Selling the Pavement

NAFTA TAKES MORE VICTIMS
By Mark Anderson

In a move that many grassroots activists believe signals a coming trend, two states have put taxpayer-financed toll roads up for sale to foreign companies. More disconcerting is the fact that these have the potential becoming a massive network of toll roads facilitating free trade throughout North America under the framework of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.

In Indiana, foreign interests are obtaining the first lease agreement with a state government to privately operate an existing toll road—paying $3.8 billion for a 75-year lease to operate the Indiana Toll Road.

In addition, the historically significant Pennsylvania Turnpike also may be headed to the proverbial auction block, as confirmed by American Free Press. But apparently it’s not a done deal.

AFP reported last December that Pennsylvania state Rep. Richard Geist had planned to introduce House Bill 1 to sell the Pennsylvania Turnpike to private investors. The Indiana Toll Road deal prompted Hoosiers to send scores of “Ditch Mitch” bumper stickers critical of Gov. Mitch Daniels’s unwavering support of the sale. It involved a deal between the state and ITR Concessions LLC, a partnership of the Cintra Company of Spain and the McQuarie Bank of Australia.

McQuarie and Cintra, as AFP previously noted, also are involved with the highly controversial Trans-Texas Corridor, a planned toll road system that would ripple through the Texas countryside, gobbling up large tracts of land. It would largely be used for trucking foreign merchandise to the United States. A number of safety and security concerns have been raised.

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