A Post About Foreign Ownership That Has Nothing to Do With InBev!
Attorney General (and gubanatorial candidate) Jay Nixon was asked at a recent forum about his transportation plans. KY3’s Political Notebook has the clips and coverage. The best thing I heard was when the he stated that toll roads and truck-only lanes are "on the table." I was less pleased to read this (it’s not in the clip, so I’m trusting KY3’s account, here):
Signals that public-private partnerships to manage Missouri roads give him "deep concerns," because of the potential for foreign ownership
. . .Still, Jay Nixon leaves "everything on the table."
Having co-written an entire study of this subject, let me repeat that there is no "ownership" in a public-private partnership. The private partner leases an existing asset, or obtains the right to build and operate a future asset, but does not own it. The people of Missouri, through state government, would always own any infrastructure built or operated under PPPs.
As for the "foreign" part, I can’t fathom why this bothers so many people so much in these cases. It’s just a frickin’ road. (As an aside, I can understand why potential foreign ownership of Anheuser-Busch bothers people.) There are plenty of American campanies that can bid on these projects, and the leading international companies that do this type of transportation PPP are based in Australia and Spain. If we were to decide that we needed to really finish what we started in 1898 and return to war against Spain, like Rome v. Carthage, it’s not as if a Spanish company that built and operated a Missouri bridge could take the bridge and move it back to the Iberian Peninsula. This is foreign investment in America, that could potentially provide new transportation infrastructure only at a cost to people who choose to use the asset, and unlike the AB/InBev situation, no current jobs would be at stake. Why this upsets so many people is beyond me. …