Friday, March 24, 2006

Wanna Buy a Slightly Used Highway?

My local paper reports that the Garden State Parkway and New Jersey Turnpike might be up for sale.

I'm afraid I'm being dense as usual. If these quasi-public entities bring in more revenue than their costs, why would the state want to sell them? And if they don't make a profit, why on earth would any private company want to buy them (and then deal with the legendarily calm, polite and reasonable New Jersey government for all eternity)?

1 comment:

James Nicoll said...

The promise of a large, one time cash influx can be very attractive to a government, especially one that doesn't expect to be around much longer.

It's somewhat traditional up here for conservative governments to make, hrm, peculiar appearing deals involving the sale of government property. The Pearson sale was eventually nixed, as I recall, but the 407 ETR (officially sold because the provincial government was running short of funds) was bought by an overseas consortium for about 30% of the value of the road.

No doubt New Jersey's government is above reproach but whenever I see a deal like this, I want to run an audit on the people involved.

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