Goldman Sachs Wants You to Pay-by-the-Mile to Drive on U.S. Roadways
By Mark Anderson
According to an independent British newspaper editor, in the not-so-distant future, English drivers will be charged based upon the number of miles they drive, as is being done step-by-step in America.
On January 12, AFP interviewed Mike Robinson, the editor of the UK Column, a liberty-minded newspaper not unlike AMERICAN FREE PRESS.
“Road charging,” as it is called in England, is widespread, he told AFP, as fiber optic cable has been laid along most English roads to help track vehicle travel by the mile so drivers can be charged.
“It has been on the European Union agenda for quite a long time,” he added.
His comments came amid recent news of a radical plan to raise $200 billion by privatizing “the motorway network,” as Brits call it. The plan was presented to the three main political parties by NM Rothschild, the influential investment bank, British news sources say.
The Rothschild bank, called “an architect of several privatizations,” reportedly made its pitch in the weeks running up to the summer recess back on July 21, 2009. Bankers told leading politicians that the sale of the roads overseen by the [public] Highways Agency—all motorways and most “big trunk roads”—could help revive battered public finances. This is the same story Americans have been told.
True to form, toll-road companies and “infrastructure funds” would compete to operate and maintain stretches of the British toll network.
In one version of this scheme, the British government would pay for upkeep through a system of “shadow” tolls. A more radical and less politically acceptable option would be for private companies to charge motorists directly through privately owned toll booths or electronic card readers.
And how did U.S. politicians get the idea that privatizing roads was an acceptable future? Two words: Goldman Sachs, according to noted Texas columnist Ed Wallace.
“Yes, large Wall Street investment banks, led by Goldman, started advising states across the nation on how to raise fast money by diverting the most necessary publicly owned assets—roads—into private ownership,” wrote Wallace. “You have to admit, it’s brilliant, because it’s a forced and guaranteed market: Americans can’t get out of driving.”
And as Daniel Schulman and James Ridgeway wrote in a scathing article, “The Highwaymen,” in January 2007, “Many similar deals are now on the horizon, and MIG and Cintra are often part of them. So is Goldman Sachs, the huge Wall Street firm that has played a remarkable role advising states on how to structure privatization deals—even while positioning itself to invest in the toll road market.”
Mark Anderson is a longtime newsman now working as a corresponding editor for American Free Press. Together he and his wife Angie provide many photographs of the events they cover for AFP. Mark welcomes your comments and inputs as well as story leads. Email him at at [email protected].
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(Issue # 4, January 25, 2010)