Delaware on list of states seeking private leases for toll roads

| 1/10/2007

The list of states looking to cash in by selling or leasing state-owned toll roads now includes Delaware.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio are also considering possible deals for their turnpikes and toll roads to be leased to high bidders.

The Delaware Department of Transportation takes in $118 million in toll revenue each year, but officials have said the state is $2.7 billion short on road maintenance and construction money in its current budget.

Like the states of Indiana and Illinois, which have leased existing toll roads to private investors for billions of dollars in upfront cash, Delaware officials are hoping to pull the same strings and collect $4 billion for their 11-mile turnpike and 51-mile Delaware Highway 1.

Although there is not a cookie-cutter formula for such deals, the U.S. Department of Transportation recently issued "model legislation" for states to use as a guideline.

OOIDA opposes privatization deals for highways and infrastructure because those deals often lead to increased tolls in the name of profit for investors.