|In Part 31 on his blog Mr. Stolyarov responds on costs to road users under the current system versus a private system. I believe we both made some comparisons that could have been clearer. In post 116 I pointed to two different claims he made which looked inconsistent. He holds them instead to be consistent and summarizes his position. I agree his three points in Part 31 are consistent, but will comment on his 2nd point, as follows: |
2. There will be more private toll roads than government toll roads today, so aggregate tolls will likely be higher under a private system. My alternative would be that aggregate tolls would be much higher under a private system with near certainty. Tolls now provide less than 5% of aggregate revenues. See post 110. Something has to make up for a loss of 95% of revenues from taxes. It may be a smaller additional amount needed from tolls or other sources (e.g. rents for space at oases) than the tax revenues now provide, but getting by with less than 5%, or even a few of multiples of 5%, of the current level of revenues is in my opinion a pipe dream.
Onto Part 32. He writes:
Regarding my argument that private road entrepreneurs would be more likely to make roads initially sufficiently wide so that future inconvenient widenings would not be required as often, Mr. Jetton writes: “Why will a private road builder buy unneeded right-of-way for road X which will begin to generate revenues decades in the future, when the same money could be used on road Y that will generate revenues immediately?” My question was not an implicit claim that a private road owner would never buy right-of-way beyond immediate needs, but that it's very improbable. The question was also an implicit appeal to the law of diminishing returns (see post 96), simply applied. The particulars would be important, and the alternatives probably not restricted to two. To make the question more complete, change "road Y" to "road Y or some other use". The latter broadens the alternatives and would even include earning interest on the money for a while until a better alternative becomes available.
To this, I respond that the costs of building an entirely new road elsewhere might be much higher than the costs of building the initial road with more lanes, especially considering that significantly larger amounts of land would need to be obtained for the new road. Certainly, it is possible that the road entrepreneur could choose to build two smaller roads instead of one larger one,
Finally, I would like to address Mr. Jetton’s words that “[i]t seems [Mr. Stolyarov] gave up on the idea of retractable rollers. Instead he throws out some new ideas about remote-controlled or robotic barriers.” I would like to clarify that this is in fact the same idea. The barriers would have retractable rollers which could be deployed remotely and moved to the location of one’s choice – or else could move themselves. This is not too improbable given even today’s technology. I own a cleaning robot which is extremely effective at accomplishing its intended tasks and which can move in much wider variety of ways than the kinds of devices I am envisioning here.It seems my points about retractable rollers didn't register with him. I can't access his imagination, but do regard retractable rollers as utterly impractical for the kinds of barriers now used, and have said why for cones, light barrels, and concrete ones.
In parts 29 and 30 Mr. Stolyarov wrote about truck-only roads or lanes. This is not an original idea -- separate truck lanes already exist on a 30 mile segment of the New Jersey Turnpike. There is an article about truck-only lanes here. Robert Poole, of the Reason Foundation and whom I mentioned in post 100, is cited in the article a few times. Also, a web-page of the Reason Public Policy Institute -- affiliated with the Reason Foundation and Reason magazine -- says here: "Truck-only toll lanes are the brainchild of Robert Poole, an engineer who oversees transportation studies at the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank in Los Angeles."
(Edited by Merlin Jetton on 11/25, 1:22pm)