The Case For Privatizing U.S. Infrastructure - with Bob Poole and Chris Edwards

In episode 8 of the Market Urbanism podcast, we talk about the socialized nature of U.S. infrastructure, and how it can be privatized. In segment 1, we discuss toll roads with Bob Poole of the Reason Foundation. In segment 2 we discuss broader privatization strategies with Chris Edwards of the Cato Institute.

0:47 Scott Beyer starts his editorial on the socialized nature of US infrastructure

2:25 Martha Ekdahl describes the I-66 toll road project in northern Virginia

7:25 Sergio Rodrigues talks about successful toll roads in the northeast, and the need for more in NYC

11:10 Antonio Grana explains how socialized roads put private rail out of business

12:08 start of interview with Bob Poole. He begins by agreeing with the premise of the hosts:

All of our other vital public utilities are operated as businesses, whether they're run by government as businesses, like the municipal water departments, or as companies, like the electric utilities. In all of those cases, you don't pay a tax to the government. You pay a charge to the provider based on how much of the service you use...In highways we don't do that.

15:45 Grana asks about the general lack of market signals in U.S. road policy

17:52 Ekdahl asks how tolling can improve the flow of mass transit

20:44 Grana asks how the tolling concept can go from highways to municipal roads

24:38 Rodrigues asks Poole how to prevent downtown congestion

28:37 start of interview with Chris Edwards

30:28 Beyer asks Edwards to distinguish between different versions of privatization

34:05 Grana asks Edwards to break down Britain's rail privatization

The privatization has been a huge success. Rail ridership has soared in Britain - in fact it's doubled since privatization in the 1990s, which is different than a lot of counties in Europe and the United States, where rail ridership is down. So entrepreneurs have brought a lot of energy and efficiency to the rail system.

37:02 Ekdahl asks how Tactical Urbanism applies to the privatization space

38:48 Rodrigues asks how privatization can slow the pension timebomb

41:32 Grana asks about the challenges of acquiring ROW, and how that reconciles with free-market ideology

44:17 hosts respond to both interviews