Just a few examples (cited in the article) of deals that went south leaving taxpayers with the tab…
SR 91 Express Lanes, California — Private investors in 1995 built toll lanes in the median of a busy freeway connecting Riverside and Anaheim. A few years later, county officials wanted to expand adjacent non-toll lanes but were forbidden by a noncompete clause in their contract. SR 91 investors didn’t want non-toll roads hurting business. The county bought back the toll lanes for $208 million to clear the legal hurdle.
407 ETR, Toronto — Residents and government officials have gone to court to try to stop Madrid-based operator Cintra and its partners from raising toll rates and taking strict steps to punish motorists who use the road without paying their tolls. Because of a contract between the company and the Ontario provincial government, Cintra can block motorists from re-registering their vehicles if they haven’t paid tolls, and some residents say their credit is shot.
Cross City Tunnel, Sydney — Australians boycotted the 1.2-mile tunnel rather than pay a stiff toll, roughly $2.60 in U.S. dollars. Above ground, perfectly good lanes on city streets were shut down to try to persuade people to try the tunnel.