Foreign companies buy U.S. roads, bridges
By Leslie Miller, Associated Press Writer | July 17, 2006
WASHINGTON—Roads and bridges built by U.S. taxpayers are starting to be sold off, and so far foreign-owned companies are doing the buying.
On a single day in June, an Australian-Spanish partnership paid $3.8 billion to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99-year lease on Virginia’s Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road from Austin to Seguin for 50 years.
Few people know that the tolls from the U.S. side of the tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, go to a subsidiary of an Australian company—which also owns a bridge in Alabama.
Some experts welcome the trend. Robert Poole, transportation director for the conservative think tank Reason Foundation, said private investors can raise more money than politicians to build new roads because these kind of owners are willing to raise tolls.