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The "who will build the roads?" question has become an inside joke for libertarians. So much so that they don't even debate or discuss it anymore. They just regurgitate "privatize everything!" despite the fact that history shows their solutions don't work except in rare cases.


Private Road Associations (PRAs) (1 link)
Based on European models. Overlooks the fact that association membership is not voluntary, dues (taxes) are assessed, government provides support, and that such roads handle roughly 4% of traffic per year (the rest being on government-operated roads.) We already have a similar system in the USA: county and town operation of roads through local governance. It obviously isn’t an instance of solving the coordination and freeloading problems without government. Thus it’s useless as an example.
Are private toll roads a losing idea? [More...]
Seven private road projects by the Australia infrastructure firm Macquarie were colossal failures. "None of these projects fulfilled their initial plans to operate successfully as profitable, private companies."
Highway Robbery: How "public-private partnerships" extract private profit from public infrastructure projects. [More...]
"Public-private partnerships" are a rebranding of privatization and the result of a long ideological campaign against public-sector unions and “big government.” They shift profit to private companies and risk to government.
Monty Python's Life of Brian: What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us? [More...]
"All right... all right... but apart from better sanitation and medicine and education and irrigation and public health and roads and a freshwater system and baths and public order... what have the Romans done for us?"
My experience with private roads and why libertarians have no idea what they're talking about [More...]
"Private road systems exist in the US. The thought of them being on a mass scale for society is ridiculous. Libertarians have strong opinions on topics they know nothing about."
Private Roads, Public Costs The Facts About Toll Road Privatization and How to Protect the Public [More...]
"Though these privatization deals seem to offer state officials a “quick fix,” they often pose long-term threats to the public interest. By privatizing roadways, officials hand over significant control over regional transportation policy to individuals who are accountable to their shareholders rather than the public.
Speed Limits (2 links)
Libertarians often point to the autobahns of Germany as examples of why speed limits ought to be abolished. Even casual thought will show why that is a stupid idea, but it can also be shown analytically.
The hidden costs of road privatization [More...]
“When infrastructure is privatized (or corporatized), the decisions about its size, shape and placement are driven by market demand. The private partners are interested in elements of infrastructure that can yield the longest and strongest streams of privately capturable revenue not the ones that yield the largest public benefits.”
The Privatization Backlash [More...]
"Yet the public impression of privatization as a panacea for the inherent inefficiency of government has been tarnished in the intervening years. From Halliburton to to private prisons and welfare systems, contracting has often proved problematic."
The Stupidity of Libertarian Privatised Roads [More...]
Tthe argument against privatised roads is not that no roads would ever be built by the private sector, it is that leaving it to the private sector would be more inefficient and unnecessarily raise costs.


Anybody who knows the history of the timber industry knows that a lot of libertarian ideas have already been tried in the western US and were a disaster. For people, for the environment, and for markets. Private towns, company stores, "homesteading," the list goes on. It's already been done.
GhostofRFS (pseudonym), "My experience with private roads and why libertarians have no idea what they're talking about"