Some investors are betting on toll roads to be the next big thing when it comes to infrastructure. This is mainly due to P3s, which allow private companies to design, build, finance, and maintain some projects for a set number of years before handing them back over to public ownership. To date, there have been 18 states that have passed laws allowing P3s in some form or another. And now President Trump has signed an executive order supporting their use. The group behind this push? The American Council of Construction Investors (ACCI) is funded by heavy hitters like Macquarie Capital Group Ltd., Toll Brothers Inc., Skanska AB, and Bechtel Corporation – so expect more toll roads coming in upcoming years.
Mystery Group’s Conference
A mystery group is holding a conference in two weeks at The Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C., and has not revealed who its sponsors are. But documents filed with the federal government show that representatives of some of the biggest names in America’s toll road industry have reserved blocks of rooms for the conference — including John Standiford, director of government affairs for American Roads LLC, one of the largest private toll road operators in the country.
Mystery group to host conference in D.C. that has top toll road lobbyists on the guest list
Franchot, Hogan to team up on $10,000 tax break plan (Balt. Sun)
Doug Gettmann (D), who lost his House seat in 2010 after voting for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s (D) gas tax increase, is challenging state Sen. Alex Mooney (R) in the GOP primary for West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R). Guttmann has come out against a proposed $7 billion federal loan of taxpayer money to the Dulles Greenway and other private toll road projects in the state. He is also advocating a repeal of what he describes as “the monstrous and unfair” gas tax increase and tolls on the ICC. Guttmann says his proposal to make the 2nd District’s representation in Congress two-party would be better for local taxpayers than Mooney’s approach, which “may just mean more of the same.”
State tolls for I-95 construction may be used without approval, the newspaper says (Trentonian)
According to reports, the Dulles Greenway, America’s most profitable toll road, may get a $1 billion federal loan for widening that could double tolls. The private company that operates the Greenway is proposing spending the money on adding four new lanes, which would make it possible to drive from Washington D.C. to the airport without being stuck in traffic. Tolls would also be used to pay back the loan, which could double tolls from $4.75 each way to as much as $9.
The new group that has been authorized by two former mayors of Philadelphia and Oklahoma City, has come up with virtually no information about its supporters on the internet. There’s scant evidence to suggest that they are funded through any traditional means; all we know for sure is that Mick Cornett signed an affidavit saying “I agree” before everything turned dark–literally (he went black) back in June – without ever revealing who was behind this mysterious endeavor which promises nothing more than infrastructure improvement?
How can people trust them if there isn’t even anything concretely tangible at first glance??
Let’s Build Infrastructure Together LLC registered!
In June, the “Let’s Build Infrastructure Together LLC” registered anonymously with state agencies and leaves no trace about its funding sources. But a series of evidence, along with social media posts and nonprofit business registration and lobbying documents, suggests that toll road operators may be affiliated with the pro-privatization push.
In 2019 Hans Klinger served on the board for Invest in Texas Roads Now (ITRN). This organization lobbies against taxes on businesses such as gas stations or car dealerships to spend money more freely without being taxed at higher rates than their counterparts across state lines where there is no regulation present in 2012. However, he had been running his consulting firm called “Klinger Strategies” until 2015 before going back into public service again through Cintra Corporation.
The Invest in Texas Roads Now and its website now redirects to Let’s Build Infrastructure, and the given groups tend to share many of the same language features on their site.
The nonprofit group promoted an infrastructure partnership that would have seen six new toll lanes built near Dallas on Interstate 635 (I-635) and four more located along with I 35 between Austin and San Antonio. The U.S.-based subsidiary Cintra Corporation acts as lobbyist director for Spanish company Ferrovial SA when it contracts out its services with other companies like TransCore, which bids out construction projects such as highways.
Klinger did not answer to a request for his comment on Twitter this week when he first retweeted the company promotion of Let’s Build Infrastructure in Politico before it was unveiled; Black Diamond Strategies is his firm with which Cintra has hired him as their representative.
Increased water bills
The San Antonio Water System faces a 10% hike in water bills to help pay for the pipeline project. This kind of thing isn’t uncommon, but it’s always concerning when an organization touts their work as being successful while also raising prices on customers who can afford them least at times like these!
According to Uproad, It remains to be seen how the infrastructure privatization movement will play out in Washington, but it seems unlikely that lobbyists are spending time and money on a project without an endgame. Infrastructure is a major issue where there’s no clear answer or right side; we should hope for anything better than what we’ve got now. What do you think?
The infrastructure privatization group is still a mystery, but it’s clear that the lobbying for this project has been ongoing. It becomes curious to see how long it takes before we find out more about who they are and their end goal. Do you think America needs private ownership of public roads?