Stumbling in the Dark
The Kirksville Daily Express reports that there are two main reasons why Missouri’s gubernatorial candidates are reluctant to make any transportation proposals:
First, any plan will require money.
This is dead wrong. If we assume that MoDOT has to build and maintain the roads, sure, any plan requires money. But why should we assume that? Another option would be to sell off some of Missouri’s roads to private developers who would be more responsive to market demand. Note that this would generate revenue rather than cost the state money. Although there are state constitutional issues that would need to be resolved before this could happen, it would generate some competition in the road market which, if I recall correctly, has served the computer industry rather well in recent times.
Second, as even the Missouri Department of Transportation notes, there is no consensus on which transportation projects have both the greatest need and public desire much less how to pay for them.
More of the perils of operating without a market system. Someone should read their Hayek. Nobody knows what the public wants because everyone in the road market both state and local governments can fail to meet consumer demand and get away with it. There is no incentive to find out what consumers want, so no one has the relevant information. Real live markets, on the other hand, have handy mechanisms for solving this problem what Hayek called the knowledge problem. Prices convey all of this information in one neat aggregate number … in the absence of government intervention, anyway.
Perhaps reform is needed to get some of the government out of the transportation system so that prices are set free.