so they have NO CREDIBILITY in this.
Here’s an example: Our laughing stock here in Texas, Governor Perry, did that for a toll road next to Austin. So this Spanish company, Cintra (using US front companies and spokesmen) gets to build and operate (for 75 years) a 50 mile section of highway that roughly parallels I-35 (a freeway, in decent shape, by the way) between Austin and San Antonio. The only problem is that they plan to charge a varying rate that may reach 75 cents per mile...so how do you get drivers there:
1) You have your governor-friend allow a speed limit of 85 MPH on the new tollway, which was in the news a couple of weeks ago.
2) You LOWER the speed limit on I-35 (again, a good quality road in that stretch) from 65 MPH to 55MPH. That wasn’t in the news...but it’s been announced here.
3) You re-designate highway numbers in some way, in San Antonio, to trick people driving to Austin to take I-10 to Seguin (where the toll road starts at its south end), and then they are trapped there and have to use it (or have to double-back 20 miles each way to avoid it). I don’t actually know how that works, but I read about it over the weekend. I’ll be keeping my Texas maps around for comparison.
So what’s in it for Governor Perry. First he gets to keep his posh retirement as a Cintra “adviser” (actually, I don’t know if he has a deal, but that is how Cintra operates). Second, he got $33M for the state from Cintra, for pulling off the above stunts.
This is what Texas has become, with this governor.
Wow, your post was like reading a script from “Dallas”.