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Whomever wrote this editorial on privatizing roads doesn't know what he is talking about. In arguing his point that promoting private investment on transportation in exchange for toll concessions, he gives the following example:

And perhaps one of the best-known examples is the Dulles Toll Road in Virginia, between the Washington Beltway and Dulles International Airport. It was bought from the Virginia Department of Transportation for more than $1 billion by a toll-road operator based in Italy.


No it wasn't. To unpack the confusion, the Dulles Toll Road -- which runs from the Capital Beltway near McLean to Dulles International Airport basically on the sides of the free to use Dulles Airport Access Road -- is still owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation. There was an unsolicited bid made by an international toller through Virginia's Public Private Transportation Act, basically seizing on the fact that the state was having trouble raising money for an extension of the Washington Metro subway system to Dulles Airport. This opened up a process where additional bids could be accepted from other companies. This process was shut down shortly after the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority -- operators of Dulles, as well as Washington National Airport -- claimed domain over the land which the toll road was built on, and submitted their own proposal to operate the toll road and direct the revenue from the tolls to construction of the subway line. At no point was a sale ever finalized.

Could they have meant the Dulles Greenway, the extension of the toll road from the airport to Leesburg? Maybe, but that extension was never owned by VDOT. It was built through private investment, and is now owned by Macquarie Infrastructure of Australia.