June 18, 2005

They wanted to ban free roads, too

Why should it be illegal for local governments to support broadband. Isn't it universally accepted that regional governments play a role in subsidizing roads, since roads are a basic necessity for a functioning economy?

Believe it or not, the same philosophy that would keep local government out of broadband was also at work in the original version of the big transportation bill that Governor Perry signed last week.

Earlier versions of the bill said that if there is a for-profit toll road in a county, the county is not allowed to build free roads anywhere nearby. Local governments would no longer have the ability to solve traffic problems and create alternate routes.

Thanks to the good work of Rep. Lois Kolkhorst and others, that provision was stripped from the final bill. Apparently, similar measures have become law in other states.

The failed prohibition on public roads, and the failed prohibition on public broadband, seem to come from the same belief system. A good belief in the value of the private sector is taken to a counterproductive extreme.

Posted by alevin at June 18, 2005 07:28 PM