David Cameron unveils plan to sell off the roads

David King sends me to Crooked Timber: The new enclosures as a threat to freedom cites a Guardian article: David Cameron unveils plan to sell off the roads: Sovereign wealth funds to be allowed to lease motorways in England, says prime minister

"If the road companies met the targets they would receive a proportion of the vehicle excise duty, which currently all goes to the Treasury. This would be seen as a particularly radical step because it would be a form of hypothecation – allowing a stream of revenue to be directed at a particular project. The Treasury normally resists this because it likes to keep control of prioritising spending across government."

"There will be no tolls on the existing road network. But if the road companies create new capacity – by adding lanes to existing roads or building new roads altogether – then they would be entitled to charge for their use."

"The bankers NM Rothschild suggested in a report in 2010 that privatising the road network could raise £100bn. Government sources said the scheme proposed by Cameron would raise far less because he plans to lease out trunk roads and motorways, rather than embarking on a full-scale sell-off, as NM Rothschild suggested.

The Cameron scheme would see a regulator for roads established along the lines of Ofwat, which oversees water and sewerage providers. Government sources were joking that they would have to think of a better name than Ofroad."

[This will be controversial.]

David Levinson

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This page contains a single entry by David Levinson published on March 19, 2012 4:09 PM.

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