Leasing Toll Roads, Airports, and Parking

There are several stories on privatization in the news lately on a number of fronts. First up is in the real value of toll roads – which should be read by Pennsylvania residents and lawmakers of all mindsets:

  • For those who think the Turnpike Commission can simply re-submit their proposal to toll I-80 (basically the same people who thought they would get approval in the first place, even though we told them they wouldn’t): The Federal Government is revising the rules so that no state can do a tolling plan like Act 44 without a “fair market valuation” of the road, and would allow for public agencies to compete with private firms in bidding on such deals.
  • For those who think “re-bidding” the Turnpike lease will fetch a bigger pot: Toll Roads News is reporting that analysts think Abertis overbid on the Turnpike lease – pegging its value at $11 Billion – and that Abertis is better of without the deal.
  • For skeptics of toll road leases: The Weekly Standard has an article touting the success of the Indiana Toll Road lease.

On another front, Chicago – which was the first in the US to lease an existing toll road – has finished the details of a 99-year, $2.5 billion lease of Midway Airport. Reason’s Out of Control blog has more on the deal. There is also a story on Toll Roads News, which notes that Citi was one of the big investors. As readers will note, Citi had planned to pour a few billion in to Pennsylvania for the Turnpike, but let that bid expire shortly before the Midway deal went through.

Finally, here is an update on the proposal to lease the Harrisburg Parking Authority’s parking garages.