The U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Y.
Mineta said solutions to traffic jams and freight delays could include more
toll roads and private leases for U.S. infrastructure.
Mineta stated on the DOT Web site that he hopes states will
enact legislation to create public-private partnerships, as outlined in his new
initiative, the “National Strategy to Reduce Congestion
on America’s Transportation Network.”
Mineta admitted the solutions
could be considered controversial. Click here
to read it.
Public-private partnerships in
states like Illinois and Indiana have resulted in for-profit, foreign investors
taking over toll roads through long-term leases – 99 years for the Chicago
Skyway and 75 years for the Indiana toll Road.
On the DOT Web site, officials use
the $1.8 billion Chicago Skyway lease and the proposed $3.85 billion
Indiana Toll Road lease – both to the Spanish-Australian consortium known as
Cintra-Macquarie – as examples of “growing interest of private sector capital
investors in the U.S. transportation system.”
Mineta highlighted a six-point plan to relieve congestion in
urban and port areas, and to encourage private investment in the transportation
Highlights of that plan include:
- tolls, also known as “congestion pricing;”
- creating more express busing;
- using agreements with large employers to increase telecommuting;
- removal of federal barriers on states that seek
private-sector investment in transportation; using pilot programs for
things like tolling; and
- using the SAFETEA-LU, the highway funding legislation
signed by President Bush in August 2005, to encourage public-private
– By David Tanner