Mass. Lawmakers Wary Of Turnpike Privitization

Many state lawmakers say they're skeptical of the idea of privatizing the Massachusetts Turnpike.

The legislature's transportation committee weighed the idea yesterday at the first of four hearings on how to pay down Big Dig debt.

WBUR's Meghna Chakrabarti reports.

The Pike board recently voted for a toll increase. But it's agreed — the debt won't disappear.

So, in this informational hearing, national experts testified on a different revenue stream: privatizing the Pike... a plan where the state would receive a large lump sum from the private sector. In return, companies would own the revenue from tolls.

Several representatives weren't sold on the idea. John Fernandes:

The reservations that I have about the public private partnership is the inevitability that tolls will be around for at least 99 more years.

That's the case in Chicago. In 2004, the city received 1.8 billion dollars to privatize the Chicago Skyway, an agreement highlighted in the hearing as a national example of public-private partnerships in transportation.

This program aired on December 4, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.


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