Photo from www.rewin.nl
What he had to say was, basically, that our transportation can’t go on being strictly public. What we need to do is get more private investors to help build our transportation infrastructure, as well as sucker them, I mean, show them the wisdom of operating it as well.
He gave examples, according to the Mercury News:
In 2005 Chicago leased some of its toll roads to a private company for $1.83 billion. The company maintains the road and keeps the toll fees.
After that move was announced, Mineta said, leaders in the finance industry started to take notice.
“We do it for roads and airports,” but, he said, it may be time for public transportation planners to seek private funding for a wider array of projects.
As it is, very few public transportation systems pay for themselves. BART does a pretty good job of paying its operating costs, but�the capital expenditures needed to expand the system are something that�can’t adequately be expressed after the passing of Carl Sagan.
But back to the idea of privatization: Frequent�CC commenter�Bruce De Benedictis, in questioning my paraphrasing of California High Speed Rail’s claims of profitability and economy, asks�why no private transportation provider has stepped up to make this $30 billion project happen.
I’m just guessing here, but I can think of a few reasons. One, those assumptions are dubious. The idea that migrant workers will find it economical comes to mind. A Bay Area-to-Los Angeles fare of under $30 may have also gotten stuck in a few gullets. Two, if there is someone out there who believes these utopian-sounding predictions, they might be hanging back until the government puts up most of the capital costs, and then needs a private contractor to run the line. If not, there’s always Amtrak.