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Need to Restructure Road Management

When the process of reinventing government started in the early 1980s, it started with the "easiest" infrastructure sectors - telecommunications, power and water. Roads were considered more difficult. They were thought of as public goods, were administered within each country by a large number of separate road agencies, and their management remained bureaucratic and somewhat "old fashioned." Although there was an urgent need for reform (PDF 75 KB), the pace of reform remained slow, as governments struggled to develop new institutional structures to manage and finance their road networks. However, the continuing rapid growth of motorization, the associated growth of road networks (resulting in asset values that put major road agencies in the same league as the Fortune 500 Global Companies), the large demands these road networks placed on the government's budget, and the acute shortage of fiscal revenues worldwide, have led to a growing consensus that roads do not need to be managed and financed in the same way that governments manage and finance their health and education sectors. They are perfectly capable of standing on their own feet. They should be commercialized and systematically subjected to the discipline of the market place - "bring roads into the market place, put them on a fee-for-service basis, and manage them like a business." A checklist can be used (PDF 257 KB) to examine the performance of each road agency to see how well they compare with the commercialized road agency model.

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