Originally Posted by BucEyedPea
Then you have a big gap in knowledge on economic history. Private roads did benefit the public at large. Read How Capitalism Saved America. It will fill in those gaps.
I have enough of a knowledge about economic history to know that we don't operate in the same world as we do then. And I have worked in private businesses long enough to know the way the private sector works today.
We are not talking about building new roads at an accelerated pace. We are largely talking about maintaining roads and, in some cases, building projects to change access.
I understand there is corruption and favoritism to corporate welfare in our public system today. I hate waste from construction projects that are either used to create jobs or run inefficiently because there's no incentive to do a good job. But the idea of privatizing roads is something I've heard many times and it just wrongfully assumes that private businesses collectively can make decisions that benefit the collective. That's bullshit. Private businesses make decisions to benefit themselves and will squash the competition. But there are controls in place, and rightfully so, to how far a private business can go to do that.
It assumes that all private businesses are good and ethical, that a system of consumption-based roads can be pulled off without centralization (e.g. a common EZ pass system vs. 20 different EZ pass systems). It assumes that good roads can be built without collusion or, if we allow collusion, that this behavior is a good thing (in most instances, it's not). It assumes you won't have private investors with big pockets funding their own pet projects, or companies that fund projects aimed at destroying access to competitors. It assumes it's a good thing that poor people should have terrible roads or should be limited from having access to nicer areas. It assumes that all private businesses are smart and that there won't be dumb leaders who fund ridiculous transportation and road projects that do more harm than good.
Libertarianism leans in the right direction here in that there should be more privatization in road planning. But there is a ton of benefit in centralization.