Want to do something patriotic? Want to show your national spirit? Want to help the economy, by contributing to the coffers of a speculative private investment firm? Drive more. Wall Street is depending on you.

Not long ago, private investment firms all over the world were fond of paying millions of dollars to local governments in exchange for the rights to the revenue from their toll roads for a certain amount of time. "Sure, we'll take your enormous check now, and you can spend the next 20 years pulling quarters out of the toll booth collection buckets, sure," local governments would say. But now, the Wall Street Journal reports that many of those investments have gone to shit. Toll roads are not bringing in what the financial wizards thought they would. What seems to be the major malfunction?

But the financial crisis and recession defied assumptions. U.S. driving peaked at 3 trillion miles in 2007, then started on its largest decline since World War II, federal data show. The housing bust crimped development plans along new roads, helping render traffic forecasts inaccurate.

The irrational exuberance that fueled debt-financed investments in toll roads also caused the financial collapse which has forced broke ass Americans to drive less which has caused the toll road investments to collapse. It all fits together quite nicely.

Rest assured that the unintentional environmental benefits from this decline in driving will be transitory, now that the good time$$$ are back. In the meantime: burn your buss pass— for the sake of America.

[Photo: Flickr]