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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Private Provision of Frontier Infrastructure: Toll Roads in California, 1850-1902

  • Author(s): Klein, Daniel B.
  • Yin, Chi
  • et al.

With county and state government unable to effect road improvement, California lawmakers immediately opened the field to private initiative. At least 159 private companies successfully built and operated toll roads in California. Compared to earlier toll roads in the eastern U.S., the California roads were concentrated in ownership and more profit-oriented in operation. Even so, the quest for mere road improvement was often also an important impetus for taking toll road stock. Voluntary association assumed the corporate form to achieve its several goals.

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