Privatization actually allows for the popular will to be realized.
With government roads, the roads are paid for with a gas tax — paid by everyone who drives, based on gas usage (a loose reflection of their wear and tear on the roads, basically a combination of weight and distance) — with no allocation based on which roads the gas tax payers use.
The roads are further paid for out of the general fund, which means income tax revenue — meaning that someone who doesn’t drive would be paying for roads (that someone buys things that are transported using the roads but the transport firm pays a gas tax which is incorporated into the cost structure over the entire supply chain, and affects the final price — i.e., the consumer ends up paying for the road use). Consider also that people pay income taxes based on their income, not on their road use, including consumption.
There’s some unfairness there.
There’s also a lack of relative price discovery, and thus a coordination mechanism to allocate roads and related resources.
Under this model, you might have a road in Idaho being traveled by 4 people a day or week, and a road in Connecticut being traveled by 4 people a minute, and the government takes the total gas taxes paid and uses them to pay for both roads. That’s unfair. It’s also inefficient.
Privatize the roads, and let the company that buys the roads charge a toll to drive on the road — and seek to make a profit. And while you’re at it, eliminate the gas tax and stop allocating general fund monies to the roads. The result? Fairness and efficiency. You would pay only for the roads you actually used. And if there wasn’t a market for a road, it would not be maintained — and the resources used to maintain it could be allocated where they were actually wanted. What’s more, if demand exceeded supply so sharply that a given toll skyrocketed, that would inform road builders to build a new road, or inform the owners of the existing road to widen it. It would enable the road builder to raise the capital to do that. Without a price mechanism, everyone would pay a gas tax at the same rate, and there would be no coordination apart from the political process, which is more a matter of Congressmen trying to bring the bacon home, not a matter of filling the transportation desires of 300 million people.