Privatization - Commentary
Private Funding an Important Option for Missouri Highways Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Thursday, December 04, 2008

A new Show-Me Institute study considers the benefits of private financing for highway construction and maintenance, and outlines how variable toll rates can lead to lower road congestion during peak usage periods. Considering alternative financing for new highways and bridges is crucial as MoDOT faces a coming budget shortfall.

Metro Transit Funding Raises Difficult Questions Print E-mail
By Phil Eckelkamp   
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In November, Saint Louis–area voters will choose whether to increase transit sales taxes. Metro officials worry that raising fares would lead to significantly decreased ridership, but high fuel prices may counteract that trend. What’s the best method for funding crucial transit services — low, widespread taxes, or higher user fees?

Light-Rail Systems Are a False Promise Print E-mail
By Randal O'Toole   
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Light rail transit is expensive to build, operate, and maintain, requiring regular infusions of new taxpayer financing as construction costs escalate and system components wear down and need to be replaced. Rapid-transit bus routes are more flexible and can provide better, faster, safer transit than light rail at a far lower cost.

Tolling a Valuable Option for Missouri's Transportation System Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Missourians should consider the benefits of tolling and public-private partnerships for the state’s transportation infrastructure: up-front financing, quicker turnaround for some projects, and the assurance that those who actually use a new facility will help to pay for it — leading to fewer incentives to hike traditional gas tax funds.

Overturning Light Rail a Good Decision for Kansas City Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The tremendous drawbacks of the light-rail plan approved by Kansas City voters required intervention by the City Council. Now, as officials attempt to balance competing transit goals, they should consider non-rail alternatives like additional bus–rapid transit lines and allowing private contractors to bid on the right to operate bus routes.

Should Kirkwood Sell Its Municipal Utilities? Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Monday, October 22, 2007

Kirkwood is the only municipality within Saint Louis County that continues to operate its own municipal utilities. Would the citizens of Kirkwood benefit if Kirkwood sold its utilities to AmerenUE and Missouri-American Water Company?

In Praise of MoDOT Print E-mail
By David Stokes   
Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Missouri Department of Transportation is using new ideas and innovations to deliver quality transportation to the residents of Missouri. MoDOT deserves a great deal of credit for changing the manner in which it works for Missouri and for its creative thinking in how to address the state’s transportation needs.

New Bridge Might Not Ease Rush Hour Congestion Print E-mail
By Rik W. Hafer   
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Proposals for a new bridge connecting Missouri and Illinois focus on supply when the real problem is demand. By efficiently pricing the use of scarce road space, driving during peak times will drop to manageable levels — without significant taxpayer expense.

Missouri's Cable Franchise Laws Harm Missouri's Consumers Print E-mail
Monday, March 05, 2007

As time marches on, the pace of technological advancement marches along with it: the hand-written letter becomes an email, the horse and buggy becomes the automobile, and the pen and paper become the word processor. These advancements are mirrored in the media services industry by the ability to use iPods and cell phones to access programs once available solely through the home television set. Though the options for accessing media services outside the home have increased dramatically, the cable television market has remained largely stagnant. This stagnation results from current policies limiting competition amongst cable providers. Changing these policies will benefit consumers in the form of lower prices and better service.

Missouri Should Open Cable TV Market to Competition Print E-mail
By Sarah Brodsky   
Friday, January 26, 2007

A few decades ago, cable TV looked like a monopoly that was here to stay. Missouri passed cable franchise laws, which require cable companies to go through a time-consuming process to obtain permission to operate from local governments. One rationale was that franchise laws would protect consumers, but now that new technologies have sprung up that offer alternatives to cable, those outdated laws actually keep potential competitors out of the market. Missouri should pass cable franchise reform so consumers can enjoy lower prices and better service.

Cable Consumers Deserve Choices Print E-mail
By Timothy B. Lee   
Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Missouri’s cable franchise law restricts competition and leaves consumers with few choices. Since the Texas legislature passed cable franchise reform, Texas consumers have benefited from better service and lower prices. Missouri should enact similar legislation to attract investment and increase competition.

'A La Carte' Cable: Bad Economics, Bad for Consumers Print E-mail
By Timothy B. Lee   
Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Some activists are demanding that the government force the cable industry to offer its television channels “a la carte.” That may sound good in theory, but in practice it’s a bad deal for consumers. Customers’ bills aren’t likely to go down very much, but they’ll get a lot fewer channels for their money.

Telecom Policy is Stuck in the 20th Century Print E-mail
By Timothy B. Lee   
Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Municipalities currently have the power to regulate cable TV service in their community through the use of franchise agreements. Increasing competition has made that system unnecessary, and, ironically, it has become a major impediment to competition. Missouri should follow the lead of Texas and replace it with a streamlined, state-wide franchise system.

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