A foreign company now owns six major US toll roads. This is the first time a foreign entity has held so many of our roads in American history. The story behind this is not just about one company, but rather it’s part of an ongoing trend that will affect every citizen in America for years to come.
Know about California Route 241
A California toll road has been sold to an Australian company. California Route 241 has always been considered “premier” by California residents but was recently acquired by the Australian Infrastructure Fund (AIXF) for $130 million. The sale of California’s Route 241 is part of a more significant effort by California Governor Jerry Brown to raise money (through sales of California assets). To get California out of its budget hole, California has been selling assets that they consider “non-essential” to gain more money from them. California is estimated to be 14 billion dollars in debt, and another $65 billion shortfalls are predicted for the following year.
The privatization of California’s California Route 241 allows the owners to set toll rates as high or low as they desire, which will affect California residents significantly. California lawmakers are worried that increasing traffic on California’s California Route 241 will cause more harmful greenhouse gases and large amounts of carbon dioxide pollution. California lawmakers have repeatedly voted against building new roads in California under the assumption that doing so would contribute to California’s carbon dioxide emissions. California lawmakers are also worried that California Route 241 will be too costly for California residents to use, which would decrease the revenue California collects from the road. The foreign owners of California Route 241 have stated that they have no intention of increasing the cost of using California Route 241.
California is the most stringent environmental law
California’s California Route 241 has been a California toll road since the 1950s. California has had difficulty funding California Route 241 and building new California roads for several years, partly because of California’s stringent environmental laws that hinder California construction projects. In addition, new California roads are often subject to lawsuits from California residents that claim the construction project will contribute to global warming (“a detrimental impact on global warming”). California is considered to have the most stringent environmental laws in the US. Therefore, they have become famous for having some of the world’s strictest environmental laws and regulations and lawsuits.
California lawmakers are concerned about how foreign ownership will affect California residents. For example, a bankrupt city in Illinois had previously sold its toll road to an Australian company and is now considering selling off the rest of its city assets. California lawmakers are worried that they may see a lot more foreign investment, especially from Australia, in the future as this deal between AIXF and Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) sets a precedent for such sales.
Rafael Luiz Munoz said: “It’s time to get the state out of the transportation business and focus on what we’re good at education and health care.”
American Public Transportation Association spokeswoman Virginia Miller said
“Governments are facing unprecedented challenges today, and we definitely understand that this is a difficult economic climate. However, we do think that there will be an increased interest in public-private partnerships in the future. This is because public-private partnerships provide a stable revenue source and allow public agencies to focus on core missions.”
AIXF’s chairman, Graham Bradley: “It is really at the forefront of where we see ourselves going and investing,” he said. According to him, the trend will continue for sure. No question’s where we’re going.”
Laer Pearce, the spokesman for the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, said: “Now is not the time to be selling assets. We are in a budget crisis. People are losing jobs very frequently. You have to look at this ten years down the road; who will pay the bill for the shortfall. What are you going to give back when the infrastructure is not being maintained? Who’s going to get stuck with that?”
Senator Mark DeSaulnier said: “It just bothers me that no one had thought about this before.” “The public has to be part of deliberating whether or not they want this to happen.”
“This is just another instance of public infrastructure being sold off for a quick buck,” said Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog. “What’s next? The Golden Gate Bridge?”
Analysis: California lawmakers have voted against building new roads in the state because they are worried about affecting global warming. California lawmakers are concerned that foreign owners of US roads may increase toll prices for Californians. Also, the sale of an Australian company in 2012 is worrying lawmakers about how they might react to more sales like this one in the future.
The tolls on these roads will go up, and it’s unclear if the company will invest in them. This means that we’ll see more traffic jams, which may cause pollution as well. It seems like a bad idea for this foreign company to own so many major US highways with such little investment put into maintaining them or adding new lanes of traffic.
The current situation is not suitable for the US. This foreign company will have an unfair advantage over other companies in the future because they are saving money by owning these tolls roads. Now we should start thinking about how we can regain some control over our country’s infrastructure before it gets worse.
This is a significant concern for many people. It will be interesting to see what the future holds with foreign ownership of toll roads in America. What are your thoughts on this?