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Focus on Finance, Autumn 2006

From the President

In the popular American film “Field of Dreams,” the main character hears a voice uttering sayings such as, “If you build it, they will come.” He spends much of the movie trying to decipher these cryptic messages. We understand what this message means for us. We understand that when you build needed roads they attract people and commerce. But we also understand that to build it you must also fund it.This is why it is encouraging to see governments and investors around the world grow in their appreciation of infrastructure as an asset class. And they are also turning more and more to user financing as a way to pay for needed roads. In March of this year, we held a Transportation Improvement Forum that taught us important lessons about funding our vital transportation systems. The articles in this issue of Tollways reinforce many of these lessons.  Here they are (1) Direct user fees – including tolls, congestion charging and road use metering – hold enormous promise for fi lling the road funding gap; (2) because both public and private entities have a stake in guiding transportation investments, commercialization of the transportation network is one option to leverage the “public service” features of governmental entities and the “profi t and effi ciency motives” of commercial enterprises; (3) freight movements are central to surface transportation planning because freight volumes are increasing all over the world.  I hope you enjoy the articles in this issue as much as I do. “If you fund it, you can build it.”
--Santiago Corral

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