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Thread: "But muh roads!!!"

  1. #1

    "But muh roads!!!"

    Of the 4 railroads that were built at the time, the 3 that were "built by government": Union Pacific, Central Pacific and the Northern Pacific, all went bankrupt.

    The only railroad which was able to stay profitable and stay in business was the privately built Great Northern Railway by James Hill.

    So how would this work in practicality?

    So does the private firm approach the state, offer to buy land and build the road which will generate money via tolls?

    Do they approach the state with their bid, which is essentially what happens now with government involvement.

    Would they compete via other private roads built along the same route or existing government roads?

    I'm asking sincerely because I want to be able to respond in an "intelligent" manner to these "muh roads" jagoffs.
    "An idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government" - Ron Paul.



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  3. #2
    gasoline fees pay for most of the road work.

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by kfarnan View Post
    gasoline fees pay for most of the road work.
    They used too, not anymore. Now they go in the general fund and go out in government retirement pay.

  5. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by ATruepatriot View Post
    They used too, not anymore. Now they go in the general fund and go out in government retirement pay.
    Then they increase the gas tax to "really pay for the roads this time"
    A savage barbaric tribal society where thugs parade the streets and illegally assault and murder innocent civilians, yeah that is the alternative to having police. Oh wait, that is the police

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  6. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior_of_Freedom View Post
    Then they increase the gas tax to "really pay for the roads this time"
    It is definitely getting old... They have cried wolf too many times now.

  7. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Warrior_of_Freedom View Post
    Then they increase the gas tax to "really pay for the roads this time"
    In 2016, Illinois voters got to vote on a referendum for a gas tax "lock box."

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by unknown View Post
    Of the 4 railroads that were built at the time, the 3 that were "built by government": Union Pacific, Central Pacific and the Northern Pacific, all went bankrupt.

    The only railroad which was able to stay profitable and stay in business was the privately built Great Northern Railway by James Hill.
    Well, I'm a libertarian, not an ancap. So I haven't developed any of the particular arguments you're after. But I can help you discuss intelligently in one way. Your facts aren't straight.

    There were more than four railroads built 'during that period'. Lots and lots more. The second transcontinental route was a meeting of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific at Deming, New Mexico. It didn't amount to anything, because those roads were intent on competing with each other. But I thought I'd mention it, since neither railroad was on your list.

    'Built by the government' is a loaded term, and you're clearly fuzzy on the details. When the land grants were passed, the government was rebuilding railroads constantly. There was a huge entity called the U.S. Military Rail Road, and since the technology enabled much, much, much quicker troop movement and longer supply lines than ever before, many of the battles were over rail junctions. In fact, the thing that made Sherman's March different was he didn't build or guard any railway. He supplied his forces by pillaging everyone along his path. But little railway was built west of the Mississippi during the war, and none of that was built by the USMRR.

    The government financed only the Union Pacific and Central Pacific after the war. That was a major boondoggle and a huge scandal. Read up on Credit Mobiliér.

    There were many railroad land grants passed during the war. The Northern Pacific, Southern Pacific, Santa Fe, Atlantic and Pacific, Kansas Pacific, St. Louis-San Francisco, Texas and Pacific, and others (not the Great Northern) got land grants. If the road built to a certain spot by a certain time, it got title to the narrow strip of land it was on, and a 'checkerboard pattern' of adjacent lands. The government kept the other half of those nearby tracts, and sold them itself. It was totally worthwhile for the government to give half of this land to the roads, because access to them was access to suppliers and customers far away for prospective farmers. So, those farmers were willing to pay some odd five times as much for that land. If you could give half of an asset away and quintuple the value if the half you keep, would you do it and more than double the money you make selling it? The government did exactly nothing else to finance those roads. Those roads paid for those lands they got many times over hauling for the government at a discount for the next eighty years--all the way through World War II.

    That said, the model is only so useful. Passengers and shippers do not drive their own vehicles on railroads. Also, the highway system is there, established, and in use. Almost all new roads being built today are streets in new neighborhoods (which are very often built by developers and given to the towns they're in, along with the water pipes and sewer lines) and outer ring expressways (which are often toll roads). Would those toll roads look better in private hands? I think so, even though I usually abhor government use of eminent domain for private projects. But I don't see the building of the railroads being a good source of material to argue that, unless it's limited to comparing the efficiency and public service of the Great Northern-type projects and the land grant roads to the abject and relentless corruption of Credit Mobiliér.
    Last edited by acptulsa; 04-16-2019 at 09:17 AM.
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