The former British Airways supremo, Sir Rod Eddington, has been exploring future options for the UK’s transport network.
However, while pointing out that road pricing might benefit the economy by £28 billion a year and lead to a more rational usage of road space (not to mention the welcome abandonment of fuel duty and the car tax disc) his report falls way short when it comes to libertarian vision. For no where does it highlight the benefits of private road ownership. No where does it recommend a supply side liberalisation on road building and the abandomement of various planning laws – including compulsory purchase orders. No where does it talk about allowing private law enforcement in public space or the need for complete privacy when in the future people pay their tolls and charges. Commissioned by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, Sir Rod’s report instead talks in the usual bland and deeply corporatist language of politicised business-speak. Road pricing is purely couched in terms of cutting traffic, encouraging trains and buses and being generally good for the government.
For a real vision for roads and our transport network forget Sir Rod and go to this excellent paper by Brian Micklethwait – The Private Ownership of Public Space: The New Age of Rationally Priced Road Use.