When freshly converted libertarians start vigorously proselytizing to friends and strangers the most frequent retort they hear is – but who will build the roads?
The correct answer – no one knows. It could be farmer Jones, it could be entrepreneur Betty, perhaps corporation Gargantuan, or even the state. We’ll just have to wait and find out who wins the battle of the free market in road building.
That being a very unsatisfying answer for non-libertarians, let me point you toward a transportation specialist who continues to impress me with both his libertarian bona fides and his road building expertise. Robert Poole publishes the Surface Transportation Innovations Newsletter monthly, a must read if you want to know who will build the roads.
It’s much more than just roads, however, it covers all sorts of interesting transportation questions you will seldom see addressed in Google News or your Facebook news feed.
Things like – how crazy are the Department of Transportation’s Unserious Supply Chain Proposals? [Spoiler alert – over the top crazy.]
Tidbits such as – the Biden administration increased the Trump administration-initiated tariffs on Chinese intermodal container chassis from 25% to 246% in 2021, more than tripling the price [NYTimes firewall] of these chassis that represented 85% of the market. [A classic case of your tariffs are bad, my tariffs are good, real world results are irrelevant.]
In the latest newsletter you will also find a critique of the 15-Minute City. With such a catchy title, how could anything possibly go wrong? [Alternative question – could anything possibly go right?]
Finally, if all you really want is some light reading (for those who subscribe to The New Yorker, but only read the cartoons), Poole always closes with some of the sweetest quotes around, usually the kind of thing that brings your feet back down to the dirt road/ground, sometimes with an ungentle landing. “Before Election Day the price of gas will go up and down approximately 267 times, because that’s the number of days between now and then.” So there.