Last Exit

Privatization and Deregulation of the U.S. Transportation System

Clifford Winston ,

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Last Exit: Privatization and Deregulation of the U.S. Transportation System

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Although the Obama administration is trying to get the public excited about high-speed trains that travel over 300 mph, most travelers would gladly settle for roads with fewer potholes and flights that depart on time. Whether traveling for work or pleasure, most Americans are frustrated by a variety of problems with their transportation system and disillusioned by public officials who seem incapable or unwilling to enact policies that would improve their travel experiences. Vast economic inefficiencies and a lack of innovation are the legacy of a transportation policy still seeking to find the right balance of public and private provision.In Last Exit, Brookings analyst Clifford Winston reminds us that transportation services and infrastructure in the United States were introduced by private firms and that the case for public takeover of private systems was weak. Accordingly, he assesses the case for privatizing and deregulating the system to greatly increase Americans’ satisfaction with how they and their goods move throughout the country.Winston proposes timely experiments to demonstrate the benefits of privatization as the nation explores ways to relieve its budgetary pressures and to spur innovations that could increase economic growth. At the same time, such experiments may lead to a fundamental transformation of urban, intercity, and international travel.
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