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What European privat highways are you refering too. Most highways I know are build by the state, though there are some in France, however I am not sure that despite having to paye a fee on part of them that they are private.
by Fran (fran at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:51:08 PM EST
French highways are indeed about to be privatised or were already. I heard similar proposals for Germany and Spain within the EU-15. In the new member states, there was much more 'experimenting' with this.

Thinking of it, I may collect some stuff on the Hungarian experience - tough I could do that in one word: disaster.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:53:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In a little more detail: mostly during the first elected government's time, some highway projects were written out in a build-and-operate contract for private consortia. (I note French companies were very active in this.) The result was highways that

  • were built low-quality (bumps and freezing damage forming quickly, cracking bridges),
  • had toll policies aimed at the more well-off,
  • ...but were so expensive (by local standards) that even the more well-off were dismayed,
  • hence, even much of the traffic that previously used the previously built sections of those highways chose the parallel country roads,
  • also hence, the operation of these consortia was deficitary.

This mess led in the end to big state bailouts/buyouts. (Rather than raised spending on railways. Of couse you all know that I'd preferred no highways built at all...)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 04:15:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French highways are indeed being privatised right now (see my post below). The State and the banks are rubbing their hand. The former hopes for big money to ease the budget deficit dilemma, the latter are definitely going to make big money out of loans to potential buyers lacking deep-pockets.

On one big motorway, APRR, the French are even going to have a private foreign owner on board, Macquarie, the first private airport operator worldwide, who has also acquired Chicago Skyway (real toll road) at the end of last year.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill

by Agnes a Paris on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 08:58:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The M5 motorway is reported to operate well though (has already been refinanced) and the M6 tender is underway.

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 09:01:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
French highways are operated by Cofiroute, and has been some time. My French isn't good enough to divine the precise ownership details, but here is their US subsidiary - definitely private sector.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 03:59:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not changing your main point, I note that state companies can have 'private' subsidiaries in other countries, too. For example, SNCF had its hands in German private railways (tough this example is now history IIRC).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Wed Jan 18th, 2006 at 04:06:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
French highways are operated by half a dozen companies, all but one which were public until recently (Cofiroute was the only private one) - and all were financed using a very specific mechanism with a centralised fund.

Two things changed in recent years:

  • EU rules forced new highways to be funded on a stand alone basis (in the past, the traditional method was to finance new - lower profitability, because of the lower traffic - highways by extending concessions on older - more profitable - highways. This unduly faviored the existing operators;

  • several of the existing operators have now been partly privatised. They are still heavily regulated by the State (and parties to these long term financing arrangements), but no longer publicly owned.


In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 04:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The M6 relief road in the UK is a PFI toll motorway - it parallels a particularly congested bit of the M6 near Birmingham.

Its the only one at present, but could be a marker for future road projects if deemed successful.

Regards
Luke

-- #include witty_sig.h

by silburnl on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 08:19:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fran, please see my post below. I hope it provides some background.  

When through hell, just keep going. W. Churchill
by Agnes a Paris on Thu Jan 19th, 2006 at 09:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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