June 25, 2013 by Anders Ingemarson
The nation’s bridges are crumbling and our roads are in disrepair. A few years ago the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis tragically collapsed. And back in May of this year the I-5 bridge in Skagit, WA, caved in, fortunately without any fatalities. The situation is not limited to the Interstate Highway System. Every state in the nation laments the fact that its roadways and bridges are in sad shape.
Here at SEPARATE! we of course advocate the total separation of state and transportation, that is, all roads should be privately owned. It violates individual rights to force some Americans to pay for the road consumption of others. You should pay for your road usage just like you pay for goods and services in the free market place (in areas where a free market still exists).
Private ownership would cure the chronic state of road disrepair. Businessmen with an interest in investing in roads would factor wear and tear into their long term cost/benefit calculations and set the price accordingly. If the costs prove too high for what they can charge to make a profit, they will not build the road in the first place, or wait until new inventions bring down the cost of construction and maintenance.
How do we get from here to there? What does the highway to highway heaven look like? The real challenge is as usual to win the moral battle. As in many other areas, the American public has to feel sufficient moral outrage over the injustices created by the right violations in today’s system before we’ll see lasting change: “Why should I pay taxes to fund your work commute, your road trip, your trucking business…” and so forth.
However, devising practical solutions now may help concretize the issue: if you see a viable road to redemption ahead of you, the moral argument will appear less theoretical. Here, a few think tanks full of gas will be of great help (if they haven’t figured it out already).
Let’s put on our own think tank caps for a moment and, as an example, see what we could do about the Interstate System. If we divide it into manageable chunks, we can auction off the pieces to the highest bidder. The chunks may be structured in different ways. Perhaps each Interstate becomes a chunk (I-5, I-40, etc.), or maybe all the Interstates within each state, or some other division. The estimated p/c (profitability per chunk) will vary depending on how heavy the usage and what condition the roads are in, meaning that some chunks would fetch a high price and others would probably go for next to nothing. And we should probably spread out the auctions over a few years to avoid a fire sale.
As we auction off the chunks, we reduce the federal highway related taxes and spending accordingly, until they have been completely eliminated when the last chunk is gone. Furthermore, when each chunk is sold, it becomes exempt from federal regulation. Once the final chunk is off the auction block, federal regulations impacting the former Interstates will have been rendered obsolete.
What do we do with the proceeds? My vote is to speed up the separation of state and retirement, the separation of state and healthcare, and the dismantling of other entitlement programs. We’re talking sizeable change here, maybe upwards of a trillion dollars that can be of great help in easing the transition away from the entitlements state.
Oh, one more thing. Do not let states or local governments in on the auction, and stipulate that the winning bidders are not allowed to resale to any government entities, foreign or domestic. Transferring the moral injustices and right violations from the U.S. federal government to other forms of government would defeat the purpose of restoring our individual rights.
See, it isn’t that difficult!