President Obama’s statement regarding the Mars landing was illuminating:
“Tonight’s success, delivered by NASA, parallels our major steps forward towards a vision for a new partnership with American companies to send American astronauts into space on American spacecraft. That partnership will save taxpayer dollars while allowing NASA to do what it has always done best …”
What the President is describing is reminiscent of the public-private partnerships that have helped many states fund their roads, bridges, and tunnels in these tight economic times.
Understandably, voters oppose tax increases—an attitude shown in last week’s decisive defeat of a proposed 1% transportation sales tax in Atlanta—and politicians are generally unwilling to mandate them. But the transportation infrastructure “can” has been kicked down the road too often, and now that road is old, overburdened, and increasingly hazardous.
Luckily, tolling offers a way to maintain and improve our nation’s infrastructure without relying on tax increases, using the same kind of cutting-edge financing that the intelligent folks at NASA are using to supplement their taxpayer funds.