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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Private Toll Roads: Learning From the Nineteenth Century


Modern experimentation with privately built and operated toll roads has an enormous precedent in 19th century America. Over 2,000 private companies operated toll roads, financed mainly by voluntary stock subscription. The paper describes the old movement and makes a point by-point comparison between the old toll roads and the modern toll roads. Proponents of modern toll road can benefit from a knowledge of their predecessors' experience with regulation, concessions based on equity, and the role of local communities in deciding the fate of projects.

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