Details for Practical Politics No. 202 - January 2013

Practical Politics No. 202 - January 2013
Name:Practical Politics No. 202 - January 2013

Infrastructure is being widely touted as the way out of this slump. The Government, however, already finds itself struggling to hold down the budget deficit and cut back on public sector spending, and is not looking for ways of disbursing more money right now, even though there are pot holes in the roads and ruts and cracks on the pavements that demand urgent and better-quality attention. Transport offers almost limitless opportunities for the improvement of road, rail, and air facilities. Where the private sector does have the means, it has little incentive to take on risk in the short term. Why is this so? Why is construction languishing? The answer, all too often, is that there is little profit in it. Bridge a water course to connect two communities – where is the income to come from to pay for the work? Tolls are unpopular.
Build or improve a road – who pays? Tolls are unpopular and rarely applied.
Build or improve a railway line – who pays? Probably receipts from the fare box barely cover train operating costs. What is there to entice private companies to rush in and build? If subsidy is the answer, forget it in a time of austerity – and why should subsidy be needed anyway?
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Created On: 02/01/2013 08:44
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Last updated on: 02/04/2013 09:00

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