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A Times Editorial

Bad idea on roads gets more absurd

The line of companies wanting to take over one of Florida's signature roadways now reaches across the Atlantic Ocean, which poses a transcontinental transportation query:

Should Italy run Alligator Alley?

Gov. Charlie Crist is the one who signed off on this ever-maddening Department of Transportation quest to turn over public roads to private companies. He holds out hope, apparently, that the companies will shower his depleted budget with cash in such a way that he can deny their investment will be repaid by sky-high tolls.

Most people have begun to see through the scheme at this point, though, which may explain why resident and consumer groups and the county governments on both ends of the Alley have formally opposed the lease. Now that the DOT has received statements of interest from six different suitors, it is also clear that South Florida motorists could someday be entering a global marketplace.

Each of the six teams includes foreign companies — from Spain, Portugal, France, Brazil. One, from Italy, is made up only of foreign investors. Their interest merely underscores the inexplicable politics of outsourcing a publicly owned road.

State Sen. Dave Aronberg, whose district stretches from coast to coast in South Florida, has asked that the DOT plan be submitted to the state's Council on Efficient Government for independent review. If Crist won't pull the plug on this absurd venture, he ought to at least support a second opinion — from inside the state.

Bad idea on roads gets more absurd 07/25/08 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2008 7:05pm]
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