All business entities within an industry should be required to pay, proportionately, for the construction and maintenance of all infrastructures needed for the proper functioning of that industry. For example, airlines should be required to pay for the construction and maintenance of airports, air traffic control centers and inspection and security systems, including the FAA. Roadway vehicle users (trucks, buses, cars, etc.) should be required to pay for the construction and maintenance of roads, signals, etc. The railroad industry and water transportation industry should pay for infrastructures needed or used for their respective needs and wants. Natural gas companies, water companies, telephone, fiber optic and cable companies should fund entirely all construction, maintenance and other costs associated with their respective infrastructures. As much as practical, each industry should require no external input of funding for its proper maintenance and support. All of the common infrastructures shared and used by companies within the same industry should be considered public goods (prohibited from private ownership), but managed almost entirely by the industry, with government oversight and large-scale planning approval.
To properly govern the decision-making process relating to the construction, maintenance and management of infrastructures which benefit multiple companies within an industry (such as airports, power line networks, etc.), a congress of representatives proportionately representing all businesses within the industry should convene on a regular basis (weekly or monthly, perhaps) to plan, design, and fund new projects, resolve disputes, discuss standardization issues, etc. Perhaps this congress could publish a periodical informing businesses within the industry of relevant news concerning the industry. Of course, civil government agencies would have the final authority, as they do now, to approve major industry construction projects, provide proper zoning for activities, etc.
Infrastructure Records Agency
Every company, business and industry should be required to keep track of where exactly all of their infrastructure and equipment is located, whether still in use or not and whether it is underground, undersea, in space or anywhere else. A government agency should be created specifically for the purpose of being a central repository for this type of information so that if anyone in the country is digging, drilling, tunneling, or otherwise working in an particular area that person could contact this agency and find out quickly if there are any power lines, water or gas lines, or any other kind of both active and retired infrastructures in the area where they are working. The database should not be available to the general public for security reasons, but only to people who can show they have a legitimate need for such information. Every company would be required to notify and file a report to this agency of any changes in the placement or status of their infrastructure.
Funding This Proposal
Each company would also be required to pay fees that would go to fund both the industry congress and this infrastructure records agency. This fee would be proportionately based, at least in part, on the amount of infrastructures, both in use and retired, that belong to that company and which would necessarily be on file with the infrastructure records agency. This proportional fee would generally mean that a company with twice as much infrastructure as another company would pay a fee that is twice as large. In cases where several companies may share the same infrastructures, such as electrical power companies, each company’s fee should be based on its share of usage of that infrastructure.
The fees charged to all the companies within an industry should be enough so that the total revenues generated result in financial self-sufficiency for all operations undertaken by the industry, including funding for the industry congress. The activities of the infrastructure records agency should also be fully funded by all the industries for which it compiles records. The rate charged for retired infrastructures should be at least the same as but perhaps significantly higher than the rate for active, in-use infrastructures. This would encourage companies to remove infrastructures that are no longer in use resulting in cleaner, uncluttered maps, greater peace of mind, and potentially less pollution of the environment.
Transitioning/Selling Privately Built Infrastructures To Industry Management
Companies who invested in and built infrastructures using their own money before such infrastructures were opened for industry-wide uses, should have the right to charge a fee from the subsequent companies to recover the original company’s inflation-adjusted costs of building the infrastructure(s) as well as to receive a reasonable return on its investment, maybe somewhere between 200% to 500% of the original investment. After proper compensation has been realized, the original company would become a participant just like all other companies in the industry.