When government has a monopoly on any market, competition is stifled, and the ultimate losers are not only the companies who could have invested in a designated area, such as the Somerset County area, but also the consumers, who are forced to settle for a noncompetitive, usually subpar product.
But central planners maintain the guise of competition by auctioning off the rights to build their central plans.
In a free-market system, the signals sent via the price mechanism allow the market to adjust to any changes much more quickly and efficiently than the current centrally planned model under which we operate.
Knowledge is not something that can be aggregated and centrally planned by a Department of Transportation. Knowledge is something that must be acquired in small bits throughout the market. Risks must be taken to acquire knowledge; and no one man, nor any group of men for that matter, can possess the knowledge necessary to perfectly plan any specific endeavor.
So why leave this, what Friedrich Hayek, the Austrian economist and Nobel laureate, called the "knowledge problem," to a group of individuals who are insulated from the signs and information of price signals? Major investments — especially those that require a large amount of information to properly operate, such as highways — should be left to the system that best responds to market signals and the price mechanism: the free market.
Moreover, there is a major moral issue at play when building any public-works project, but especially highways: Who pays for the highway and with what money? Under the current system, public-works projects are paid for by "the public." But what gives central planners the moral authority to determine that all taxpayers in a given population should be forced to pay for the planners' project?