The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Maryland Highways:
Profit, Debt, and Tolls

Jul 27, 2020

The state of Maryland is pressing ahead with plans for a private company to make big profit from public highways. Governor Hogan proposes to authorize a company such as Transurban to spend 10 billion dollars to partially rebuild and add toll lanes to highways 495 and 270 outside Washington, D.C., and then use tolls and fees to repay the costs and make profit.

Transurban consistently pays its investors between one third and one half of its revenue each year as dividends and distributions. To pay out these huge profits, the company raises tolls and borrows more and more. In seven years its debt has quadrupled while its revenue has tripled. Every new highway project lets Transurban pay bigger dividends by borrowing more money, while commuters pay and pay.

Transurban already operates two toll highways in Virginia outside Washington where tolls have spiked as high as 64 dollars. Now Transurban wants to bring its profits road show across the river. Only under capitalism does vital transportation become just another way for big businesses and banks to scam the population!