How to Build Infrastructure During an Age of Sequester: Reason Foundation's Robert W. Poole


"We have a lot of distorted investment in infrastructure, which is exactly what we don't need. We need to put it all to the highest and best use," says Robert W. Poole, Reason Foundation's director of transportation policy. 

At Reason Weekend 2013, the annual donor event for the nonprofit that publishes this website, Poole presented areas of transportation in which federal dollars are being wasted, including airports, air traffic control, highways, urban transit, ports, and inland waterways.  Poole explained how privatizing many of these areas would help increase efficiency and allow the transportation sector to avoid funding cuts related to the sequester.

Read Poole's major study on "Funding Important Transportation Infrastructure In a Fiscally Constrained Environment."

Read more Reason Foundation transportation work.

About 25 minutes.

Filmed by Alex Manning and Meredith Bragg. Edited by Amanda Winkler.

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  1. like Lillian replied I didnt know that people able to get paid $9721 in 1 month on the internet. have you seen this page…

    1. HEY! That’s not a youtube page.


  2. I do not get some libertarian wonks love for tolls. That is the dark age system of road funding and comes with a host of it’s own problems. It’s a form of government taxation quite directly modeled off of a robbery scheme.

    Like let me get this straight, you’re not allowed to build a wall and restrict access to the country on the border, because freedom of movement, but assholes can buy the roads and put tollbooths between me and the supermarket and that’s kosher?

    It gives me an idea for pitching anti-immigration to libertarians. If we contracted out customs enforcement to a private company by public bid, to be recovered by charging $200 “usage fee” to anyone trying to enter or leave (or however much you need to filter out the indigents), then would it be OK to build a wall to protect the guy’s property rights?

    1. “Like let me get this straight, you’re not allowed to build a wall and restrict access to the country on the border, because freedom of movement, but assholes can buy the roads and put tollbooths between me and the supermarket and that’s kosher?”

      Uh, you seem to have a problem with logic.
      Preventing access with a wall is one thing, requiring you to pay for construction you use is another.
      Are you capable of seeing that?

      1. Private property, how the fuck does it work?

      2. You are acting like the most important thing is the construction of the road.

        I’d say it’s the passage. It’s a path to get from A to B. Roads can be dirt roads, the key to being a road isn’t the asphalt construction, it’s the route.

        If you can restrict movement between A and B on the grounds that you bought the property between it and payed to have nicer passages constructed, the same could apply to the entire border. We just build a road on the whole thing and we can charge whatever we want for passage across it then? What happens to freedom of movement if you let people get fenced in with toll roads?

        1. What happens if you can’t put together a buck and a quarter for a cheeseburger? You starve. Right?

        2. “If you can restrict movement between A and B on the grounds that you bought the property between it and payed to have nicer passages constructed, the same could apply to the entire border.”

          Sarc or stupidity?

    2. but assholes can buy the roads and put tollbooths between me and the supermarket and that’s kosher?

      Maybe you can get the supermarket to validate your toll.

      Besides, this libertarian isn’t anti-immigration.

      I suggest trying to unfuck yourself.

    3. I don’t think there’s many libertarians that have a problem with a tollbooth at the border. 🙂

      Incidentally, I’m pretty sure that it costs a hell of a lot more than $200 for a foreigner to get resident alien status (Green Card) right now.

      1. You’re probably right about that.

  3. So who comes up with all that crazy smack? Wow.

    1. Afghan warlords. Bot, are you suggesting we fund our infrastructure projects by selling opium? Might work.

  4. did Poole consult on the latest SimCity game, and if not he should make his own.

  5. Both President Bush Jr & President Obama agreed to hand over
    $50 billion Uncle Sam Tax$ to fight the International battle against AIDS..

    The American infrastructure is reported to need dire repairs and this USA little American $50 billion in U.S. Tax$ are long gone to others in the world.

    Having the U.S.funding a World health problem on the backs of our countries dire needs needs change..Allowing Others around the World to continue to just sit back and allow USA Tax Payers to foot the World’s health issues is no longer a viable option !

  6. I registered just so I could ask: Does anyone know where the valve stem is for Poole’s head? And does he refill his cranium at home or at a service station(where he’d have to pay for the air)? What PSI?

    1. He uses the same specs you do

    2. Barnstormer| 3.10.13 @ 12:14AM |#
      …”(where he’d have to pay for the air)?”…

      You can have all the air you want for free. If you want it compressed, you have to pay for the machinery and power.

  7. OK wow that makes a LOT of sesne dude.

  8. If there’s any privatization, it needs to be completely, truly private, free market driven infrastructure, not pseudo-private/quasi-public government controlled means. Here’s Walter Block on the same topic, but from a different perspective.

    Still, I’m with Poole on heading towards the same direction, but I think it’s a hard sell and simply impossible in CA and many other states. What state is going to stop accepting Federal highway funds, despite all the conditions it carries, and turn the job over to the private sector?

    1. I’m like 99.9% libertarian but even Block loses me quick enough on the roadz business.

      Of all the BS the government pulls, not many people are dissatisfied with the roads. Nor is it the greatest cost driver.

      So for proof that the government roads suck, he cites what, the fact that 40,000 people a year die. Oh, like no one will crash themselves up on a private built road? He talks about proximate causes and ultimate causes specifically but he screws up blaming 40,000 deaths on a proximate cause (like the speed limit) in order to find fault with the public highways.

      And then even goes so far to say, in regard to 40,000 road deaths annually, “it’s the government that has not done well in regard to speed, it’s the government that hasn’t done well with regard to reducing drunken drivers”.

      So in this world of privatized roads we dream of, the speed limit will be 12mph and every 2 miles you’ll go through a tollbooth/speedtrap/DUI checkpoint. And if you disobey the speed limit while buttchugging mojitos and wipe out a schoolbus, apparently that’s the government’s property owner’s fault for failing to stop you.

      1. I don’t think you’ve really read his book or given his thoughts a fair understanding.

        Block advocates a diversity in attacking the issue of drunk driving. Perhaps urban roads should be 15 miles an hour after midnight. And be brightly lit and easy to navigate. Perhaps there are even better ideas out there to limit or prevent tragedies associated with drunk driving. It is astonishing that in the year 2013 we allow planes to fly themselves hundreds of miles an hour, but cars still poke along difficult to navigate roads and highways with highly flawed drivers.

        It is clear that the government lacks the incentives to solve these problems. In fact, the exorbitant tithing owed by a drunk driver to the state apparatus encourages police to maximize the number of drunk drivers in a given night.

  9. Here’s my problem with govt abandoning it’s job to build toll free roads. We all just end up paying more in the end. Govt budgets are reduced but the money is never really saved it’s only spent on some other worthless crap. So we get stuck paying ever increasing taxes and a toll road fee. No, I want to use the crumbling infrastructure as leverage to reduce spending in other areas.

    1. In other words. I’ve already paid for these motherfucking roads. Give me my shit.

  10. I just realized this was written in 2002. I wonder what the gun crime rate is now. Any government that tells you that you have no right to self defense is not looking after your best interest. Self defense is the most basic right anyone has. No government or police can protect you. I can’t believe you all allow this to continue. I keep a gun at home for self defense and have a license to carry it concealed any where I go. And I do. If I am attacked then at least I have a chance to stay alive. By the time the police arrive they can either arrange for my body to be picked up or take a statement from me. I choose the later. Britons let a right be taken from them and now it will be much harder to get it back. But you should try.
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