This from today’s Washington Post: These 21st-century traveling possibilities are the result of fast-moving efforts in Virginia and Maryland to build a network of express toll lanes — roads on which tolls increase when traffic levels rise to manage demand and prevent jams — that would parallel nearly every major route in the Washington area. The existing routes would remain free — and packed. The vision of a regionwide network of these highways has suddenly come into focus just a year after Virginia and Maryland first showed serious interest in the concept. Maryland plans to begin construction on its first express lanes next year, while Virginia plans to build them on a 14-mile stretch of the Beltway within five years. The projects, many of which will be built and operated by private firms, represent a radical shift in the way highways are financed and operated and promise to transform the way drivers in the Washington area and the nation travel. In addition, this Friday and Saturday a major conference will conviene in Richmond to discuss public-private partnerships, including a presentation from Reason Foundation.
Geoffrey Segal is the director of privatization and government reform at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. He is also editor of Reason's Privatization Watch.