No. of Recommendations: 65
Finally, you have done nada to rebut the article.

OK, you talked me into it. "Your" article:

The opening decade of the nineteenth century saw the most charter activity, though roughly one-third of the companies chartered failed to construct a single mile of roadway.

This pretty much parallels the development of canals, as well, when nearly half the companies chartered to build one ended up disappearing (with the investors' money) without so much as putting a shovel in the earth.

The unprofitability of turnpikes soon became obvious. The vast majority of turnpikes paid only very small dividends or none at all. First, toll evasion was rampant, as people would circumvent tollgates, a practice known as “shunpiking.” Second, many roads were built in advance of settlement and travel demand was low.

So far your "article" isn't doing a very good job of convincing me. But wait! There's more!

Today, however, public officials and entrepreneurs are struggling to make the notion a reality. Four private highway projects are underway in California and many other states are following suit.

Your article was written in 1994. Let's see how those "four private highway projects" turned out, shall we?

1. State Route 91 (Orange County Express Lanes): authorized by State Bill AB 680; built at a cost of $130m. Opened ~1996, sold to the state in 2002 following financial difficulties. Now a government road.

2. State Route 125, (San Diego County): 10 miles long. Opened 2007, 18 years after authorized. Still operating.

3. State Route 57 (Orange County): After repeated delays and requests to lengthen the franchise, the developer(s) withdrew and the contract was terminated in 2001. Road not built by private enterprise.

4. Mid State Tollway (Alameda and Contra Costa Counties): after requested changes in the route and franchise were granted, the private consortium withdrew anyway. Road not built by private enterprise.

For those who are counting, that's 1 success out of four. Which might explain to most everyone why the "Good Roads Movement" came about in the early 20th century, when people were tired of waiting for actual roads and decided to have government actually build them instead of waiting around - as they had for 50 years - for them to magically appear.

I understand that none of this will change your mind, oh laissezfaireguy, because facts and results don't matter. How could they when stacked up against airy theories which have never worked anywhere, and which have repeated failed when put into practice? It's so much nicer to think how things should work instead of how they actually do.

But thanks for the challenge. Next time you might want to read your own articles before telling people how convincing they are?
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