Institutions, Technology and Policy in Reregulated Infrastructures
Studies in Evolutionary Political Economy series
Edited by Rolf W. Kunneke, John Groenewegen and Jean-François Auger
Chapter 4: Liberalization and Privatization of Road Management in Finland and Spain
Mónica Altamirano and Martin de Jong INTRODUCTION Roads are technologically and institutionally less complex than other infrastructure types. Rolling stock consists of buses, lorries, taxis and private cars—all of which are owned by others than the infrastructure manager. Neither is the underlying technology for producing asphalt, maintaining it properly, eliminating ice, snow and other disturbing elements from the road surface exceedingly complicated. And yet road reform is in the context of growing car use and congestion, budgetary restrictions, environmental considerations and lacking technological innovation in the past decades, a subject to be reckoned with. Several organizations have a large role to play in the debate on the why and how of road reform. Examples of these organizations are the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Union (EU) and the World Road Association (PIARC). More often than not, individual countries take the sketches of models to be emulated as reference frames for how to restructure the institutions for their own road management system. One could say that among experts and policy-makers in the international arena and transfer agents carrying ideas from international organizations to the national scene and vice versa, a worldwide pool of ideas on road reform exists from which national governments can borrow. For instance, the World Bank emphasizes that public policy in roads requires a thorough restructuring of the existing organizations involved. This implies entering a new paradigm, in which public agencies are transformed into client organizations responsible for tendering...
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