The debate was set off by Chuck Walton mayor of Casa Grande, a city to the south of Phoenix. Walton wants toll financing for a new north-south expressway located west of I-10 and heading in toward Phoenix.
Then in PA:
Geist in state House also interested
House and senate committees are both studying investor involvement by way of public private partnerships. House transp committee chair Rick Geist (Repub) is a strong supporter of concessions for new road projects in Pennsylvania. He said in an interview in his office last fall that he wants to see investors getting involved in all kinds of toll projects and other concessions for which the established Pennsylvania Turnpike is unsuited. They could move faster and more efficiently, he said.
But when we asked him if he favored privatizing the Turnpike itself his sunny disposition suddenly vanished and he said severely: “I wouldn’t change that at all. The Turnpike is fine as it is.”
Maybe it was our blunt language: “privatization.” Maybe if we’d finessed the words and asked about a “partnership with investors” or a “longterm lease” his answer would have been less rejectionist. But I doubt it. The guy is smart enough to see through the semantics. He wants to leave the Turnpike as it is.
When we asked Geist about Gov Rendell’s attitude toward investor roads, he said he hadn’t talked to the Governor yet. But he added: “He’d be crazy to be talking about this in an election year.”
Yet now he is talking about it – and not just for new roads but for the Turnpike. Of course his talk while generally upbeat is carefully nuanced.
If only Texas were this fortunate. Minnesota lawmakers pass ANTI-TOLL bill!
A bill to prohibit new tolling in the state has passed the Minnesota House of Representatives. HF886 and titled “Toll Facilities Prohibited” it states simply: ” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: Neither the commissioner nor a local road authority may impose or authorize the imposition of a toll for the use of a bridge or a highway or highway lane. This section does not apply to any toll that was being collected on January 1, 2005.”
The bill also contains a routine “Repealer” which cancels existing authorities to impose tolls. It is described thus:
“1.1 A bill for an act
1.2 relating to highways; repealing authorization for
1.3 construction of toll roads; repealing authorization
1.4 for collecting tolls for single-occupant vehicle use
1.5 of high-occupancy vehicle lanes; prohibiting
1.6 imposition of tolls on existing roads or construction
1.7 of new toll roads; proposing coding for new law in
1.8 Minnesota Statutes, chapter 160; repealing Minnesota
1.9 Statutes 2004, sections 160.84; 160.85; 160.86;
1.10 160.87; 160.88; 160.89; 160.90; 160.91; 160.92; 160.93.”