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Domino's Will Build the Roads

The company's "paving for pizza" initiative answers an age-old question.

Domino'sDomino'sPeople often ask who would build the roads in a libertarian society. This week brought a new answer: Domino's.

On Monday, the pizza company unveiled its "Paving for Pizza" initiative, promising to partner with customer-nominated towns to fix up pot holes, repair road surfaces, and otherwise help provide a service many Americans think of as an exclusively public responsibility.

"Have you ever hit a pothole and instantly cringed? We know that feeling is heightened when you're bringing home a carryout order from your local Domino's store," said company president Russell Wiener in a press release. "Domino's cares too much about its customers and pizza to let that happen."

So far, Domino has helped fix up roads in one town apiece in Texas, Georgia, Delaware, and California. The company has plans to partner with as many as 20, according to Domino's Public Affairs Director Jenny Fouracre.

Each of those 20 cities is getting a $5,000 grant, so Domino's is committing as much as $100,000 to its infrastructure initiative. That won't buy you much blacktop, but some cities are still happy to have it.

"For us it really paid off and it's been viewed as a positive in our community," says Eric Norenberg, city manager of Milford, Delaware, whose town put their $5,000 grant toward fixing up 40 potholes.

Yearly road maintenance, says Norenberg, can take up about 10 percent of his city's operating budget. The state covers just a little bit of that and the federal government none, so the corporate sponsorship is welcome.

"It's not something we've done before. In a situation like this, if all other things were equal, we would try to something similar. I really hope this means that other companies will look to step up."

Of course even this small private grant has been enough to stoke fears of an imminent corporate takeover of the nation's roads.

"This feels like something from a William Gibson cyberpunk dystopia novel, where the government has become so weak and useless, private corporations have been taking over the basic upkeep of the nation," writes Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik.

"What kind of state are we in as a society when Domino's pizza takes a responsibility to fill potholes. Filling potholes is a function of government. Ultimately the goal for Domino's is to sell more pizzas. That shouldn't be the reason to fill potholes," opined one Twitter user.

Yet this is exactly the reason the government fills pot holes. Well, one of the reasons at least.

Roads exist to service people's transportation needs, whether that's getting to and from work, schlepping freight between cities, or, yes, delivering freshly cooked pizza. Aligning the funding of roads with the purposes they're used for would make infrastructure more responsive to the end user.

Moving to a more user-focused highway system could look like something radical, such as selling or leasing whole urban highways to private companies (as they've done in Santiago, Chile), or it could look a bit more mundane, such as spending people's gas tax dollars on actually building and maintaining the roads they drive on.

Either option would be far different from how the public sector manages our roads in a lot of states, says Baruch Feigenbaum, a transportation expert with the Reason Foundation (the nonprofit that publishes this website).

"In some states the road conditions are terrible," says Feigenbaum, speaking of interstate highway conditions. "There hasn't been much of new capacity, and in terms of offering in terms of what we would call services" like towing, car repair, and food and drink options at rest stops. (Federal law prohibits the commercialization of interstate rest stops.)

These poor conditions often result from politicians siphoning money away from road infrastructure that people actually use to build out bike lanes and transit systems that politicians would prefer them to use.

Take California, which has some of the highest gas taxes in the country—and also some of the worst maintained highways. In 2017 state politicians upped their gas tax even more on the promise of fixing up its roads, then took $2.4 billion of that extra money and put it toward buying light rail vehicles and electric buses.

Feigenbaum says it would be relatively easy—technically, if not politically—to sell or lease poorly maintained interstate highways to private entities, who would then be contractually obliged to maintain them in a certain condition, making back their investment with tolls.

This is, of course, pretty theoretical. As much as libertarians might wish for a Snow Crash–like future of private highways knitting together semi-sovereign suburbs, officials and voters and even corporations themselves are still skeptical of the idea.

Asked what Domino's position on privatizing roads was, Fouracre said it had none.

Photo Credit: Domino's

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  • Rich||

    Of course, now if your pizza is damaged when you hit a pothole, "No insurance for *you*!"

  • albo||

    "Just a single principle: the Deliverator stands tall, your pie in thirty minutes or you can have it free, shoot the driver, take his car, file a class-action suit. The Deliverator has been working this job for six months, a rich and lengthy tenure by his standards, and has never delivered a pizza in more than twenty-one minutes."

    "CosaNostra Pizza #3569 is on Vista Road just down from Kings Park Mall. Vista Road used to belong to the State of California and now is called Fairlanes, Inc. Rte. CSV-5. Its main competition used to be a U.S. highway and is now called Cruiseways, Inc. Rte. Cal-12. Farther up the Valley, the two competing highways actually cross. Once there had been bitter disputes, the intersection closed by sporadic sniper fire. Finally, a big developer bought the entire intersection and turned it into a drivethrough mall. Now the roads just feed into a parking system—not a lot, not a ramp, but a system-and lose their identity. Getting through the intersection involves tracing paths through the parking system, many braided filaments of direction like the Ho Chi Minh trail. CSV-5 has better throughput, but Cal-12 has better pavement. That is typical-Fairlanes roads emphasize getting you there, for Type A drivers, and Cruiseways emphasize the enjoyment of the ride, for Type B drivers."
    --Snow Crash

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Exactly. Gibson is shit and gets undeserved credit for the cyberpunk genre.

  • Rhywun||

    One of my favorite images from that book is his mom having to bring TP to her government job because they are incapable of providing for their workers.

  • AustinRoth||

    "People often ask who would build the roads in a libertarian society."

    Who asks that question? Libertarianism is not anarchy or the total lack of government, it is limited government. Name one (non-fringe) Libertarian that thinks road building and maintenance is not a proper task for government.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Plenty. There is no need for governments to have a monopoly on road building, nor even be one of the providers.

  • Citizen X||

    Hell, over half the roads in socialist hellholes like Sweden and the U.K. are privately owned.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    With no link provided, I'm guessing you're referring to the cul de sacs owned by HOAs. Which would be useless without the far more expensive arterial roads that the government builds and the private sector simply cannot.

  • Juice||

    Cannot because they are incapable or because they are not allowed?

  • JFree||

    Cannot because tolls cannot pay for construction and maintenance. And if the private entity is getting state funding/action for the eminent domain or the mandated easements or the construction; then it is ALWAYS cronyism that does that not a free market.

  • ||

    Cannot because tolls cannot pay for construction and maintenance.

    Just to play devil's advocate, why not? The tolls from CA bridges not only pay for the maintenance of the bridges, but they pay for other traffic construction projects, as well.

  • JFree||

    One of the biggest cronyist boondoggles out there is the privatization of roads AFTER the state has already done the eminent domain, negotiated easements, and construction.

    Selling all that stuff 'at cost' is simply transferring all the excess value that has already been created by that from 'the public' to a private entity. The private sector will never have the slightest interest in buying a value-destroying project at-cost - nor should it.

    It is simple deceitful thievery which actually enables/incentivizes bigger government (because govts use that money for new projects) but is justified/rationalized/sold to idiots as 'smaller' government. The worst of all possible worlds.

  • ||

    Selling all that stuff 'at cost' is simply transferring all the excess value that has already been created by that from 'the public' to a private entity

    Agreed that "in the Real World" you're dealing with "public-private partnerships" where the up-front capital expense is taken on by the taxpayers and the operator gets handed a risk-free operating contract, BUT -

    govts use that money for new projects

    is my point. Separate from the distribution question, which gets tied up in government corruption and cronyism, clearly enough money is produced from the tolls to not just cover operations and maintenance, but to also fund other capital improvement projects.

    Therefore, it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that a bridge or roadway could be funded with private capital that is paid back through toll revenue.

  • JFree||

    it doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility that a bridge or roadway could be funded with private capital that is paid back through toll revenue.

    Small SECTIONS of a transport grid get enough volume to fund themselves like that. But transport something from Minneapolis to Seattle - still gotta get through Dakotas and Montana without wormholes. A private entity just won't fund unprofitable sections out of usage profits unless they are short and cheap. Those sections won't turn into a network.

    The main dynamic is that a road-section-in-isolation may pay for itself via traffic/usage. A road NETWORK pays for itself in increases in the value of all the land connected to that network - and nowadays only govt can tax part of that increased value to fund the network. The railroads are the best private example from the past but that was because they were all able to buy land (or get it for free) from govt and resell it at a profit. Once the land is already parceled out, just can't be done privately.

  • Joenz||

    My HOA owned our roads, so the county refused to have the school busses enter the neighborhood. The kids got picked up on a busy road, and multiple parents complained. Nobody at the county cared, and recently a 14 year old girl got hit and killed by a commuter. The county still refuses to send busses into the neighborhood, so the HOA is now considering handing the ownership of the road over to them.

  • SRoach||

    Sounds terrible. Can't they "Give" a tiny stretch to the county, reserve the rest, and have the buses stop there? Around here, the bureaucracy of the roads department and the bureaucracy of the schools don't communicate these things. I've never heard of a school district refusing to use a private road because the county commissioners didn't own/control it.

  • JFree||

    That's just misleading as hell re Sweden at least. raw mileage - yes its true

    98,500 km of state-owned roads
    41,600 km of muni-owned roads
    75,200 km of private-owned roads with state funding
    364,100 km of private-owned roads with no state funding and no public access.

    The last category is entirely rural 'branch' roads off the main public grid. The third category is 'branch' roads off the main arteries in suburban areas - where the property is still taxed (called local fee) and construction is done by the local govt but ownership and primary maintenance is then private (very few of which are 'tolled' cuz they aren't intended to be run as a business).

    iow - Sweden doesn't DO 'last mile access' in rural or suburban areas. They don't consider that 'transportation infrastructure'. That may be a workable model since it also greatly reduces eminent domain issues and some real estate cronyism and reduces govt spending but don't pretend that's actually a general transportation solution on its own. It's also a model that has the same problems as elsewhere re its failure to see that prop taxes and housing bubbles/shortages are linked. And like it or not, that impacts transportation too.

  • Bubba Jones||

    How does that compare to the US? At least in Texas it is the residential developer's responsibility to build the roads in all the new neighborhoods and then the developer "gives" them to the county. The county then takes responsibility for maintenance.

  • H. Farnham||

    Eh. I agree there are a lot of libertarians that think government should not provide transportation infrastructure at all (aren't all libertarians pretty fringe, though?). Personally, I think infrastructure privatization would help a lot with efficiency and overall cost, but I don't have a problem with government playing a role. Especially at the local and state level; the federal government should not be involved at all.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    How does a private company make a profit from building roads? Tolls? Yeah, I want to pay a toll every time I make a turn.

    How is there competition between road building companies when rarely are two roads substitutes for each other, and never are there more than two or three that are substitutes.

  • sarcasmic||

    You pay a toll whenever you fill up the tank. It's called the gas tax. And you pay another toll when you register your call. It's called excise tax. You're gonna pay a toll no matter what.

  • sarcasmic||

    call car

  • StackOfCoins||

    Of course, the gas tax is premised on the idea that gasoline purchased is used for driving a vehicle. And it makes no distinction between featherweight Japanese models and durable American Hum-Vees.

    It's a convenient method of collecting revenue, but more importantly, the revenue is rarely used for it's stated purpose, as the article mentions. Turning roads over to companies who sole mission is to build roads - based on demand - and maintain them, and who's goal is the fund the maintenance of those roads through usage-based tolls, would be ideal. How one would go about making toll collection painless, short of mandating some sort of ID chip in every car, is another matter.

  • TrickyVic (old school)||

    ""How one would go about making toll collection painless, short of mandating some sort of ID chip in every car, is another matter.""

    It's called cashless tolling. The camera takes a photo of your license plate and sends the bill to whom that plate is registered. It's already on a couple of bridges in NJ and NY. I've seen it on I-90 going into Boston. You don't even have to slow down, and there are no toll booths.

  • sarcasmic||

    And it makes no distinction between featherweight Japanese models and durable American Hum-Vees.

    Featherweight Japanese models use less gas, so the driver pays less tax. Heavier vehicles result in more revenue, because they use more gas.

  • SRoach||

    Yes, but, or so I've heard, not proportional to the additional wear on the road.

    So I've heard, a lightweight passenger car causes negligible wear on the road, while a big 18-wheeler wears the road out must faster, at the same vehicle velocities.

    While weather also has an effect on the road, (significantly, in places that experience any sort of freeze-thaw cycle, or which might experience flooding, and washouts,) the small car, by itself, doesn't do that much damage.

    For it to be equitable, the truck would need to pay significantly more per mile, on an exponential scale.
    Please note finding 4, on page 12, of the linked document. It wasn't the top of the Google link, but what was was EU, and I felt it better to use a homegrown source for this.

    Edit. The link was too long. The below link will redirect to https:// ctr.utexas.edu/ wp-content/ uploads/ pubs/ 2122_1.pdf ...minus all the spaces which caused this commenting system to reject this link.
    https://bit.ly/2MqJTJd

  • Galane||

    Interstate trucks don't pay fuel tax when they fill their tanks. The drivers keep log books, or a GPS logging system does it automatically.

    Then periodically the driver or trucking company pays a tax to each State the truck drove through, based on the distance driven in each State. Since Oregon charges a higher tax, truckers coming going between Canada or Washington to California and the Southwest will go over to Idaho to use Interstate 95, bypassing Oregon if they don't have a pickup or delivery in Oregon.

  • SRoach||

    One way, is for the business owners to collectively maintain the road that leads to them.
    Or for a developer to maintain the road, and then lease lots to businesses who want to set up shop where there are roads.

    In an ideal world, (which, of course this is not,) should the cost of roads become to great, the shop can pick up shop, and move to another development, where the road price is cheaper. Developments, either co-ops or centrally owned, have to compete in amenities and potential traffic for the shops, just as shops have to compete in price, ease of access, and quality of their products for the customers.

    In such a system, a neighborhood naturally wants some connection to the rest of the world, both so their customers (residents) can shop outside their limited offerings, and so outsiders can shop within their own hosted businesses.

    Of course, this all depends on the property itself being fungible. That a lot in this development is judged as good as a lot in some other development in terms of attracting customers and making money, and sentimentality never comes up.
    That no one really cares to set up shop, and maintain it, in the same location, for more than a few years.

  • SRoach||

    too great. I DO know my homonyms.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    There are almost always multiple routes between two places. If not, it's such a seldom traveled route that no one cares about your bad choices.

    Tolls are not the only way, although they are a lot easier now with all the Easy Pass transponders. Here are some ideas:

    Merchants on a block group together to pay the road maintenance.

    New development builds the damned roads, because that is how it happens now anyway, and no one would buy a house that didn't have access.

    House owners own the road fronting their lot and pay for its maintenance. Usually this would be the width of the parcel and out to the middle of the road. You will of course object that cheap bastards will do shoddy maintenance, if any. One answer is that maintaining residential streets is a lot cheaper than you think; last time I looked, it came to around $2/sq foot, or $4000 for a 100 foot lot on a 40 foot street. If you repaved the entire thing once every ten years, that's only $400 a year. As for potholes, I have no doubt that repair kits would be available from Home Depot for DIY, or that companies would spring up to patch them well and cheaply. Watching city crews patch potholes is a hoot, how old-fashioned they are, with dump trucks, too many workers, and dumb ancient materials. Only idiots think private enterprise and a DIY market could not come up with better ways.

  • SRoach||

    My county used to have a specialized truck that could patch potholes via a nozzle on the front of the truck.
    They no longer do, and now they're back to the old "tried and true" technique of two guys shoveling chat into holes while a third drives the flatbed.

    Another approach would be to own, say, 50% of the maintenance in front of your own property, and to have shares on the maintenance on either side, such that some of your maintenance money goes toward the roads you use beyond the width of your property.
    Freeloading is a problem, but the question becomes at what point is it cheaper to support a freeloader or two than to put up with a stretch of the worst road anyone can remember seeing.

    Besides, I know one mother who wanted the road in front of her house to be terrible...but then she had the smoothest stretch, and neighbors with lead feet.

  • Dan At Law||

    See "The Voluntary City" p92. Voluntary organizations overcame the free rider problem in developing turnpikes

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Come on down to MD and VA. We have full toll roads that you have to have an EZ-Pass to ride on. The cost per mile fluctuates based on demand. No stopping at toll booths, it just reads your device. I sometimes travel on them in order to get away of from traffic if I am in a rush. Other times I use the regular roads because I am not in a rush and don't want to pay the extra $ for the convenience they provide. There are some issues with them that I am sure others will point out (privacy concerns, double taxation) but it isn't some dreadful experience.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    All these arguments against private ownership of roads are so retarded it really boggles the mind.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    How is there competition between road building companies when rarely are two roads substitutes for each other, and never are there more than two or three that are substitutes

    I don't know where you live, but around here there are multiple routes to get to places.

    Alternative EOA argument: How is there competition between fiber building companies when rarely are two fibers substitutes for each other and never more than two or three that are substitutes?

  • Joenz||

    I'd like to see local governments using private contractors to do the work. Sandy Springs outside of Atlanta is a great example of this working. Saves a ton of money, work gets done faster, etc. I believe reason wrote an article on it.

    I prefer this option because it prevents a company from owning a road and jacking up prices to use it. Instead, it invites competition to build and maintain roads, which should drive down prices.

  • Brian||

    I find the smell of your impurity...displeasing.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    Who asks that question?

    Even minarchists are faced with that question way more than they should be. Statists usually think they have a slam dunk with that question, and then extrapolate from government roads to government services. If they can prove that government roads are a necessary and proper function of government, then why not government health care? (or so the argument goes...)

    Regardless of whether or not you think it's a community's responsibility to build roads (and I'm on the fence on this one), it's a question that has been asked of libertarians forever, and one that we frankly don't have a super compelling argument that appeals to non-libertarians or solves some great societal ill.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Whenever it's deployed by statists, it is almost always a red herring, because road maintenance and building is one of the cheaper infrastructure activities of government, and one that almost everyone can find common ground. As you rightly note even libertarians are split on whether government should build the roads or not.

    The key is not buying into the statist's bullshit, and when they try such a bald-faced tactic, pointing out the enormous differences between building a road and nationalizing a healthcare system.

  • SRoach||

    L. Neil Smith
    seemingly, Scott Beiser
    To name two.
    (Personally, I've played too much Eve:Online to think "Anarchocapitalism" would work well, but that's me.)

    I don't think either qualify as "fringe"...well anymore than any other libertarian.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    And I've played enough SimCity and Civilization to know that government is a vital institution.

    After all, who would tell people where to build what, without the government clicking on squares and telling people what to do?

  • SRoach||

    Yeah..
    Eve:Online is a "sandbox" game, and an MMO, and can get pretty Darwinian, but it's not the mechanics of the game that causes it.

    One time, a large player based organization organized an event, "Burn Jita", (THE major trade hub in game,) in order to jack up the prices of the resources they were waiting to sell.
    Another time, a player wormed his way into the confidence of a major alliance over the span of years, and then wiped out the capital investment of that alliance from the inside.
    Yet another player ran a bank, for years, then liquidated all his creditors in-game money, sold it via a gold-farming store, to finance his real-world medical expenses.
    All this is in-game legal. (Except the last. RMT is against CCP's TOS.)

    I find the game a good microcosm of life without police.

  • Zeb||

    It's also a world with no real consequences for players if they destroy things or piss everyone off, which probably changes behavior quite a bit.

  • SRoach||

    This is true.
    However, if 10%* are willing to behave this way, 10%* of the time, in a game, and only 0.1% of the real world population would do so, that's still a potential hellhole.

    It's also true that it is easy to assume, and shed, identities in such a setting. CCP knows who you are, but your corpmates can only ever tell, and reliably demand to know, who your (up to) three characters on that account are.
    In any world where a person can assume an identity, and for some price, replace that identity, there will be people who put on a name to defraud, then discard it when it becomes expensive to them. Of course, rationally, they'll only commit crimes, by any definition, that have a good chance of earning them enough to replace the identity.

    *Arbitrary values. I have no good numbers for this.

  • gormadoc||

    EO (and MMOs in general) also attracts these kinds of players. The early years were pretty rough and established that kind of toxicity as the core playerbase.

    From what I've heard of Second Life (which similarly has a real world presence) that behavior wasn't very common.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Listen, goormasock,

    Eve Online confirms everything I already knew about human behavior, and I'll be damned if I give that up just because "reasons."!

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    SRoach:

    "only 0.1% of the real world population would do so, that's still a potential hellhole."

    Thankfully, because of government, we don't have that situation right now, and life is far from a hellhole. QED.

  • SRoach||

    Well, at least we don't have Wal-Mart setting up snipers on the roof to kill the opening crew of Target on Black Friday.

    But yes, the 0.1% exists, and some of them are in government or government services.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Another anarchic game to learn life lessons from is Rust.

    It's a survival game, where you try to avoid death by gathering resources, building fires, etc.

    And what do players do? Viciously murder each other, left and right.

    That's where'd we be if not for the police.

    I'm not sure exactly how humanity survived and flourished at all, but I'm pretty sure police unions were involved.

  • Agammamon||

    Non-libertarians ask it all the time. Its a 'gotcha' question (or so they think). And plenty of non-fringe libertarians think that road-building is not a proper task for government. Government builds roads when and where government feels like building them irregardless of the population's needs - because government has no way outside of 'Top Men' to figure out what those needs are.

  • sarcasmic||

    All "who will do it if government doesn't" questions are 'gotcha' questions. Because the answer is 'markets.' Markets is not specific. It doesn't name exactly who will do the job. So it isn't a valid answer. Central planners require a central planner as an answer. 'The person who does a better job than the competition' is not specific enough, so it is dismissed out of hand.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    irregardless?

  • sarcasmic||

    Libertarianism is not anarchy or the total lack of government, it is limited government.

    Not true. If you don't want government to do some things, then you don't want government to do anything. At least that's what I hear whenever I mention something I don't want government to do.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Oh, but it is anarchy. It is, indeed.

  • DesigNate||

    Every fucking asshole on Reddit and Facebook who thinks they're getting one over on libertarians with that question?

  • ||

    Name one (non-fringe) Libertarian that thinks road building and maintenance is not a proper task for government.

    George Washington
    Benjamin Franklin
    James Madison
    Alexander Hamilton
    Gouverneur Morris
    Robert Morris
    James Wilson
    ...

  • ace_m82||

    "Name one (non-fringe) Libertarian that thinks road building and maintenance is not a proper task for government."

    The logically consistent ones.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    Yeah, most actual libertarians would like to privatize roads. It's a good litmus test, like free trade in labor or uterus ownership.

  • madam margaret||

    Define 'fringe'....of course Roads belong to private

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    All Libertarians are "fringe". And many know that the first highway built in America was privately built and owned. It was the Reading Road, between my home town of Reading and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    Libertarians also know that there is no proper function that can only be provided by violence, i.e., the State. IOW, ALL of people's material needs can be provided for by a voluntary, peaceful, free market.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Of course, what will really happen is that governments getting $5K for road repairs will divert $5K from the existing road repair budget to something else, like more police overtime to write more traffic tickets now that more people speed over the improved road.

    It's the multiplier effect in practice.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Asked what Domino's position on privatizing roads was, Fouracre said it had none.

    They didn't realize they were dipping their toe into public policy waters.

    BREAKING NEWS: DOMINO'S PIZZA SUPPORTS SLAVERY, CHILD LABOR

  • Leo Kovalensky II||

    And with the one simple move, all the Domino's fell.

  • Citizen X||

    Is it a problem for Domino's if i use their road to get delivery from a better pizza place?

  • ||

    Is it a problem for Domino's if i use their road to get delivery from a better pizza place?

    You don't have to worry, Chicago has tollways.

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    So the poor Chicagoans have to pay an exit tax to get good pizza?

  • Chipper Morning Baculum||

    If the pizza is not made by someone from Italy, it is usually not worth eating.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    No way. Actual italian pizza is lame.

  • Jerryskids||

    People often ask who would build the roads in a libertarian society. This week brought a new answer: Domino's.

    Guess who pays for the roads under our current non-libertarian scheme? (Hint: Government doesn't have any money it doesn't first take from taxpaying citizens like pizza delivery drivers and businesses like Domino's through tax-collection programs like motor fuels taxes.)

  • H. Farnham||

    The 99% that's who... make the rich pay their fair share! /sarc

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    I think their point is that under the current system people are forced to pay, while in the ancap fantasy they're envisioning, companies would pay voluntarily.

    Of course, there is an enormous difference to fill in a few potholes for PR purposes and actually building roads. Akin to the ancap claim that because private security guards exist, the private sector can provide police and courts.

  • Jerryskids||

    Or akin to the ancap claim that if it weren't for the Bureau of Bread somehow the private sector would just magically and spontaneously create a system whereby wheat would be harvested, flour would be milled, bread would be baked and distributed for sale, and all in a efficient, effective, economical manner. Jesus, the duplication of services alone in such a bread production system where everybody and their brother is free to offer bread for sale even if we've got all the bread producers we need would mean bread would cost like $20 a loaf. Thankfully, the BoB is a central command where all the market information is in one place and they know exactly how much bread should be produced, where it should be sent and how much it should cost. Since there's no wasted production or useless duplication of services in the production, distribution and sales of bread, this is obviously the most efficient method of operating a bread production scheme.

  • SRoach||

    While I agree with you, the analogy is a bit flawed.
    You should google "Farm Subsidies".
    Farmers tie in to this government program, where they agree to only use a certain number of acres to grow wheat, then if the rains don't come, or the grasshoppers do, (or if it rains Right in the MIDDLE of the wheat harvest,) the farmer doesn't have his whole investment wiped out.

    But by agreeing to only use a certain number of acres, the price of wheat is prevented from dropping below what might be expected to support the farmer.

    It's price fixing.
    By the government.
    Effectively, the USDA IS your BoB.

  • Jerryskids||

    There's some truth to the statement that government is just the things we choose to do together, but another name for the things we choose to do together would be "shopping at Walmart". There's simply the matter of what's the most efficient manner of arranging the doing of things together. Socialism always sounds good in theory, everything being planned out so everybody's on the same page working together and there's no resources being wasted in generating profits and the duplication of services competition brings - but experience (and just a little thought) demonstrates that without profits and competition there's no incentive to be efficient or innovative in serving the consumer. There's a place in the market for both Walmart and Saks Fifth Avenue, both Amazon and 7-11 because different people have different ideas about what's "efficient". Government is a one-size-fits-all, take-it-or-leave-it proposition.

    If you can't imagine that there might be a better way to do things, even without knowing what that way might look like, that's due to your paucity of imagination, not to the non-existence of alternative ways of doing things. Might as well laugh at Thomas Edison trying to invent a lightbulb because how the hell you gonna burn a tiny carbon fiber in a sealed glass container and expect it to give off any quantity of light? That Edison guy's obviously a retard who doesn't understand a damn thing about something as simple as combustion.

  • sparkstable||

    I know, right? A candle is a candle and a horse is a horse. How anyone believes that some single non-gocernment individual could just make up something out of thin air like a fantasy story to replace those things is beyond me. Such people are so blatantly crazy that any and all things they say and believe need to be disregarded out of hand for the sake of society!!

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    I see you're well read on your Tony.

  • CDRSchafer||

    If we could only have private companies repair and build roads. Takes longer to build/repair roads than it took the Egyptians to build the pyramids.

  • SRoach||

    I hope Dominos is able to, and does, write this off on their taxes, as a charitable expense.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    "This feels like something from a William Gibson cyberpunk dystopia novel, where the government has become so weak and useless, private corporations have been taking over the basic upkeep of the nation," writes Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik.

    Dystopia novel? Try reality: government is worse than useless, except the problem is that government is too powerful not too weak. If government were limited to just doing its rightful job there's at least a chance it would actually get done.

  • albo||

    And they were so close: it actually is from a Neal Stephenson cyberpunk libertarian dystopia, Snow Crash

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It's not like we could expect any other kind of hot take from the intellectually debased sewer that makes up a division of the former Gawker empire.

  • Curt||

    "This feels like something from a William Gibson cyberpunk dystopia novel, where the government has become so weak and useless, private corporations have been taking over the basic upkeep of the nation,"

    "What kind of state are we in as a society when Domino's pizza takes a responsibility to fill potholes. Filling potholes is a function of government. Ultimately the goal for Domino's is to sell more pizzas. That shouldn't be the reason to fill potholes,"

    I can't decide if this is a great example of the enormous gap between a libertarian world view and everyone else. Or, are these just examples of someone who has never given this any thought beyond their response. Who has never had someone respond to their idea.

  • Curt||

    I'm sure that, at some point in my life, I viewed the world this way. Someone other than government taking responsibility for something just would've been nonsense. But, eventually, I reached the point where I look at the first statement and wonder what part of that is "dystopia".

    I wonder if someone sat these people down, talked to them, and showed them examples of alternatives, would the light switch on and they would begin to understand? Or, is a world without government as all-knowing, benevolent provider just incomprehensible to some?

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    It was written by a proglydyte retard at a Gawker/Univision site. Reality disconnectedness is what they do.

  • Galane||

    It's been said that there are two types of people. Those who desire to rule over others, and those who want to be left the hell alone.

    But there's a third type. Those who desire to *be ruled*, to be directed and told what to do, and find it incomprehensible that anyone else would not want things that way.

  • Eman||

    At least they have hope for a better world. Republicans haven't just accepted the status quo, they profit off of it.

  • NoVaNick||

    The roads where I live suck despite increasing property and restaurant taxes and a local gas tax hike a few years ago intended to specifically improve roads in Northern Virginia. Instead, the politicians decided to hand over a huge chunk of the gas tax revenue to fund Metro-go figure...

  • Idle Hands||

    The dedicated funding bill still makes absolutely no sense to me. VA appears to have gotten nothing in return and not a month after the ink was dry wmata pledged to shut down all the lines here with the exception of the orange for the entire summer.

  • Idle Hands||

    Even for democrats it was a surprisingly retarded move. NOVA politicians seem like an especially naive bunch of retards, because anyone with an inkling of politicking ability would have engaged in at least some amount of horsetrading.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    In my area of Northern VA there are bicycle paths that you never see a bicycle on. The cyclists still ride on the roads in their wannabe Tour de France outfits, often riding line abreast to completely block the traffic lane.

    But they still agitate for more bike paths.

  • Emotional Opposition Animal||

    No surprise that Reason doesn't know the difference between patching a few potholes and building roads.

    Chances are the pothole fill will taste better than their pizza.

  • gormadoc||

    It's not like the government or Domino's is doing this themselves. They pay other people to do it. It's the beauty of money; they don't have to know how and the only difference to them is the cost.

    Wal-Mart owns and manages the roads it operates on in my city. They're far better maintained than the city/county/state roads.

  • Lowdog||

    You're admitting that you actually don't know any arguments that have been advanced towards how roads would be built under a market system. Good for you. One should understand one's limitations.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    Right, because the same crews who patch potholes would never be able to step up to building a new road.

  • ||

    Actually they can't. Two to four men can patch potholes with a dumptruck and a few hand tools. Building even a few miles of two-lane road takes a huge investment in equipment and manpower.

    Of course, while the same crews can't actually do it, there are crews that can for the right price.

    Domino's donations seem to be in the few thousands and seem mostly to be directed at maintaining existing government owned roads. Nothing is being said about them conceiving, planning or building any new roads.

    They will have no effect on who owns roads or who decides how a new road will get from here to there. or, for that matter which "here to there" will get the next new road. These are ultimately political decisions and will continue to be.

  • sarcasmic||

    "What kind of state are we in as a society when Domino's pizza takes a responsibility to fill potholes. Filling potholes is a function of government. Ultimately the goal for Domino's is to sell more pizzas. That shouldn't be the reason to fill potholes," opined one Twitter user.

    Corporations are evil because they sell stuff to willing buyers, and provide jobs for willing employees! That's terrible!

    We need everything to be done by government because government uses force and coercion!

  • ||

    Actually, my problem here is that people on both sides of this divide are seeing a company donating money to local governments as some kind of earth shaking paradigm shift.

    Individuals and companies have been making substantial donations to public school systems for years. The public school establishment still exists and still functions in its own uniquely dysfunctional way

  • Sevo||

    I KNEW that stuff they offer as "cheese" had a use!

  • Bubba Jones||

    Toll roads aren't the real-world solution because government will simply divert ever larger shares of the gas tax to non-transportation uses.

    The correct answer is to ensure that gas taxes fund roads.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    That, and charge hybrid/EV users 1000% license and registration fees for the loss of revenue that results from decreased fuel consumption.

  • SRoach||

    Why? Lightweight vehicles cause considerably less wear than do heavy ones. If anything, reduce the registration fees for vehicles that are below some target tonnage, and again for vehicles that weigh even less.

    If you want to pipe fuel and registration dollars directly to road repair, the highest price should go to heavy trucks, regardless of what they burn.

  • ||

    It sounds a lot to me that nothing has changed the "government builds roads" paradigm here. The only thing that's changed is that a private entity is donating money to selected local governments to do road maintenance. It's been possible to donate money to governments for a long time, so nothing is new here.

    I one wishes to be purely technical governments don't build roads now; they do plan* them and finance** them. And they contract the building out to privately owned construction companies (a small amount of road building - actual hauling and placing of materials - is done by government employees but it is tiny compared to the amount that is contracted out).

    *Of course, there are many private firms that the actual planning, as well as design and construction, gets contracted out to but the government still has a multitude of engineers, accountants and other lackeys who monitor, supervise this process, all the way through to the opening of any new road.

    **Strictly speaking, of course, governments don't actually finance roads. They pay for roads with money that's been either taxed or borrowed. Borrowed money is paid back either through toll collection or taxes. Thus, the government's main role is deciding what roads get repaired and/or what roads get built in new locations.

  • ||

    Even the public/private partnerships, which are so loved by Bob Poole et al, involve elected and appointed government officials deciding how much goes where and where it goes from and to and by which route. Once a road/bridge/tunnel/etc gets built it is not just an asset that a private owner can close or convert to another use at will. It becomes a vital transportation link which must be kept operating at all costs.

    None of the proceeding is intended to be advocacy of any point of view. My preference is that markets should allocate resources but current political though is not in that direction and prevailing economic thought is only in favor until markets don't give them everything they wish for.

  • Dillinger||

    >>>who would build the roads in a libertarian society.

    mob.

  • ||

    Another way of putting my comments above, is that a free market in roads would mean that if I were able to get the financial backing* and title to the right amount of land (in exactly the right locations) (all through voluntary transactions), I could build a road from Orlando to Tampa and:

    1) Charge any tolls I wanted to.

    2) If it turned out that no one used it and I could not make enough revenue in tolls to make the thing pay, I could close it, bulldoze it and build saloons, whorehouses, distilleries and other like enterprizes in its place.

    3) Oh, hell, even every one used it and I was making money hand over fist from the damn thing, I could till do #2 (which I'm pretty sure is what everyone would thing I had done), well, just because i wanted to.

    *OK, that whole thing of having shareholders, a board and the need to tow the lion for a herd of lenders and underwriters and other parasites I probably couldn't do 3).

  • ||

    even if every one used it

    "thing" should be "think"

  • Brandybuck||

    I actually own a private road. That's not really how it works. I and my fellow shareholders keep the road maintained because we need to use it. That is all.

    The idea that it's all about tolls and stuff is rather silly, and the ancaps who assert that only tolls can fund roads have never seen a private road. You think Dominos is charging tolls? Hah!

  • ||

    No, I don't think Dominos is charging tolls (and if you got that, you probably didn't understand my comment), but if you are going to operate a road for any purpose but to provide access to your property from the Public (IOW, at this time, government owned) road network you're going to need a way of financing it.

    IOW, your driveway is not a road, even if you share it with your neighbors.

  • ||

    When people talk about roads they don't mean the short piece of pavement that connects you to the public road network. The public road network is that system of roads that connects people together over distance.

    Just like someone who above wrote a comment that suggested that Walmart's parking lots and access driveways qualify as roads, you seem to have missed the point here.

  • ||

    The question here is whether the public road network should be privately owned and operated or whether the government is needed somewhere in the mix.

    I'm pretty sure that if I drove onto your private road you or one of your neighbours would call the cops with a trespass complaint. When I drive from Orlando to Tampa I want some assurance that I can do so without interference as long as I have met any financial or other obligations.

  • ||

    So, yeah, I'm kinda tired of Reason "more libertatrian than thou" pedants saying that their driveway is the same thing as I-4.

  • ||

    I use "public" above in the same sense that it is used in "public company", where any member of the "public" can buy shares, regardless of their class, creed or color. Likewise the English "Public Schools" to which any member of the public could send his children provided he was able to pay the tuition and that his child could pass some kind of proficiency test. Such schools promoted social mobility by deurbanizing the accents of the children of industrialists and merchants*, in addition to teaching "proper english" to the children of Indian rajahs, African princes and arab sultans thus causing them to be accepted as "almost equals" of the children of the aristocracy who had the rural english dialects and scottish burrs that they learned from the servants trained out of them in fave of proper received english.

  • ||

    *in case you missed the point, in the 19th century it didn't matter how much money you had if you belonged to the wrong class, and that included the selfmade industrialists and merchants, you were considered inferior even though you could buy and sell many in the aristocracy many times over and might be frequently called upon to bail them out of their financial distress.

  • Galane||

    That goes to what Michael Caine credited for his role in "Zulu" which launched his career. With where he was born and raised, which was embedded in his accent, he never would have been permitted to be an officer of the rank he played in the movie - no matter his qualifications.

    But the director was an American and chose the actors by who sounded most "British" to him. A British director, cognizant of their historical class structure, never would have given that role to an actor with a voice like Caine's.

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    You could ask Google's motivation for rolling out Google Fiber. The idea is that if you build the infrastructure, more people will use your service. Whether or not Google Fiber will be a profitable endeavor for them is up for debate, but the model is pretty well established in other industries.

    Without roads, what would gas companies, automobile companies, and all the companies who rely on trucking do? There's an obvious interest for businesses to make sure the roadways are functional. In many ways, pushing this service down to the taxpayer is a subsidy for business who might otherwise pick up the costs and let them trickle down to consumers (i.e. the market's ability to naturally create "usage fees").

  • ||

    Excellent point.

  • ace_m82||

    "who would build the roads in a libertarian society"

    Whomever makes a profit* to do so.

    *This need not be monetary, but some psychic profit, perhaps an increased feeling of well-being.

  • Galane||

    A business that owns a large retail/industrial park would build roads to it, and take the cost of building and maintaining those roads from the profits generated by the customers using the roads coming in to buy stuff from the businesses leasing or renting space in the park.

    A privately built and maintained road doesn't need to be a toll road if the company that built it derives profit from the road via the mere existence of the road.

  • Brandybuck||

    "This feels like something from a William Gibson cyberpunk dystopia novel, where the government has become so weak and useless, private corporations have been taking over the basic upkeep of the nation," writes Jason Torchinsky over at Jalopnik.

    William Gibson may consider that a dystopia, but Neil Stephenson asked what if that were really the case and ended up writing the cyberpunk novel that ended the cyberpunk genre with Snowcrash. Utopia is not an option, but that does not make everything else a dystopia. The world of Snowcrash was not pleasant, but it was not a dystopia. Private concerns got on with the job of keeping things running smoothly without a strong government not because there were all ideological anarchists, but simply because private concerns had the need to keep things running smoothly.

    The William Gibson universe says that bad things happens if the government is weak an ineffectual so lets give the government all the power and the guns so they don't become weak and ineffectual like my novels. But the Neil Stephenson universe says that it's all about the individual people and if public mafia known as government can't manage to take care of the roadz then the private mafia who delivers pizzas on time will.

  • EscherEnigma||

    As much as libertarians might wish for a Snow Crash–like future of private highways knitting together semi-sovereign suburbs [...]


    Yes! Thank you! I read that Jalopnik article and couldn't believe that they refrenced Gibson but completetly neglected Snow Crash! Snow Crash starts with a friggin' pizza delivery for crying out loud!

  • Galane||

    Such a pity their DXP delivery vehicles are just modded 2015 Chevy Sparks. No performance enhancements of any kind. Definiately NOT 'deliverators'.

    The only thing they have in common with the fictional vehicle is the pizza door on the side. That's not even a real warming oven in the DXP. It's just a plastic box with a string of LEDs. Its edge doesn't even come close to the side of the vehicle. :(

    It was apparently *intended* to be a warming oven, but there are some photos of a DXP that got a lot too hot in that area. Probably the prototype. Caught fire so the oven idea got the axe.

    Chicago Connection Pizza used to have hot oven trucks. Small pickups with a warming unit in the back that looked sort of like a camper shell. Filled the whole bed, they had the tailgates off too. Originally they had "Stop me for a pizza." on the truck. Until a friend of my sister's actually did that. ;) No, he didn't get a pizza, nor were the police called. But shortly that slogan was removed from all their trucks.

    Like how an officer should never give an order that won't be obeyed, don't have a company slogan that you don't have plans to honor should someone attempt to take you up on it.

  • EscherEnigma||

    Second thought.

    I think it's hilarious to see so many Libertarians openly advocating for systems that increase surveillance and monitoring of where people come from and go. Toll roads, especially ones that don't have toll gates, are always going to increase the surveillance state.

  • Thomas O.||

    So now when they say "ROADZ", we can respond with "ROADZZA"! :D

  • Eman||

    There wouldn't be a Dominos in libertopia. Cold pizza for breakfast is usually one of the best parts of ordering pizza, but Dominos literally turns into greasy cardboard overnight. It's a fiendishly clever scheme to get hungover people to buy more of their product, but without the crony politicians bought by big pizza who would want it?

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