LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Toll roads were not bailed out by taxpayers

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@-Text.noindent:The recent editorial “Obama’s infrastructure boondoggle” (Comment & Analysis, Thursday) raises some important concerns about the proposed Infrastructure Financing Authority. However, in the course of doing so, it made several misleading points about toll roads.

@-Text.normal:Having been directly involved with one of these projects and having followed the others closely, I know that the 91 Express Lanes in Orange County, Calif., were not “bailed out” in 2002. Developed and operated by a private consortium, they were profitable when bought out at market value by the Orange County Transportation Authority, which has continued to operate them using the same kind of variable pricing used by the prior owner.

The Greenville Connector in South Carolina and the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia both suffered from toll revenues much lower than projected. The former went bankrupt last year, but thus far there has been no taxpayer bailout. The Pocahontas Parkway was rescued by a private-sector toll company at no cost to Virginia taxpayers.

And none of the three struggling toll tunnels in Australia that went into receivership has received any taxpayer bailouts. The first two have been bought by other private companies, and the same will soon happen to the third. About a dozen other privately developed toll projects in Melbourne and Sydney are in sound financial shape.

@-Text.noindent:ROBERT POOLE

Director of transportation policy

Reason Foundation

@-Text.noindent:Plantation, Fla.

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