For whom the road tolls: Ontario, Canada’s $32.5 billion highway highlights private asset boom

In the exclusive world of private assets, putting a price tag on investment can be a risky proposition.

Take the Ontario government. In 1999, the province accepted $3.1 billion from the private sector in return for granting a 99-year lease of its new toll road, the 407.

Twenty years later, the rights to a mere 10 percent of the highway are being sold for up to $3.25 billion. For some at Queen’s Park, it’s a deal they might want a mulligan on.

It also raises a question that may have increased in importance amid the current craze over private assets: how do you put a price-tag on a toll road?