Monday, February 19, 2007

Roads for sale

My column, which runs on the Voices page in the Democrat-Gazette every Monday, deals with an ugly version of toll roads being hatched by mega-Wall Street interests and foreign investors. The issue is whether powerful investment consortums should be allowed to take over existing interstate highways and turn them into tollways. Goldman-Sachs is among the elite investment firms heading this huge push, which has a lot of support from the Bush administration.

There is a "draft" proposal floating around the Arkansas legislature, but it does not have a sponsor and has not, so far as I know, been reduced to the form of a bill.

Meanwhile, Rep. Robbie Wills, chair of the House Public Transportation Committee, says he will introduce an amendment to a current law affecting “regional mobility authorities,” also known as RMA’s. Wills wants to build an inflation index into the law, so that repeated votes on tolls would not be required. My friend, Roby Brock has all the details on his BIZBLOG and (Great minds do think alike.)

Wills' bill does not hand our highways over to private investors and is not the proposal I wrote about in my column.

Steve Harrelson and I talked about some of this on my program this morning and it is available online at

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