Personally, I think this is a great idea as long as it isn’t overdone. Clearly a toll booth at every road junction would be a hindrance to travelers and freight movers.
That aside, I see no reason why major highway projects shouldn’t be funded by private industry in exchange for the right to collect tolls for the use of the road or bridge for a set amount of time. Ownership of the roads should remain with the government with the rights for collecting tolls part of a contractual “lease,” or something along those lines. France recently did something similar with a major bridge project (the tallest bridge in the world, no less) that seems to have worked out just fine.
One thing that had better happen, should this pass, are some serious tax cuts for the citizens who will now be paying for their roads through tolls instead of taxes. After all, taxing citizens for road upkeep and then having them pay tolls for that same upkeep would be sort of ridiculous.
Which is really why this probably shouldn’t pass. Politicians aren’t likely to give us a tax cut in its aftermath and, with the tolls, citizens would just end up paying more for their roads.
Rob Port owns and operates Say Anything.