CNN poll: 97 percent say 'no' to privatized highways

| 1/10/2007

Ninety-seven percent of respondents to a recent poll by CNN said they do not believe U.S. highways and roads should be owned by private companies, while only 3 percent said yes.

Truckers interested in the issue of privatization of U.S. highways and infrastructure may have tuned in Tuesday, Jan. 9, to the cable news network's program, "Lou Dobbs Tonight."

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer appeared on the program along with U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, to speak out against a recent announcement by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The DOT issued a press release Monday, Jan. 8, announcing the department would provide states with "model legislation" to help them privatize public roads and infrastructure.

A producer from Dobbs' show contacted Spencer for a statement on the program, and Spencer used the opportunity to denounce DOT's proposal.

Immediately following the piece, CNN published the preliminary results of the viewers' poll, which showed that 97 percent of nearly 8,400 respondents were not in favor of privatization.

"It's not a scientific poll, but it's certainly representative of the viewers of this particular program," said Rod Nofziger, director of government affairs for OOIDA. "And it's representative of the majority of the American public.

"This is the second time Todd has been featured in pieces by reporters for the Lou Dobbs program, and we know Lou is going to follow up on the issue in the future."

Indiana's elected officials used the legislative process to lease the Indiana Toll Road to private investors from Spain and Australia for $3.85 billion in upfront cash.

The U.S. DOT is using parts of that lease and information from state laws around the country for its model legislation for other states to use in similar deals.

Officials from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware have all issued statements recently in favor of leasing or selling their turnpike systems or toll roads to private investors.

- By David Tanner, staff writer