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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Who will build the roads?

When I speak out against government, this is one of the inevitable responses I get. Hopefully this will finally put that erroneous line of thought to rest.

Fixing all of Ohio's bridges could cost more than $4 billion, according to a national study. It's a bill the state says it can't foot alone without additional investment from the federal government.
I honestly don't know why people continue to think that only the state can build roads. States are barely able maintain what they have, despite onerous gasoline taxes and monopoly of toll roads. The economic impact almost seems like a no brainer: high prices, poor service. The forgone conclusion is that costs for this public good will continue to go up relentlessly. Same as all the other government "services" that nobody can seem to do without.

But hey, they claim they're working to keep bridges safe through annual inspections and a "fix-it-first" philosophy. Too bad they can't afford the $4 billion it will take. And that's just an estimate. Chances are 100% certain the true cost will be higher after all the no-bid contracts are handed out to relatives of state administrators.

You probably still don't believe that private enterprise can build roads. I would highly recommend this classic essay by Walter Block on free market transportation. Sure, there are a lot more terrible things that the government does besides build roads. But still, it's a very simple illustration of how incompetent the state is at handling just about anything. If most people aren't convinced by this, I don't know what it would possibly take.

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