Congressional Leaders Warn States Against Rushing into Private Toll Road Deals

In a letter sent to governors, state legislators, and state transportation officials on Friday, Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (Minn.) and Subcommittee Chairman Peter A. DeFazio (Ore.) said many public-private partnerships involving highways (also called PPPs or CDAs in Texas) do not protect the public interest.

“Although we invite all financing options to be on the table as we evaluate opportunities to increase investment in our nation’s infrastructure, we strongly caution you against rushing into PPPs that do not fully protect the public interest, the integrity of the national system, and which do not constitute a sustainable national system of transportation financing,” the Chairmen wrote.

The letter expressed strong concerns over states and local authorities leasing toll facilities to private operators.

“These deals make good business sense to the companies that are investing in the projects, but we have serious concerns about whether these transactions offer a net balance of benefits for the American public,” it read.

The letter further cited the Bush Administration’s efforts to promote highway PPPs, to the point of drafting model legislation for states to adopt. The Committee is preparing a discussion paper to present its concerns in more detail and answer the Administration’s claims.

"The Committee will work to undo any state PPP agreements that do not fully protect the public interest and the integrity of the national system,” the letter read. To read the letter click the link at the bottom of this page.

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