Denationalise our roads!

Oliver Knipping writes for Euro magazine

Every year the same thing happens... We all look forward to the upcoming festive season with our families, or even to a well-deserved Christmas break. The festive mood may evaporate rather quickly, however, when we think of the traffic jams common on German roads during the festive season. When squeezing at a snail’s pace past miles of often deserted construction sites, one may be forgiven for wondering whether resources are being efficiently allocated.

The massive economic costs due to accidents, delays, stress and environmental damages should be a sufficient reason for optimising the road network. But what is the government’s contribution to this goal? Could entrepreneurs not provide a network at least as good or better? What would a market for roads look like that is independent of vehicle, environmental and fuel taxes as well as politically imposed speed limits? Motorways, federal, regional and communal roads should be transferred to private providers. Entrepreneurs should be in charge of operations, maintenance and the construction of new road networks. Also, the providers should decide the method of financing.

Roads could be financed by ad posters, electronic commercials or sponsoring – as already done in soccer stadiums and the like. Providers could also make use of GPS based charging sy