Last Exit

Privatization and Deregulation of the U.S. Transportation System

In Last Exit Clifford Winston reminds us that transportation services and infrastructure in the United States were originally introduced by private firms. The case for subsequent public ownership and management of the system was weak, in his view, and here he assesses the case for privatization and deregulation to greatly improve Americans’ satisfaction with their transportation systems.

Last Exit was prominently featured in an article by Edward L. Glaeser in the Business section of The New York Times on September 28, 2010.

Advance praise for Last Exit:

"A half-century of economics research, much of it from Brookings, convincingly shows that deregulation of transportation services delivered enormous benefits. Last Exit argues persuasively that these benefits are limited by continuing public provision of infrastructure and regulation or public provision of some services. Clifford Winston proposes experiments in private provision of airports, highways, and urban passenger transportation, and more efficient usage pricing for infrastructure, to test the strong theoretical case for increasing the scope of privatization and deregulation. These provocative but measured proposals provide the agenda for a serious national debate on the next steps in reforming transportation policy."
—Roger Noll, Stanford University

"Clifford Winston offers a blueprint for increasing the role of the private sector in providing U.S. transportation infrastructure. He makes the case that public sector exit can improve economic efficiency, speed technological advance, and help solve current fiscal pressures."
—Betsy Bailey, University of Pennsylvania

"Winston pulls together the first comprehensive accounting of the many inefficiencies that arise from current public policies in transportation. The bill—amounting to $100 billion per year plus reduced innovation—will hopefully stimulate some of the experiments he advocates with increased private provision of transportation."
—Tony Gomez-Ibanez, Harvard University