Nader Focuses on the Big Issues: The Pennsylvania Turnpike

From the Nader Campaign:

Nader Calls Pennsylvania Turnpike Deal a Giveaway to Foreign Corporations, Big Banks

Presidential candidate Ralph Nader said today that the proposed corporatization of the Pennsylvania Turnpike is an unconscionable “long-term giveaway to big banks and foreign corporations.”

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell announced that a group led by Spanish infrastructure operator Abertis Infraestructuras SA and Citigroup Inc. had won bidding for the 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with a cash offer of $12.8 billion.

Nader supporters will campaign throughout Pennsylvania to defeat the 75-year surrender of this public asset paid for by millions of Pennsylvanians.

“The public paid for the turnpike,” Nader said. “The public should maintain operational control. The turnpike is a commonwealth asset for motorists and workers.”

“Governor Rendell’s proposed deal is a license to print money for the big banks and foreign investors,” Nader said. “It undercuts President Eisenhower’s dream for a national transportation infrastructure – publicly built and publicly controlled for public accountability and national defense. We cannot maintain a national highway network if key segments are leased to the highest bidder. Pennsylvania is taking a minuscule up-front payment in return for a large downstream private profit over three-quarters of a century (until 2083) to a foreign company which is being handed a captive customer base.”

“This is the kind of deal that European imperialists used to impose on countries of the third world in past centuries. These days, $12.8 billion produces very little compared to the value of this commonwealth asset over 75 years. Just one bridge upgrade project in Washington, DC has just cost $2.5 billion. The Governor is proposing selling off a key public asset for short term gain. It’s a bad deal and the legislature should defeat it. There are far more details to be disclosed.”

Nader has been a persistent critic of the corporatization of the nation’s highways.

In February 2007, Nader wrote a letter to Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels criticizing his proposal to lease the 175-mile Indiana toll road to foreign corporations.

17 Responses to “Nader Focuses on the Big Issues: The Pennsylvania Turnpike”

  1. Kenny Says:

    Nationalist and socialist bigotry at its worst!

  2. Green in Brooklyn Says:

    Kenny:

    Right, because our highways being own by the PA state Government, which has a vested interest in the wellbeing of the infrastructure of its roads and the safety of its citizens, is so much worse than being owned by a corporation, whether local or foreign owned who has no incentive for either, rather the bottom line?

    I’d call your response knee-jerk corporate elitism.

  3. JT Says:

    Is the title of this post supposed to be a joke? How is this a “big issue” in a national race? It’s an issue for a candidate for PA governor.

  4. dodsworth Says:

    Nader’s claim that the “public” paid for it is dubious. I’ll bet dollars to donuts that back in the nineteenth century the turnpike was originally private.

  5. Ross Says:

    Do I sense sarcasm in that title?

    Nader’s a consumer advocate, first and foremost, people. And this isn’t just an issue in Pennsylvania – highways are controversially being privatized (now, I’m not sure if I’m for or against it because I don’t know enough about it) all over the country. And highways are a huge part of American life. An essential part of our economy is largely based on them – transportation.

    dodsworth – I really don’t think the PA Turnpike existed before the government built it. And the taxpayers pay to maintain it nowadays, even if it once was private.

  6. Jonathan Says:

    Nader is right again

  7. Lance Brown Says:

    I’m no Nader fan, but I think posting his media release with a sarcastic dig in the post’s title is bad journalism. This is either a media release from the Nader campaign, or it’s a TPW editorial. It shouldn’t be both.

  8. Ross Says:

    Here’s something TPW could post (since the last thing I sent to tips didn’t get posted):

    http://www.gravel2008.us/content/mike-gravel-best-anti-war-candidate

  9. End the Empire Says:

    The move of local and state governments to sale off to “foreign interests” IS a national issue. In some cases water has been sold by local govs and in a short amount of time the price has quadrupiled to the consumer. I saw a show where water was privatized somewhere in central america and it is now illegal to collect rainwater! That my friends is inhuman, to treat the peasants in such a manner.

    This is where I part company with libertarians, if the roads are privatized in which the owner can restrict travel, the poor (elderly, handicapped & yes just plain lazy ones)would suffer and in some cases would be totally stopped from travel, if they couldn’t pay the price. Roads must remain open for all people to freely move to and from food, jobs,hospitals and even entertainment, etc.

  10. End the Empire Says:

    Ross that would be a good post…
    http://www.gravel2008.us/content/mike-gravel-best-anti-war-candidate

    Why can’t the U.S. citizens (and DUNGdero and associates) listen to the founders when they WERE CORRECT ?!

    James Madison wrote: “If tyranny and oppression come to this land it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” And: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

  11. Kenny Says:

    Ross, it seems that TPW is now part of the Reform Caucus-Barr campaign.

  12. Laine Says:

    I applaud Mr. Nader for criticizing this sell out and eventual give away to foreign corporations. I can only hope that the voters of PA realize what sort of an issue further privitzation of our public services can be.

  13. David from Texas Says:

    this is one of those few times I will agree with Nader. From a conservative prospective I see this as a money grab by liberal politico’s (like our gov. Perry here in Texas) They sell off the assets so they can continue their big spending ways with out raising taxes – they will be long out of office before the down side hits the fan. To the scoffers this is a national issue this type of activity is being attempted in many states. To the libertarians on this site if you can build a road without using the power of the state to subsidize the financing or using eminate domain to obtain the property then I will go along with the arguement for privitization of that road.

  14. Catholic Trotskyist Says:

    And God said, “HEAR O ISRAEL O MY PEOPLE, MAY MY CURSE BE UPON THE FASCIST/STALINIST CRIMINAL RALPH NADER, AND GLORY UNTO THE OBAMA REVOLUTION.”

    I’d also like to request everyone to pray for our MOST HOLY CATHOLIC TROTSKYIST REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL AND OBAMA STALWART, EDWARD MOORE KENNEDY (AKA TED KENNEDY) FOR A SPEEDY RECOVERY FROM HIS ILLNESS, AND THAT HE MAY COME TO SUPPORT THE FRINGE ALLIANCE STRATEGY.

    Here is the Fringe Alliance Strategy so you libertarian delegates can pass it along to the party convention, while you are praying for Ted Kennedy. I have developed a strategy based on an alliance between the Green, libertarian
    and constitution parties, the various socialist movements and centrist independents, Kucinich Democrats, Ron Paul Republicans, and other smaller groups such as fascists, feudalists, monarchists and syndicalists, to initiate the following goals.

    1. The electoral college is abolished.
    2. The presidential election uses a national Majority Runoff system. This will change us from a republic to a democracy.
    3. Congress is elected through proportional representation.

    Third parties should spend most of their energies pushing for these constitutional amendments, using graphic protests in public locations. Otherwise, the
    efforts of all of them are doomed to do nothing more than push the major parties slightly in one direction, and ruin the chances of the parties that their
    candidates are most closely aligned with, while gaining such small failing numbers for themselves. The people who visit this site are by definitions on
    the fringes of society. It is important for the fringe to get together. This strategy is gaining the support of many political scientists across the nation,
    and I will continue to post it several times a week here until it is adopted. Fortunately, we have the Obama Revolution to save our country for now.
    The revolution will be televised.
    Please pray for the pope and please pray for Barack Obama. Amen.

  15. Craig Says:

    Selling off state government “owned” roads to foreign (or local) corporations IS a big issue, and it’s bigger than just the Pennsylvania Turnpike. It’s also a libertarian philosophy issue—is a state-granted corporate monopoly better or worse than continuing state control? Is operating the highways a legitimate function of government? If not, how high on the priority list should privatization be?

    All that being said, this is a third party blog, not the Associated Press. We expect a little sarcasm, bias, and humor now and then, and the comments are available to complain when we think they are out of place.

  16. Ross Says:

    I think that thing about Gravel pointed out one of his best qualities – he is a courageous man that will not fold under pressure. He IS a principled man. Look at the work he did in the 70s to fight the Vietnam War and the draft. Look at how he had the brass ones to stand up to Clinton in the debates – he is the one that knocked her from her pedestal by calling her out on her Iran vote. That’s the difference between Gravel and Barr (aside from, of course, the National Initiative): Barr tends to sway with the political winds, while Gravel stands for what is right and what is just, and he acts on his beliefs.

  17. Matt Says:

    Though I don’t agree with everything Catholic Trotskyist said. I think the first step, and an essential step, for your issues is to advocate for lower petition requirements for making it onto the ballot in the first place. lower threshold = possibility for more candidates in more races = stronger voice for change.

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