NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Surface Transportation Report: 2014

April 7, 2014

Long-term public-private partnerships (PPPs) for highways are taking off across the globe, says Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at the Reason Foundation.

  • In the 1960s and 1970s, France and Spain began developing long-term toll agreements with companies. The model spread to Australia in the 1980s and Latin America in the 1990s.
  • The United States, on the other hand, did not begin any highway concession projects until the mid-1990s, when two projects appeared: one in Orange County, California, and the other in northern Virginia.
  • In the 2000s, toll concessions emerged again, with projects in Illinois, Indiana, California, Texas, Florida and Virginia.
  • Four major toll projects reached their financial close in 2013, the largest being the North Tarrant Express in Fort Worth, followed by the East End Crossing bridge across the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky, the I-95 Express Lanes project in northern Virginia, and the Cline Avenue bridge replacement in Indiana.

Thirty-six states and Puerto Rico have some type of legislation enabling transportation PPPs, but many are limited or specific to certain projects. Last year, only one PPP bill was enacted (Maryland H.B. 560).

The use of managed lanes is another way that states are looking to decrease congestion. Of the 20 most congested metro areas in the United States, most already have variably priced managed lanes or plan to implement them.

Source: Robert W. Poole, Jr., "Annual Privatization Report 2014: Surface Transportation," Reason Foundation, March 2014.


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