Investors Push NAFTA Super-Highways
By Jerome R. Corsi
Critics have recently argued that plans to form
NAFTA Super-Highways in the United States were largely "urban legend," or
just pure "hype." These same critics note that many state departments of
transportation are strapped for cash, and that states North of Texas have
no current plans to build super-highways, extending the Trans-Texas
Corridor (TTC) North to Canada.
Currently, no state except Texas, has plans to build TTC-like highways,
with designs to build transportation corridors up to four football
fields-wide that integrate highway toll roads, railroad transportation,
and utility zones for oil and natural gas pipelines, alongside towers to
transmit electricity to businesses and homes along the route. Moreover,
most state treasuries are already strapped just to maintain existing
highways. A study by the National Chamber Foundation of the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce concluded that even the Highway Trust Fund will have a zero
cash balance in 2008, unless gasoline taxes are raised. Yet, key players,
including the investment bankers and the worldwide capital investment
funds, have a plan to address these fiscal shortcomings with their own
resources. On April 30, 1992, President George H.W. Bush signed Executive
Order No. 12803 on infrastructure privatization, a move that cleared the
way for private capital to invest in U.S. infrastructure projects,
including highways. As noted by C. Kenneth Orski, editor and publisher of
the transportation industry publication Innovation Briefs, the
model has been established in Europe.
In Europe, virtually all major toll road authorities have been
privatized. Italy's state-owned toll authority, Autostrade SpA, was sold
to private investors in the late 1990s (and will soon be merged with
Spain's Abertis, creating a vast 6,700 km (4,200 mile) network of private
toll roads throughout Western Europe). In France, the three largest toll
enterprises in which the government had retained controlling interest,
Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhone (APRR); Societe du Nord et de l'Est de la
France (SANEF, operator of the Autoroute du Nord and Autoroute de l'Est);
and Autoroutes du Sud de la France (ASF, operator of the Autoroute du
Sud), were put up for sale in late 2005; their privatization is currently
in process of being completed. By the end of the year, 8,175 km (5,109
miles) of France's toll roads will be in private hands, according to the
French toll road association, AFSA. In Spain and Portugal, all major toll
roads are, likewise, in private hands.
Capital groups such as Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructures de
Transport in Spain, and the Macquarie Infrastructure Group and Transurban
in Australia, are positioned to make substantial investments in the
build-out of NAFTA Super-Highways along I-35 extending north from Texas,
as well as in the various NAFTA corridors identified throughout the United
With the trillions in infrastructure investment dollars needed to build
the next generation of super-highways in the United States, especially
under the emerging North American Union structure, investment bankers, and
those who run capital investment funds, stand to make hundreds of
millions, probably even billions, in fees. This alone is enough to drive
forward the NAFTA Super-Highway movement, and to make sure politicians
willing to support the movement have ample funds with which to run their
campaigns and live their lives comfortably.
The Trans-Texas Corridor (TTC) can be seen as the "test case." The
investment world is carefully watching, anticipating that the Texas
Department of Transportation will succeed with Cintra in constructing what
is called TTC-35 along I-35 from Laredo at the Southern border, to the
Northern border heading toward Oklahoma City. Final hearings are being
held by the TxDOT in July and August, and final federal approval is
anticipated by the summer of 2007. The TxDOT plans to sign final contracts
immediately thereafter, and begin construction. Already, investment
bankers and international capital groups are in discussion with state
officials throughout the United States, with the intention of replicating
the TTC design in the build-out of a NAFTA Super-Highway network
throughout the United States.
I have previously written that the plan behind building the TTC is
disclosed on the Kansas City SmartPort website. The goal is to open ports
in Mexico, such as Lazaro Cardenas, which can receive containers with
goods manufactured by cheap labor in China and the Far East, to be
transported into the heart of America by using Mexican trucks and NAFTA
railroads originating in Mexico.
A key feature of the plan is to bypass and undercut U.S. labor unions,
including the Longshoremen's Union, the railroad United Transportation
Union, and the Teamsters. This is more than a Bush Administration
globalist plan to advance open borders and open skies, in the name of free
trade. Across the NAFTA Super-Highways will flow millions more Mexicans,
now armed with North American border passes and biometric identification,
as defined by the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America
working groups organized within the Department of Commerce.
There's no objection to the infusion of international private capital
into the nation's highway infrastructure per se. With the large
trade and budget deficits that we have experienced under President Bush's
leadership, an unprecedented amount of dollar foreign exchange currency is
held by nations including China and Japan, as well as by Middle Eastern
oil-producing countries, including the UAE. For some of that dollar
foreign exchange currency to return to the U.S. through international
infrastructure investment, may well be desirable.
In 2005, a Cintra-Macquarie consortium successfully negotiated a deal
to lease the Chicago Skyway for 99 years, a deal worth $1.8 billion to the
city of Chicago. Just this week, the Cintra-Macquarie consortium moved to
conclude the transaction to lease the Indiana Toll Road, in a deal worth
$3.8 billion to the state.
Ken Blackwell, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in Ohio, has
proposed leasing the Ohio Turnpike, with the plan to invest a substantial
portion of the proceeds into a development fund that would be utilized in
conjunction with banks in the state to promote business development and
home ownership in Ohio's poverty areas. The "Blackwell Initiative"
involves constructing no new roads, and the envisioned lease would cap
increases the leasing operator could place on toll charges. The plan is
aimed, ultimately, at lowering Ohio's high state taxes, providing an
anticipated stimulus to much needed business development within the state.
The Ohio Turnpike, even under a lease, is not planned to connect into
Canada or Mexico directly, except through the existing network of
interstate highways and established border crossing points.
What is objectionable is the plan to form a European Union-style North
American Super-Highway system whose primary goal is to establish
trilateral links for the open passage of freight transportation, and the
virtually unrestrained "migration" of people among the three countries.
Building NAFTA Super-Highways that effectively erase the U.S. borders with
Mexico and Canada is a concern, especially if the NAFTA Super-Highways
contribute to accomplishing in a de facto manner, the integration
of the United States into a North American Union, thereby threatening the
currently established sovereignty of the United States.
What is needed is a robust and honest discussion of these important
issues, with the American people fully involved and engaged in the debate.
To date, President Bush has remained largely silent on the extent and true
nature of his plans to create a North American Union, that can openly be
navigated via NAFTA Super-Highways. If the Bush Administration's plan is
to create the North American Union and the NAFTA Super-Highways
incrementally - through technical actions taken within the confines of
executive branch meetings - that process of implementation will be
inconsistent with the processes of Constitutional democracy we currently
believe we enjoy in the United States.
It's up to Bush to come forward and present honestly his plans
regarding these critical issues of our nation's future so the American
people can enter a properly informed debate.
Mr. Corsi is the author of several books, including
"Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry"
(along with John O'Neill), "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity
and the Politics of Oil" (along with Craig R. Smith), and "Atomic Iran:
How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians." He is
a frequent guest on the G. Gordon Liddy radio show. He will soon co-author
a new book with Jim Gilchrist on the Minuteman Project. Corsi is the
co-author of a book with Ken Blackwell called "Rebuilding
Original article: Freedom.org
Fair Use Notice