tbar220
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Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 10:48 am

Source: AP via Yahoo! News

Foreign companies buy U.S. roads, bridges
By LESLIE MILLER, Associated Press Writer
Mon Jul 17, 7:59 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Roads and bridges built by U.S. taxpayers are starting to be sold off, and so far foreign-owned companies are doing the buying.

On a single day in June, an Australian-Spanish partnership paid $3.8 billion to lease the Indiana Toll Road. An Australian company bought a 99-year lease on Virginia's Pocahontas Parkway, and Texas officials decided to let a Spanish-American partnership build and run a toll road from Austin to Seguin for 50 years.

Few people know that the tolls from the U.S. side of the tunnel between Detroit and Windsor, Canada, go to a subsidiary of an Australian company — which also owns a bridge in Alabama.

Some experts welcome the trend. Robert Poole, transportation director for the conservative think tank Reason Foundation, said private investors can raise more money than politicians to build new roads because these kind of owners are willing to raise tolls.

"They depoliticize the tolling decision," Poole said. Besides, he said, foreign companies have purchased infrastructure in Europe for years; only now are U.S. companies beginning to get into the business of buying roads and bridges.

Gas taxes and user fees have fueled the expansion of the nation's highway system. Thousands of miles of roads built since the 1950s changed the landscape, accelerating the growth of suburbia and creating a reliance on motor vehicles to move freight, get to work and take vacations.


***

So what do you think?

I for starters am disgusted by the fact that the infrastructure of this country, paid for by taxes of Americans, is being sold off to foreign companies. This cannot be good for the American taxpayer, as example after example shows that the price of using these roads and tollways goes up and these foreign companies are making money off our hard earned dollars on our own soil. Something seems fundamentally wrong to me here.

The REAL issue I have is that we are so damned far in debt that our state and federal governments find this practice acceptable. This further strengthens my belief that fighting two wars at once and not being able to spend money on our own damned country is sending it down the drain. Its bankrupting our economy and leaving the staggering, unimaginable debt for our children to deal with.

And the worst of it is, we're no longer what's defined as a modern industrial nation. We now have a higher level of imported finished goods than exported domestic goods. We are now exporting more raw materials to help us pay for all the imported goods (many of which are honestly just crap). Labor is suffering under "free trade" agreements, and instead we just give tax cuts during wartime. This doesn't sound fundamentally sound economically.

So how pray tell, do we get back on track?

- How can I say, "I think we need to get out of Iraq and start spending the billions of dollars going there instead on the United States", without being called un-American or unpatriotic?
- How can I say, "I think we need to cut our military spending and start spending it on this country's infrastructure, education, healthcare, strong labor, and the environment" without being told "You're weak because you don't support a large military"?
- When will we start making decisions for this country that are for the long term? i.e. Stop borrowing from the Social Security trust fund to pay for war, start demanding alternative energies, start developing a strong labor market and environment so that we're not continually outsourcing jobs

When can we say, enough is enough, lets start worrying about our own damned people? The middle class instead of the few elite super rich? Isn't that what our country stands for, the good of the common man, the good of the people?

Remember what the declaration of independence said:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, and that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." (from memory at best)

Life? We have a minimum wage which has not kept standard with inflation and is FAR below what economists consider living wage.

Liberty? How can we claim to be free, how can we even enjoy the freedom that this country gives us, if we are being poisoned by the environment, if we don't have a job, if we can't pay for healthcare, if we struggle to get food on the table?

Pursuit of happiness? See above.

You can call this a rant, you can call it whatever you want. But I think the article I posted is a perfect example of something that is fundamentally wrong with our country right now. I'm not blaming Bush, hell this has gone as far back as Kennedy and LBJ and the Vietnam war. We tried to spend, spend, spend while fighting a war or expanding the military. And who suffers?

The common, American, citizen.

When will we say enough is enough?
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VHVXB
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:07 am

Quoting Tbar220 (Thread starter):
So what do you think?

There is quite a bit of this in Australia companies purchasing vital infrastructure and I think its one way some govt get rid of their debt. Macquaire Bank is a perfect example. The own Sydney Airport which was owned by the federal govt and you the feel the effect when you go there with large parking fee for the amount time you stay there. The own the major tollways in Sydney the M5 in particular charging $3.30 for one trip and over 115000 people using it one way. These just few that I know of here in Sydney but there is are alot more.

Tbar are there any other vital Infrastructure that US taxpayer have paid for and have been bought by foreign companies that you know of??
 
tbar220
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:11 am

Quoting VHVXB (Reply 1):
There is quite a bit of this in Australia companies purchasing vital infrastructure and I think its one way some govt get rid of their debt.

Yea, but the way I see it doesn't reduce the debt because while you may have paid off some of it in "cash" or "currency", you lose the same amount in national or state assets, in this case the roadsystem.

And the citizen who funded these projects with taxdollars ends up losing.
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VHVXB
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:29 am

Quoting Tbar220 (Reply 2):
Yea, but the way I see it doesn't reduce the debt because while you may have paid off some of it in "cash" or "currency", you lose the same amount in national or state assets, in this case the roadsystem.

And the citizen who funded these projects with taxdollars ends up losing.

I guess in America the road is the life line to the poeple.

Well the state govt. does that here. They plan to build roads and gets private companies to build them who then own them. Some citizens do mind but they do get pissed off when the companies charge large amount on the toll fee to use the road. I mean $3.56 is large amount to pay for a 2 min trip and on top of that the companies don't maintain the roads properly
 
sprout5199
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:30 am

Quoting Tbar220 (Reply 2):
Yea, but the way I see it doesn't reduce the debt because while you may have paid off some of it in "cash" or "currency", you lose the same amount in national or state assets, in this case the roadsystem.

And the citizen who funded these projects with taxdollars ends up losing.

And if we default will they come and take it away? Or not let people use it? And what if the govt wants it back? Eminent Domain ring a bell? Would it be any better if Wal-mart bought it? If the tolls are too high, nobody would use it. If a company can make a profit(and keep it safe), than more power to them. I know of a few times a private companys have done things better and cheaper than govts. Sometimes you have to look out of the box.


Dan in Jupiter
 
tbar220
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:43 am

Sprout,

I feel like these things paid for by the hard earned dollars of the American citizen and paid for by our tax dollars should be owned by us! We pay for the upgrades, for the construction, for the maintenance, etc. Now we don't even own them? It doesn't seem right to me.
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Falcon84
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 11:51 am

We're losing much of our ability to determine our own future by selling our country to foreign interests. and, unfortunately, we have an administration that heartily approves of this selling off of the U.S.

I'm absolutely against letting foreign companies get a larger share of U.S. airlines, as it's just another way American control over American companies and American infrastructure. We'll regret it one day when we don't own anything in this nation.

By the way, before the righties start bitching, I am NOT blaming Mr. Bush for this. I wish he'd put his foot down, and start curbing this selling of America, but this has been going on for a good 25 years now.

It's getting to the point that no one can control these huge multi-national corporations, as they seemingly do what they want.
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halls120
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:24 pm

Quoting Tbar220 (Thread starter):
So what do you think?

What do I think? It's much ado about nothing, that's what.

Quoting Sprout5199 (Reply 4):
And if we default will they come and take it away? Or not let people use it? And what if the govt wants it back? Eminent Domain ring a bell? Would it be any better if Wal-mart bought it? If the tolls are too high, nobody would use it. If a company can make a profit(and keep it safe), than more power to them. I know of a few times a private companys have done things better and cheaper than govts. Sometimes you have to look out of the box.

Agree completely.
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography
 
sprout5199
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:28 pm

Quoting Tbar220 (Reply 5):
I feel like these things paid for by the hard earned dollars of the American citizen and paid for by our tax dollars should be owned by us! We pay for the upgrades, for the construction, for the maintenance, etc. Now we don't even own them? It doesn't seem right to me.

What about ships? The ship I was on(USS FLATLEY FFG-21) was sold to Turkey. I think that if the govt makes a profit, retains the rights(it is a lease) then go for it. I am bothered that an American company did not buy it. But would you be so upset if Wal-mart bought it? what about Chrysler?

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 6):
It's getting to the point that no one can control these huge multi-national corporations, as they seemingly do what they want

And that is a part of globalization, countries dont spread, companies do. Welcome to the new world.

Dan in Jupiter
 
bill142
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 12:54 pm

If you don't like it, rise to power in bring in a foreign ownership cap. You'll quickly discover that by limiting foreign investment your economy will grind to a halt.
 
deltagator
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 1:09 pm

Quoting Tbar220 (Thread starter):
I for starters am disgusted by the fact that the infrastructure of this country, paid for by taxes of Americans, is being sold off to foreign companies.

Here we agree on something. There's hope for one of us (depending on which side you look at it from) yet.

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 6):
We're losing much of our ability to determine our own future by selling our country to foreign interests. and, unfortunately, we have an administration that heartily approves of this selling off of the U.S.

Sad but true.

Quoting Falcon84 (Reply 6):
We'll regret it one day when we don't own anything in this nation.

Welcome to the United States of Eastern Communist China brought to you today by a generous grant from India. While I discount the strength of both of these countries do to political corruptness among many other factors there is still the fact that they are a combined 2 billion people. Given our rate of importing so much stuff one day the bill just may come due.
"If you can't delight in the misery of others then you don't deserve to be a college football fan."
 
Banco
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:25 pm

What's the big deal? American companies buy property and infrastructure abroad as well you know. Britain and the US are each others biggest investors, with companies on both sides buying up companies on the other. Each nation has a relatively open market, permitting such sales, and countries like Australia have exactly the same approach.

Either you're in the free market or you're not. You don't complain at US companies buying up stuff abroad, so stop whingeing when it happens to you.
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Pulkovokiwi
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:31 pm

Here in NZ our railway is Australian owned. Most of our telcos are foreign owned as are a lot of our roading logistics firms. All our sea freight is dependent on overseas lines and the Interisland line is Australian owned. We dont get obsessed about foreign ownership of infrastructure but do about overseas people trying to buy huge tracts of coastal land
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andessmf
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 5:44 pm

Quoting DeltaGator (Reply 10):

Your post reminds me of the danger Japan posed to us in the 80's. What happened? Nothing. There are always concerns about the fate of the US, and this constant concern by Americans over our future its probably what causes the US as a whole to adjust to rapidly changing conditions.

I am always positive for the long-term well being of the US.

Quoting Banco (Reply 11):
What's the big deal? American companies buy property and infrastructure abroad as well you know. Britain and the US are each others biggest investors, with companies on both sides buying up companies on the other. Each nation has a relatively open market, permitting such sales, and countries like Australia have exactly the same approach.

Either you're in the free market or you're not. You don't complain at US companies buying up stuff abroad, so stop whingeing when it happens to you.

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Its like complaining about Walmart and the bitching about higher costs for items.
 
halls120
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RE: Foreign Companies Purchasing U.S. Infrastructure

Tue Jul 18, 2006 8:59 pm

Quoting Banco (Reply 11):
What's the big deal? American companies buy property and infrastructure abroad as well you know. Britain and the US are each others biggest investors, with companies on both sides buying up companies on the other. Each nation has a relatively open market, permitting such sales, and countries like Australia have exactly the same approach.

Either you're in the free market or you're not. You don't complain at US companies buying up stuff abroad, so stop whingeing when it happens to you.

 checkmark 
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself." Mark Twain, a Biography

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