In many older former industrial cities, like Philadelphia, water main breaks and, even worse, gas main breaks are common place. The cause of all of them is the same: the deterioration of components that are nearly a century old. Now, have you ever wondered why the electrical infrastructure in these same cities do not experience the same failures caused by aging components? Much of it has to do with the water and gas lines being owned by inefficient, cash strapped government monopolies, and electrical lines being owned by private firms.
As would be elected official hit the stump, nearly all of them recognize the need to fix our nation’s crumbling infrastructure. However, the question remains, how do we pay for it?
If there ever were public assets ready made to be sold to private entities, water and gas systems are it. First, they are attractive to private investors who are willing to pay big for them. Second, the big payments that private industry is willing to pay gives cash poor local governments an immediate large cash infusion they will not find anywhere else. Third, there is no reason why local governments should be in the gas and water business anymore than they are — or are not — in the electrical generation and delivery business.
It is unanimous that the time to fix and upgrade our aging and failing water and gas systems is now. The solution should also be unanimous: selling them to private companies.