Corporations Don’t Want Congress Looking Into Their Toll Road Scams

Posted in Privatization, Road Issues, Around The Nation, Around The State at 9:17 am by wcnews

Came across this today, Goldman, Macquarie Face Fight in Congress on Private Toll Roads. Goldman is involved in many, if not all the deals in Texas, and Macquarie and Cintra, the Spanish company that’s in the thick of the TTC, work together on many projects. (Emphasis added)

The trucking industry and congressional Democrats are trying to put the brakes on state efforts to lease toll roads to Macquarie Bank Ltd., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other private investors.

Urged on by truckers such as U.S. Xpress Enterprises Ltd., House Democrats are considering withholding highway funds from states whose leases with companies fail to meet proposed federal standards. Critics of leasing say private investors are more likely to raise tolls than government authorities are. Private investors would also find it easier to fire toll collectors and other employees.

New federal restrictions could make investments in the $1.7 trillion of public roadways less attractive to private interests. And the mere fact of congressional attention might have a chilling effect on such deals, says Mike McDermott, an analyst who works on toll-road transactions in the New York office of Fitch Ratings Ltd., which rates debt used to finance infrastructure.

“Those kinds of public debates would make politicians at the state level more cautious,” he says.

It needs to be noted that when Republicans controlled Congress they didn’t care one iota about oversight on this issue. It’s only since the Democrats took power that Congress has started to scrutinize these deals. Also note that just talking about oversight on these deals is already having a chilling effect on them. For these deals to go through, because they are such bad deals for the public, they must be done with as little public knowledge as possible. Any time someone is worried about public debate it must be a bad idea.

If these deals are such a good deal for taxpayers those who want to lease our infrastructure should be willing to stand up to public and Congressional scrutiny and make their case or the deals should not be allowed. The secrecy that contracts like the TTC were given, as opposed to the public’s right to know, has always been infuriating. These corporations should be held to a much higher standard then they have been if they want the right to profit off of our infrastructure. The fact that the public knowing what they’re doing scares them will just add to the public’s distrust of these deals.

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