The American Trucking Associations welcomed the Government Accountability Office's report on highway public-private partnerships, which predicts those finance schemes can create costly highway monopolies. The report, warning motorists that there is no “free money” for highway infrastructure, confirmed ATA's position that using public-private partnerships to fund infrastructure ultimately can be more costly to the motoring public than traditional funding solutions and may not sufficiently consider the public good.
In its report, the GAO said any benefits of public-private partnerships come with trade-offs that overlook public interest and are costly to the public sector. For example, tolls on privately operated highways will likely be higher than on publicly operated toll roads, according to the report. The GAO also criticized the limited efforts to systematically determine the public interest and to generate a cost-benefit analysis for each project.
The American Trucking Associations opposes the lease or sale of existing toll roads, bridges, or tunnels to private entities and has called on government to abandon these financing techniques. The group supports a toll-free national highway system where funds to finance highway improvement primarily come from fuel taxes. ATA believes privatization permits operators to increase tolls to prohibitive levels. Under such lease agreements, the public loses a degree of control over the road, and there are no guarantees that service and safety levels will be maintained.
A full copy of the report titled Highway Public-Private Partnerships: More Rigorous Up-Front Analysis Could Better Secure Potential Benefits and Protect the Public Interest can be accessed at www.gao.gov/new.items/.